Day 77: Karyotypes


Science 9 – With a bit of luck, the morning before class I came across a nice website about karyotypes from the university of Arizona.  The website and its activities have students learn about chromosomes, karyotypes and genetic disorders in an interactive manner. I wouldn’t call this an transformative use of technology, but there’s no question that it was both informative and engaging.

Students are presented with an incomplete karyotype of a patient, and they have to fit the remaining chromosomes into the karyotype.  The nice thing about this website is that it is neither java nor flash based. This allowed the students to use their smartphones and tablets.  I had to take the classes down to the library however, in order to get wireless internet access.

Once the karyotype is finished the students have to see if they can find what might be wrong with it.  Are there any extra chromosomes, missing chromosomes etc.  From this, they then can determine what genetic disorder the patient might have.

All in all, it was a really good activity. I finished the class by going around to each student and asking them what they learned during the class.  This brief interaction served as way for both formative assessment, and for getting the students to formally summarize the two big ideas they would have learned (matching chromosomes to a karyotype, and determining a genetic disorder from a karyotype).

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