Web Quest on Genetics

Web Quest on Genetics



Have you ever wondered what your future children will look like? Have you ever wondered if they will be completely healthy? Have you ever thought about having yourself or your children cloned? This will more than likely be different things that you may have to deal with as an adult or parent.

This WebQuest, geared for high school biology students, attempts to explain different genetic disorders by dividing the class into different roles. With several cooperative groups presenting on different disorders, the whole class will be able to see the different types of genetic disorders, if they are treatable, and what we are doing as a human race to try to cure these disorders. 


As a class you have already done some basic studies on the concepts of genetics. Now we will be embarking on the content of genetic disorders – how people get them, karyotyping of the disorder, types of treatments, and any type of genetic testing that could have been taken advantage of prior to the birth of your child. Lastly, you will want to look at what your ‘child’ will look like.

The class will divide up into groups of 4 students. Within these cooperative groups each student will be given an area of study that they will need to attempt to draw conclusions from.

In the end your group will need to display the information that they find along the way as a class project. Your group will need to create a multimedia presentation that will be shared with the class and graded. You may want to include a suggested list of readings and/or Internet sources that may be of interest to the class.

The Process:

Your group should include 4 students total. One student will be a genetic counselor. One student will be a disorder specialist. Another person will be a perspective parent whose child will have the disorder. The last student will be the human genome specialist.

1. Genetic Counselor – Your role as the genetic counselor is to examine what types of treatment there are for the disorder and how you can advise these perspective parents on the disorder that their child has been exposed to.

2. Disorder Specialist – Your role as the disorder specialist is to karyotype the disorder, find out all of the signs and symptoms of the given disorder, and to find out what different prenatal tests could have been provided to the parent to have found out about this disorder prior to birth.

3. Parent – Your role as the parent is to find out what your child would look like using your own genetic features along with ‘your mate’s’ genetic features. Using Punnett’s squares you need to show what features will show up in your children and what the possibilities are that they will show up. You will also need to show a possible image of the child you and your mate could have.

4. Human Genome Expert – Your goal as the human genome expert is to find out all about the human genome project. What is it? What is their mission? How far along are they? How long has this project been in progress? Why is it important? And any other information that you feel is relevant that you would like to share.


Some Internet resources that may be helpful to your groups will include the following:

1. Genetic Counseling: Ask NOAH. This site contains a lot of information about the different types of genetic disorders.

2. Yahoo – Genetic Disorders  This site lists several different disorders and contains several links to all of the different types of genetic disorders.

3. Genetic & Rare Conditions Site  This site lists several links to different types of disorders in alphabetical order.

4. What can our chromosomes tell us?  This is a site that talks about karyotyping and what we can understand due to karyotyping. Newsletter from the Genetics Science Learning Center.

5. A Genetics Glossary This is your basic genetic glossary however you really need to know what you are looking for so that it will be useful.

6. Genetics Education Center  This is a site dedicated to the education of genetics with several links to other sites.

7. The National Human Genome Research Institute . This site tells you all about the human genome project.

8. Department of Energy – Human Genome Project Information  This site also gives a lot of information about the human genome project. It also includes some fact sheets on cloning and gene testing.

9. A Gene Map of the Human Genome  Within this site you can see the mapping of several different chromosomes found within the body.

10. Learning about the Human Genome Project and Genetics through the World Wide Web http://www.kumc.edu/gec/hgpwww.html. This site includes a section on the ethics issues of genetic research that the genetic counselor may want to look at.

11. Understanding Gene Testing This site talks of how genes are linked to disease, how does a faulty gene trigger disease, and much more.

12. Ask Noah : on Birth Defects and Genetics  This site includes information about fetal testing, and different types of birth defects.

13. Basics of DNA Fingerprinting  This site will give you the basic understanding of DNA fingerprinting.

14. What is Genetic Testing?  This site shows the basics of genetic testing and also gets into some of the ethical issues of genetic testing.

15. Human Genetics : Human Karyotype  This site talks about karyotypes, chromosomal abnormalities, and allelic disorders.




Quality of Information and ideas

Bare minimums are taken into account. Answered the few questions that were asked in the introduction.
Minimums plus slight extras added. Answered questions from the intro and at least one question posed to them in the process section.
All of the information found from the process section.
Issues addressed that went beyond what was asked in the process and introduction sections.


Amount of Information found


Only accessed 4 suggested web sites and verified in presentation.
At least 8 web sites accessed and verified in presentation.
At least 12 web sites accessed and verified in presentation.
All of the web sites accessed and verified in presentation.


Organization of presentation


Random information is presented by group.
Disorganized at times.
Organized effectively with easy understanding.


Use of class time


Majority of class time was wasted.
Half of class time was wasted.
Little class time was wasted.
No class time was wasted.

Overall PowerPoint Presentation
One slide for each person was made and presented to the class. Very plain text and no graphics.
Basic graphics used on all pages and presentation has some natural flow to it.
Easily understood by all. Includes graphics and data tables of information retrieved.
Information that is presented is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and includes all of the areas covered in this activity.



Answer the following questions and turn in after your presentation:

  • What have you learned that you didn’t know before?
  • Was this an effective learning experience?
  • How did you like working in a group? Did working in a group add or detract from your learning?
  • How did you determine what information was helpful?
  • If you were to do this project again, what would you do differently and why?
  • Do you have suggestions for anyone else who might be doing this project? If so what are they?
  • Do you have any suggestions for me to change this project to make it more interesting / educational in the future? If so what are they?

Modified from web quest by Michelle Olsham