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NSTA March 2024 Conference - Presentation by Josh Stowers and Doug Morris

Friday, March 22
10:40 AM
Denver, Colorado

Using Lactose Intolerance to Investigate the Variation and Patterns in the Distribution of Traits Expressed in a Population

Engage in 3-D sensemaking by investigating the patterns and distribution of lactose intolerance inheritance worldwide using mathematical and computational thinking models. Briefly learn how technology-mediated lesson study has helped rural science teachers collaborate to design 3-D lessons.

Event Details

Date: Friday, March 22, 10:40 AM,
Location: Capitol Ballroom 2, NSTA Conference

One Main Takeaway

Participants will see how patterns of inheritance, and mathematical and computational thinking skills, can be used to make sense of why the distribution of traits for lactose intolerance follow certain worldwide patterns.


Participants will investigate the traits involved in a lactose intolerance phenomenon by “traveling” to six nations around the world. Participants will collect data by pulling printed alleles out of containers representing the prevalence of lactose intolerance in each nation. Once representative allele data is obtained, participants will use Punnett Squares to determine the combinations of potential offspring. They will use mathematics and computational thinking to determine the ratios and probability of inheriting genotypes from the parent alleles. Using patterns in the collected data, learners will make sense of the distribution of lactose intolerance traits around the world. We will briefly discuss a professional learning model that provides equitable access for rural science teachers to collaborate on designing three-dimensional lessons using technology-mediated lesson study. This model may be adapted to other remote professional learning.