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Rapid advance in the field of genetics led to understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying genetic phenomena. These mechanisms are the basis for genetic issues which are relevant for everyday life as, genetically modified food, or genetic diseases and genetic testing. Understanding these mechanisms was shown to be essential for the understanding of such issues. However studies show that most students encounter many difficulties in understanding this domain and fail to understand genetic mechanisms* . Specifically, students tend to separate the effect of genes on traits from their role in protein synthesis and from the process of meiosis.
We developed this learning environment which was designed in order to support students understanding of genetic phenomena through their underlying mechanism. This environment makes use of visualizations and animations to assist in understanding the interaction between components in genetic mechanisms as chromosomes genes proteins and cells which are invisible to the naked eye. Activities in the environment are centered on the mechanisms underlying genetic phenomena, as meiosis and protein function, and the relationship between these mechanisms and the resultant phenomena.
We recommend the use of activities but the Fly-Lab can stand alone, for example the teacher can raise the question of how sex is determined in flies and let the students to play with the “fly creator” until they have an answer or predicting the progeny of crosses in class and then preform it on the cross simulator.
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