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ERIC Number: EJ950567
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Exploring Middle School Students' Understanding of Three Conceptual Models in Genetics
Freidenreich, Hava Bresler; Duncan, Ravit Golan; Shea, Nicole
International Journal of Science Education, v33 n17 p2323-2349 2011
Genetics is the cornerstone of modern biology and a critical aspect of scientific literacy. Research has shown, however, that many high school graduates lack fundamental understandings in genetics necessary to make informed decisions about issues and emerging technologies in this domain, such as genetic screening, genetically modified foods, etc. Genetic literacy entails understanding three interrelated models: a genetic model that describes patterns of genetic inheritance, a meiotic model that describes the process by which genes are segregated into sex cells, and a molecular model that describes the mechanisms that link genotypes to phenotypes within an individual. Currently, much of genetics instruction, especially in terms of the molecular model, occurs at the high school level, and we know little about the ways in which middle school students can reason about these models. Furthermore, we do not know the extent to which carefully designed instruction can help younger students develop coherent and interrelated understandings in genetics. In this paper, we discuss a research study aimed at elucidating middle school students' abilities to reason about the three genetic models. As part of our research, we designed an eight-week inquiry unit that was implemented in a combined sixth- to eighth-grade science classroom. We describe our instructional design and report results based on an analysis of written assessments, clinical interviews, and artifacts of the unit. Our findings suggest that middle school students are able to successfully reason about all three genetic models. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A