Curricular Materials and Classroom Resources

Socially-based Curriculum Units · Reducing Societal Bias through the Study of Genetics


Resource Centre

Reducing Societal Bias through the Study of Genetics

Socially-based Curriculum Unit

This unit, created for SBI3U (Biology, Grade 11, University Preparation), uses the study of genetics as one method through which ignorance and intolerance can be decreased. Generalizations and misconceptions concerning minority groups in society have often been used as justifications for keeping said groups in their established positions.  These disadvantaged groups often include but are not limited to racial and religious minorities, women, and those afflicted with congenital anomalies.

Women and those from visible minority groups had traditionally been under-represented or under-acknowledged in the sciences.  Students will have an opportunity to investigate this bias through a research based project on a female or visible minority researcher from a field of biology (focusing on, but not limited to, genetic research).  The project will allow students to examine the obstacles that some members of society have had to overcome and, in many cases, still encounter in the pursuit of their goals.  The project will also require that students provide information on the research performed by the individual that they chose to study and its place in the scope of scientific knowledge.

Congenital anomalies come in a wide variety and can have a range of effects on individuals afflicted with them.  Through the study of karyotypes, inheritance, and the effects of the pre-natal environment on development, students will identify the challenges and issues faced by individuals affected by genetic abnormalities.

Variations within and between groups of people is commonly explained through the study of inheritance.  The inheritance of sickle cell anemia and its prevalence among certain populations will be examined as an adaptation to malarial infections as opposed to the view of sickle cell disease, as a genetic disorder.  This will be accomplished through an examination of the populations found in regions where sickle cell anemia is most common and a comparison of this data to rates of malarial infections.  The process of sickle cell inheritance and the resistance to malarial infection it grants will provide students with the knowledge to challenge assumptions about populations in which sickle cell anemia is commonly found.

Related Attachments