Science Class June 2002



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Welcome to Science Class, NSTA's monthly electronic newsletter for science educators. Every month, Science Class features a curriculum topic that is supported by a range of NSTA-approved teaching resources: news stories, Internet "SciLinks," NSTA journal articles (sorted by grade level), books, and more. In addition, every issue includes a column on professional development, as well as NSTA news highlights. We hope you enjoy this new service from NSTA. Make sure to let us know via our Feedback link how you like the newsletter—and how we can make it better.



Ever since Gregor Mendel first experimented with garden peas in the 1800s, and particularly since James Watson and Francis Crick (for more information regarding their important work, visit NSTA Recommends at worked out the structure of DNA in 1953, humans' understanding of genetics has advanced at a dizzying pace. For example, in what may be the most significant achievement to date, scientists last year published a working draft of the human genome—the entire chromosomal genetic material of an organism. This development promises to revolutionize modern medicine. (For a history of the human genome project, courtesy of Science Magazine, visit

Given the profound implications of this and related research, this issue of Science Class explores the fascinating and sometimes contentious world of genetics—from the basics of heredity to the latest breakthroughs in genetic engineering and biotechnology. We hope the resources provided below help you in your efforts to teach this topical and immensely important field of science.

Genetics in the News

Article summaries provided by NSTA WebNews Service.

In addition to cracking the human genome, scientists are also working hard to compile genetic maps for other plants and animals. For example, in just the last two months, scientists announced draft genomes for two key species: the rice plant and the lab mouse. Two news stories examine these breakthroughs, including implications for humans. A third article looks at the science and ethics of screening newborns for diseases such as early Alzheimer's.

Read the latest news stories:

Genetics on the Net

SciLinks is an interactive, Web-based service from NSTA that connects your lesson and/or course materials (books and journal articles) with online content chosen just for your selected topics. Members can search by keyword or phrase and receive a list of teacher-approved Internet resources.

Elementary: Genetics

Intermediate: Genetic Engineering$74635620114410

High School:  DNA$74341994661011$

Genetics-Related NSTA Journal Articles

The following journal articles are sorted by grade level to provide you with ideas for classroom lessons and activities related to genetics.



High School:

Books on Genetics

Check out these titles from NSTA Press:

Professional Development

Rightly or not, teachers bear the major responsibility for their own professional development—including taking stock of important issues such as administrative support, time problems, lack of funding, engaging the public, and the change process itself. Start building a foundation for your professional development now. Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (2002)

Click here to read more:


NSTA Highlights are provided by NSTA WebNews Service. For additional NSTA
Highlights, as well as the latest science and education news, visit

A Look Inside NSTA's 50th Annual National Convention

Members Benefit from Group Insurance Plans

2002 Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program Honors 36 Creative Students

NSTA's First Annual Report to Members

ExploraVision 10th Anniversary National Winners Announced

NSTA Member Discussion

How should science teachers address the ethical issues surrounding genetics?

NSTA Member Poll

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Next Month’s Theme:

Space Exploration

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In the May 2002 issue, Science & Children printed an incorrect solution to the Bunny Puzzle on page 18. For the correct solution, click here:

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