Beyond Benign

Middle School

CUR MS Biotechnology


Lesson 01 – Real Cats Wear Pink: Lab Activity

Students simulate the genetic modification of an organism to produce a desired trait. Students are then introduced to the unit through reading about genetically engineered cats.

Lesson 02 – Cats and You: DNA Doubles?

Students compare and contrast humans and cats using structure and function and adaptations and then explore similarities and differences in their DNA and number of chromosomes.

Lesson 03 – Diagnosing Sparky

Using observations and inferences as clues, students will decipher common cat diseases and disorders and hypothesize possible illnesses that Sparky may have.

Lesson 04 – Analyzing Sparky’s Blood Test

Students use the results of a complete blood count (CBC) test to diagnose Sparky.

Lesson 05 – Urine Jeopardy

Students practice recording accurate data and analyzing results while performing a urine test for Sparky.

Lesson 06 – ACNE (Another Cat Needs Exfoliation): Lab Activity

Students learn about feline acne and explore possible treatments. To draw conclusions about the best solution, students must administer and analyze the results of a ‘pregnancy test’ for Sparky.

Lesson 07 – Mapping the Males

Students hypothesize who the father of Sparky’s kittens may be using biological information while discovering the role of gel electrophoresis in DNA testing.

Lesson 08 – Gelin’: Gel Electrophoresis Simulation: Lab Activity

Student will learn how DNA is separated into a fingerprint by using a chromatography activity to simulate gel electrophoresis.

Lesson 09 – Who’s Your Daddy? Finding the Father

The class will analyze DNA fingerprints to determine the identity of the kittens’ father.

Lesson 10 – Lucky Brand Genes: Genetic Traits

Students gain knowledge of genetic terms (trait, allele, genotype, phenotype, homozygous, heterozygous, dominant, recessive) and determine several personal single-gene traits in this optional lesson.

Lesson 11 – Punnett Square Possibilities

Students will use parent genotypes to determine the kittens’ phenotypes.

Lesson 12 – Lucky Brand Genes: Chromosome Cookies

Students build a scientific model of their kittens’ chromosomes using cookie ingredients to show the pairing of chromosomes and common mutations (deletion, duplication, insertion, translocation).

Lesson 13 – Kitten Creation

Students use dominant and recessive traits to determine the physical traits of their kittens and build a model of the kitten.

Lesson 14 – Adaptation Sensation

Students discover how and why organisms adapt through natural selection by exploring cat adaptations.

Lesson 15 – Crossing Hairs

Students will consider desired traits for cats and determine how a breeder might combine different breeds to achieve those traits.

Lesson 16 – Great Expectations Through Modifications

Students learn the process of genetic modification with the use of recombinant DNA technology to produce insulin.

Lesson 17 – What is Biotechnology

Students are introduced to biotechnology using a timeline.

Lesson 18 – Medical Ethics

Students will consider ethical issues related to biotechnology and medicine and use data to support their opinions.