Unit 1 Plan
In Unit 1, students will explore the idea of identity. They will move from general to specific as they first explore commonalities between all humans and then move on to explore the individual differences in tissues and cells. In the course, students will work with a two-foot skeletal model produced by Anatomy in Clay® Learning System. Students will work in pairs on an assigned Maniken® and use clay to build various organs, tissues, and vessels on the skeletal frame. Students will review the types of human tissue and look deeper at bone, muscle and fat, all types of tissue that contribute to the framework of the human body. Students will then play the role of forensic anthropologists to examine skeletal remains and analyze four bones to determine as much as possible about the person’s gender, race, age, and height. They will use what they have learned about human skeletal structure to take qualitative and quantitative measurements and analyze their findings to provide a preliminary identification of the deceased. Finally, students will use theoretical equations to predict their own height from the length of their bones and will then explore how scientists can come up with these equations by using class data to generate an equation for a line. Using simulated DNA samples collected from the bones of the skeleton, students will now use molecular techniques to determine identity. Students have explored the tools of molecular biology in PBS, but they have yet to explore restriction enzymes as a tool for cutting DNA. In this lesson, students will run restriction analysis on simulated DNA samples from the skeleton and from missing persons who match the physical description provided by the bone analysis. Since each person has a unique genetic code, these enzymes will make a different number of cuts in the DNA, leaving a varying number of fragments. These restriction fragments will be separated via gel electrophoresis and the resulting restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) will be compared. Students will add to their case report from Lesson 2 and make a final conclusion regarding the identity of the skeleton. Students will also investigate the various career areas they have worked through in the unit.
To wrap up the unit, students will explore the technology being used to secure and verify identity. Biometrics is the field of science dedicated to using physical characteristics, such as facial features or patterns in the eyes, and behavioral characteristics, such as voice or handwriting, to determine or confirm identity. Students will propose a biometric method to solve various identification related problems presented to them.