CSI Wildlife

Can DNA fingerprinting prevent the extinction of elephants? Young scientists learn about DNA fingerprinting before applying their knowledge to case studies of elephant poaching. The first case requires them to match the DNA from a tusk to one of the elephants killed in a protected area. The second case requires figuring out which area of Africa the tusk came from and understanding the genetic variations in populations.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

Classroom Considerations

  • Assumes prior knowledge of DNA, nucleotides, alleles, and how to calculate frequencies and probabilities
  • You can cut the duration of lesson in half if you assign worksheets for homework
  • Consider maturity of students as some photos of dead elephants with tusks removed are gruesome
Pros

  • Works well in traditional or flipped classrooms
  • Engaging lesson keeps pupils' focus
  • Connects science, geography, and technology
Cons

  • None