In this video module, students learn how scientists use genetic information from dogs to find out which gene (out of all 20,000 dog genes) is associated with any specific trait or disease of interest. This method involves comparing hundreds of dogs with the trait to hundreds of dogs not displaying the trait, and examining which position on the dog DNA is correlated with the trait (i.e. has one DNA sequence in dogs with the trait but another DNA sequence in dogs not displaying the trait). Students will also learn something about the history of dog breeds and how this history helps us find genes.
Students learn about the amazing adaptations of the ptarmigan to the alpine tundra. They focus one adaptation, the feathered feet of the ptarmigan, and ask whether the feathers serve to only keep the feet warm or to also provide the bird with floatation capability. They create model ptarmigan feet, with and without feathers, and test the hypothesis on the function of the feathers. Ultimately, students make a claim about whether the feathers provide floatation and support this claim with their testing evidence.
Global exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed Western science, orienting philosophies of natural history to more focused fields like comparative anatomy, botany, and geology. In the United States, European scientific advances and home-grown ventures like the Wilkes Exploring Expedition to Antarctica and the Pacific inspired new endeavors in cartography, ethnography, zoology, and evolutionary theory, replacing rigid models of thought and classification with more fluid and active systems. They inspired literary authors as well. This class will examine some of the most remarkable of these authors--Herman Melville (Moby-Dick and "The Encantadas"), Henry David Thoreau (Walden), Sarah Orne Jewett (Country of the Pointed Firs), Edith Wharton (House of Mirth), Toni Morrison (A Mercy), among others--in terms of the subjects and methods they adopted, imaginatively and often critically, from the natural sciences.
Students are introduced to the concept of tracking and spatial movements of animals in relation to the environments in which they live. Students improve their understanding of animal tracking and how technology is used in this process.