ALEX Lesson Plan


Genetic Disorders Research

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Desaree Jackson
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:GEMS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 23931


Genetic Disorders Research


Students will first discover types of mutations and then research different types of genetic disorders that result from mutations and chromosomal malfunctions.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):

Local/National Standards:

National Science Education Standards: Standard A: Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The student will identify causes of chromosomal malfunctions and cellular mutations.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Posterboard, markers, computer lab, and reference materials.

Technology Resources Needed:

Use of computer lab, Laptop, LCD Projector, (Acceptable websites are listed on the student handout - Genetic Disorder Worksheet)


This lesson plan is a detailed discovery of the results of mutations in the genetic code. It also includes a research project that gives students the opportunity to research different genetic disorders resulting from mutations and chromosomal malfunctions. This lesson should be taught after students learn about protein synthesis so that they have the appropriate vocabulary. The teacher should also check for the availability of the computer lab so that the students can research disorders, print pictures, and create a multimedia presentation if desired. If the computer lab is not available, then reference books may be used.

1.)Engagement: Teacher will tell students to imagine they are only 4 feet tall and must walk using two canes. Then the students will be instructed to name 3 things they that they would not be able to do when faced with this physical limitation. (After 1 minute allow them to discuss with a partner).
After discussion, explain to students that the hardships discussed are some of the same ones that people with genetic disorders face everyday. Also, tell them that genetic disorders are the results of chromosomal mutations or malfunctions.
This brief discussion should spark interest in the students and allow their minds to think about all of the different types of genetic malformaties they have seen. They are now ready to learn about different types of mutations in the genetic code.

2.)Distribute the mutations notes handout, and begin instruction on genetic mutations. Upon completion of this activity students should be familiar with different types of mutations and the possible genetic disorders caused. Students needing more information on mutations may use the interactive review on the National Geographic website.
Interactive tool from Thinkfinity that allows users to look for a mutation in a genetic code.

3.)After instruction, show students this website on genetic mutations.
(Genetics- The Basic and Beyond)
Animated website that allows students to do multiple events while reinforcing their prior knowledge.

4.)After students have mastered the objectives, they are ready to research different genetic disorders. Completing this research project will allow the students to engage in a search for a real-life chromosome mutation.
Give all students a copy of the Genetic Disorders worksheet. This handout gives detailed information on the expectations of the project. It also includes a list of appropriate websites on which to conduct their research.

5.)Allow each group to choose one of the disorders to research (make sure that each disorder is only chosen once) and to choose their project presentation method, i.e. storyboard, PowerPoint, movie, etc.
They should also delegate the responsibility for looking up content, finding pictures, bringing supplies, and speaking for the group.

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Assessment Strategies

Informal teacher assessment will be used during instructional time. Rubrics will be used to assess the genetic disorders project.


Students may also be challenged to make a collage and research mutagens that are specific to their area and tell how the mutagens affect their environment.


Students needing extra assitance will receive guidance from the teacher.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.