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Public Health and Genetics Activity

Curriculum can be delivered to you and your students.
posted on 8:48 PM, September 22, 2015
MDE staff are available to travel to MN schools and share this curriculum!

Activity: Public Health and Genetics

Associated MN Academic Standards in Science Benchmarks:,,, and

Associated NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas include:

LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
LS3.A – Inheritance of traits
LS3.B-Variation of Traits

Minnesota Department of Health’s Newborn Screening Staff is available to travel to schools and deliver a curriculum that will overview public health, newborn screening, and the exciting intersection of genetics and health.

Our curriculum can be adapted for any age group and classroom level, but is recommended for grades 7-12. Students receiving this curriculum are expected to be familiar with basic genetic terminology (genes, traits, inheritance, etc.) but are not expected to have a thorough knowledge of science in living systems.

After a short lecture on public health and an overview of newborn screening, staff will lead students through an inheritance activity. Students will pair up, construct a pedigree from the flip of a coin, and share the results with their classmates. Staff will review a mono-hybrid cross (Punnett Square), phenotypes, genotypes, and explain alleles, homozygotes and heterozygotes. Staff will then give application to the activity as students are guided through theories on the prevalence of certain genetic diseases (sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis), and the larger societal and ethical implications of genetic testing.

The curriculum will be presented by a representative from the Newborn Screening Program; which include health educators and genetic counselors.  

Contact me for further information!

Thanks so much!

Jessica Tarnowski
Health Program Representative
Newborn Screening Program
Minnesota Department of Health 

Phone: 651.201.5515
Fax: 651.215.6285