Health in Our Hands

This set of simulations is used in the Health in Our Hands curriculum (HiOH) to study how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms. The simulations can also be used independently from the curriculum to investigate gene-environment interactions.

The Curriculum

HiOH consists of two 10-12-week project-based middle school science curricula designed to meet the Next Generations Science Standards. In “What controls my health?” students investigate type 2 diabetes, which connects them to real-world experiences and provides relevance for their learning. Throughout the unit, students figure out how lifestyle options for healthy food choices and exercise can help prevent or reduce diabetes. In “How can looking for thrills make me miserable?” students study the biology of addiction. They investigate the brain’s reward system and why this system is important to our survival but can lead to addictive behavior. Throughout the unit they discuss addiction more broadly, and develop an understanding of how our genetics and the environment put us at risk. In both units, students conduct an action research project in their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce diabetes and addiction.

The Project

The CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University has collaborated with the Concord Consortium and other partners on Health in Our Hands. Want to learn more about the project and its research? Check out the Health in Our Hands Project website.

Performance Expectations

These simulations along with the HiOH curriculum moves students towards achieving the following Next Generation Science Standards.

MS-LS1-5. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

MS-LS3-2. Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.

MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

MS-LS4-6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.



The Concord Consortium CREATE for STEM

This material is based upon work supported in part by a National Institute of General Medical Sciences Science Education Partnership award, (R25 GM129186-05). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Health.