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Three Parents

  • Key Stage 3
  • GCSE
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Imaginative inquiry
Topic: DNA

Newcastle scientists recently created a human embryo with three separate parents. The scientists believe the development is a potential breakthrough in the prevention of serious disease. In this activity, students take on the role of Darcy, a trainee nurse on placement with the Centre for Reproductive Medicine. As Darcy, they explain the possible new treatment to a couple of worried would-be parents.

Through examining Darcy's work, the activity is also an opportunity to look at science knowledge in action at work, and to consider careers in health care.

The activity is in PowerPoint. Much of it is editable so that you can adapt it to meet the specific needs of your own students.

11-16 How Science Works:
4a About the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks.

Published: 29th February 2008
Reviews & Comments: 7

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Learning objectives

Students will
• Explain natural human fertilisation
• Describe how scientists have created an embryo with three parents, and explain how this technique could be developed to prevent serious disease.
• Consider how science is used in health care careers

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11-14 (KS3)

From September 2008
1.2a Exploring how the creative application of scientific ideas can bring about technological developments and consequent changes in the way people think and behave.

3.3b The human reproductive cycle includes adolescence, fertilisation and foetal development.

3.3c Conception, growth, development, behaviour and health can be affected by diet, drugs and disease.

Until September 2008
QCA unit 8b Reproduction
• Describe fertilisation in terms of the fusion of cells.
• Sequence changes in sperm and eggs during and after ovulation.

14-16 (KS4)

How science works
Applications and implications of science
4a About the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks.

3c Present information, develop an argument and draw a conclusion, using…ICT tools.

GCSE specifications
Please see downloadable teachers notes

Running the activity

Display page 1 to give the context for the activity. Tell students to take on the role of Darcy, a trainee nurse who listens to the concerns of the couple and finds out about their treatment options.

Then display pages 2 – 5. Through a conversation between Darcy and the doctor, these pages introduce mitochondria, and explain how mitochondrial diseases are inherited. For greater impact, get students to read the dialogue aloud. NOTE: There are two versions of these pages – version B refers to genes, version A does not.

Give out copies of page 6. This describes how scientists created the embryo with three parents.

Display page 7 to finish the conversation between Darcy and the doctor and set the task. Allow students time to do the task in small groups.

Pages 8 – 10 give information about health care careers. Display page 8 and ask the class to suggest answers to Jake's question at the bottom of the page. Then reveal some of the answers on page 9. Page 10 is a brief introduction to ways of getting into healthcare careers. Please see the NHS web site below for more details.

News links

BBC news
The news story, with lots of useful links.
NHS careers
Comprehensive information about careers in healthcare.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

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Jul 29th, 2011

5 Star

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Reviewer: jiang tao


Jul 14th, 2011

4 Star

Ideas great to start girls into thinking about possiblities. Good recap to bio vocabulary. Powerpoint display good.

Reviewer: brenda goodwill

climate change

Jan 25th, 2011

5 Star

Though the video clip has been removed, i still found this material very usefull for year 10 and 11. I actually got my own videos from another source including the flood in Australia and tha campaigan carried out by some primary children. these i used as my starter and the worksheets from this material were used for the main lesson. i can tell you, it was brilliant.
Thanks alot for your help.

Reviewer: George Tikum


Oct 25th, 2010

5 Star

Really good material. I try it with Y10 and they absolutely loved it!

Reviewer: Cristina Alcon

Good ,imaginative task

Jun 25th, 2009

4 Star

Reviewer: zulfiqar ali


Dec 3rd, 2008

2 Star

Interesting activity. Challenging for my middle set.

Reviewer: Charles Morrison

Three Parents review

Jul 28th, 2008

5 Star

Excellent resource for my resit group who will need a lot of stimulation

Reviewer: Pam Knights-Cheesman


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