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Chance Are?


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The Chances Are? curriculum is a great follow-up activity to the popular Mystery of the Crooked Cell running at CityLab facilities across the country. This module is designed for high school students and allows them to play the role of genetic counselors. Students become proficient in Mendelian genetics by analyzing family history, constructing a medical pedigree, and evaluating the risk of passing this genetic disease to an unborn child. Open-ended inquiry is encouraged by allowing students to test any family member(s). Critical thinking is required by the student to rationalize his/her choice(s).

 Then students perform polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis on “blood samples” from selected family members to detect the presence or absence of abnormal hemoglobin. This will distinguish which family members are affected with sickle cell syndrome, are non-symptomatic carriers of sickle cell, or are non-carriers. Students will provide counseling for hypothetical family members based on the results of this test.  Social and ethical considerations surrounding the issue of genetic testing will be discussed.

Teachers are encouraged to conduct pre-lab activities with their classes prior to their visit

Curriculum materials for Chances Are? are available as pdf files:
PreLab activities
Scenario A
Scenario B

Time frame
What students should know
Links to frameworks

This project is supported by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health.
CityLab at Bridgewater State University is affiliated with the CityLab Program at the Boston University School of Medicine.


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