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Food Allergies Unit

What Happens in the Cells of Some People that Causes the Structure and Function of Certain Proteins to Change?

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What Happens in the Cells of Some People that Causes the Structure and Function of Certain Proteins to Change?

Sensemaking Checklist

What is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

High school students, as scientists, investigate protein differences resulting from changes in the DNA sequence to answer the following driving question: What happens in the cells of some people that causes the structure and function of certain proteins to change?  Students interact with images, videos, and simulations to discover that a change in the DNA sequence of a gene can result in changes to the final protein's structure and function to varying degrees. This discovery can help explain what happened to cause some people to have lactose intolerance, and may also help them explain why some people have food allergies.

This is Lesson 5 of the Food Allergies Unit.

Click the Download PDF button above for the complete Lesson Plan.


Food Allergy Storyline Unit

This lesson is one of seven lessons in the Food Allergy Storyline Unit. Storylines start with an anchoring phenomenon that raises questions or introduces a problem. Each step in a storyline unit is then driven by students’ questions that arise from the phenomenon.

In this case, the anchoring phenomenon is something familiar yet still mysterious to this generation of students - bans on certain foods in their cafeterias and classrooms. Students will probably be able to connect the bans to food allergies but might not be able to explain why a person has food allergies. Students to consider what they do and don't know about food allergies and what they want to find out. This gives them a reason for investigating the biological mechanism behind food allergies and intolerances. In doing so, they will make sense of Disciplinary Core Ideas related to genetics and genomics. The food allergy storyline allows students to develop science ideas related to LS1.A Structure and Function and LS3.A Inheritance of Traits.

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