Probability, Genetics and the Human Condition
Probability is the mathematics which allows us to make predictions about future events based upon our knowledge of past outcomes. We all have an innate appreciation for probability. Think about how many times you use the words, "I doubt it!" "Probably" or "What are the odds?" It is one intention of this interdisciplinary discovery unit that students make a connection between gut feelings about probability and the mathematics that will support their notions.
This unit will give the students an opportunity to make connections among many fields of study that are affected by the probability-based genetic make-up of living organisms. Such topics include ethics, economics and sociology. The main focus will be on genetics. Genetics has been chosen for two reasons. First, it is a logical interdisciplinary connection for students to make based upon traditional high school curricula. Second, recent advances in the fields of technology and genetic research have positioned mathematics and science as the basis upon which both individual and societal decisions will be made.
As an overview consider Probability, Genetics and the Human Condition as a three day unit. The first day is an introduction to concepts in probability. The second day is an application of probability in the field of genetics. The third day is a time for students to expand their understanding of probability and genetics via short research project. You may want to take a look at the summative projects listed in DAY 3 - Extensions in order to better inform the students of the overall goals of this unit.
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