Reflection: Trust and Respect What is Biodiversity? - Section 2: Warm Up

 

It can be a bit sensitive to have students in a group point out the differences between them if the differences are based on weight, complexion, height, or any other physical traits that high school students in particular may be self-conscious about.  Still, it’s worthwhile to point out that humans are not identical to each other and if students approach this respectfully, it can be a lot of fun. 

Differences that my students pointed out had to do with hair texture, eye color, height, body type (which they dubbed “metabolism”), and other surface differences. 

However, since the majority of my students are Latina/o, many groups got “stuck” saying things like, “we’re all brown”, “our eyes are all dark”, “our hair is all black”, etc. 

Digging a bit deeper, this question provides an opportunity to review genetics from biology.  You might ask, for example, “are siblings identical?  If not, then how are they different? How do they get these differences from the same parents?”  Students may then answer that siblings can have differences in facial structure, gender, hair color, eye color, etc.  Going beyond the surface differences, you might also talk about traits like being double jointed, types of fingerprint patterns, attached or detached ear lobes, or even blood type.  This might lead students to talk about dominant and recessive traits, and homozygous and heterozygous genotypes, and ultimately (hopefully) to recalling that not all genotypes affect the phenotype and that much of our genetic diversity is actually “hidden” from our eyes. 

The fact that there's more genetic diversity within human ethnic groups than between them is a good lesson to recall when a group of unique individuals are fixated on the idea that they’re all the “same”.

  Diversity? But we're all the same!
  Trust and Respect: Diversity? But we're all the same!
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What is Biodiversity?

Unit 6: Biodiversity
Lesson 1 of 9

Objective: Students will be able to describe multiple types of biodiversity and provide examples to support the notion that biodiversity has many different types of value.

Big Idea: The world is alive and unfathomably diverse. Biodiversity is critically important to humans and their environment.

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