Teaching genetic variation, reproduction & cloning – my approach!

Students tend to  favour biology in preference to chemistry and physics. When asked why? Common responses from students claim it is because they can relate to it more or that it is easier. I completely disagree with the latter, and students often can feel smug after a biology paper, and after it has been marked feel dejected. A biology paper can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is mainly due how much of the biology is theory based and requires the student to make point after point, often in a logical order whereas physics and chemistry questions are often black and white so you either know it or don’t. I tend to find as biology questions required more extended responses students tend to waffle and get confused, and miss the key marking criteria.

After having taught the AQA biology spec on DNA, genes, variation and cloning a number of times over the past 7 years – it has become clear it is one of the most wordy biology units and students often get confused between the topics inside it, such as the different types of cloning and even getting genetic engineering confused with cloning.

After watching ‘Jurassic World’ It became clear that the ‘Jurassic’ series would become a great hook to get students not only thinking about the content but also to get them interested and engaged with the Science. From Mr DNA to great genetic variation examples – the films could be used as a great educational tool.

The resource I made is free to download on TES however it needs adding to/altering and is a work in progress nonetheless thsuccesscrite foundations are there and it supports many lessons.

The idea of the resource is that it can support the usual practical experiments linked to this unit of work such as extracting DNA from fruit/onions, but it is all under the umbrella that they are to work for In-Gen in designing a new ‘Jurassic World’ and they must selectively breed raptors for behaviour traits, clone popular dinosaurs and know the pros and cons of this as well creating a  genetically engineered new I-Rex and describe the characteristics of each organisms and why they have chosen them.

I have used this with my bottom set AEN set, and they enjoyed the variation (no pun intended) within it. Students even wanted to discuss more and watch talks by Dr Jack Horner (they did so well we even watched Jurassic Park – and noted down every time a keyword/concept was mentioned)



Feel free to adapt, improve and share.



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