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By introducing the computer-based manipulative (CBM), we provide teachers and learners with a new tool that enables students to investigate scientific and mathematical concepts through direct manipulation and experimentation.
Using the CBM, students and teachers can manipulate the processes of inheritance on six different, but related, levels: DNA, chromosome, cell, organism, pedigree, and population. As a complement to text-based instruction, the CBM allows students not only to read about genetics, but actually observe and manipulate processes at one biological level that affect life at another. How do students do this?
Sample interface from GenScope:
Dragon chromosomes during metaphase of meiosis
For instance, they see what happens if they were at the chromosome level and alter the gene that codes for a specific trait, such as having wings. They can observe the effects of this alteration reflected at all the interrelated levels. At the organism level they see if the dragon has wings. Perhaps it even has a double set. Perhaps it has none.|
At the cell level they can initiate and observe meiosis. Which gametes have the dominant allele? Can they follow the allele through the process of crossover? What happens at the pedigree level? When a winged father has babies with a non-winged mother, do the babies have wings? What percentage doesn't? At the DNA level students can see what base pairs were affected in this gene alteration. Is one pair affected or are several pairs?
|GenScope gives students the ability to create dynamic models for manipulating a number of species characteristics such as horns, wings, legs, color, sex, scales, plates and the ability to breath fire. The program offers a new educational technology that uses the computer to bridge the gap between "facts and figures" observed in the natural world and the mental associations we construct to explain them - the gap between information and knowledge.|
GenScope, A project of The Concord Consortium.
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