Bonnie Waltz, Deanna Mayers, Tracy Rains
Life Science, Biology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
9, 10, 11, 12
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology and Change
  • Genetics
  • Genomes
  • Mendel
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Interactive, Text/HTML, Video

    Human Genome Project

    Human Genome Project


    The human genome project was one the most important human discoveries in the past 100 years. It creates a map of every gene in the human body.  Through this lesson you will explore the history of the genome project, its applications today, and implications for your life.  In addition, you will reflect on its impact on your life and determine if you think this is a positive or negative change. Based on your understanding, you will look at different perspectives with empathy to better understand how this technology impacts other people's lives.



    Explain how genetic engineering has impacted the fields of medicine, forensics, and agriculture (e.g., selective breeding, gene splicing, cloning, genetically modified organisms, gene therapy).


    Introductory warm-up activity.

    What is the human genome project?  In this engage experiment you will get a brief introduction watching this video from Athgene.


    Read or watch the resources to learn about this concept, then do the practice activity.





    What exactly is the human genome project?  Learn more by reading “An overview of the human genome project” by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

    To learn more about the human genome, watch the following video “The Race to Sequence the Human Genome.”


    For this activity you will work through an interactive, hyperlinked timeline of genetics that takes the user from Mendel (1865) to the completion of the mapping of the human genome in 2003.  Use this link to learn more.


    Explore More


    Discuss your ideas / opinions / understandings.


    Suppose a genetic disease runs in your family.  Researchers have just been able to identify the gene that causes this disease that impacts you directly.  Because of the human genome project, you can take a quick and easily determine if you have the gene or not.   Explore 23 and me genetic testing to learn more about these tests in the real world. If you were able, would you want to know the results?  Does your answer change even if there wasn’t a cure? Explain the advantages and disadvantages of having this sort of information.


    Now it is time to self-check how much you have learned about the this topic.  If you do not know as much as you thought, go back to the “Explore” section of this seminar and reread, rewatch, or redo the activities listed.  See your facilitator if you have questions.

    Click here to take the quiz online. You do not have to log into the quiz site in order to take this quiz. If a window pops up asking you to sign up for the quiz site, just close the sign-up window and start your quiz.


    This is a task or project where you can show what you know.


    The human genome project was the culmination of decades long research that brought together information using the latest available technology.   For this elaborate experiment, you will need to create a music album cover, “Genomes Greatest Hits.”  With this concept in mind, you will select 5 scientists that contributed to the human genome project from this list.   Once you select the 5 scientists, you need to create a song title for each scientist that represents their significant contribution.  Compose your project in a presentation and include images for each person.   Use this rubric to evaluate your work.

    Other activities:


    Complete this wrap-up activity where you reflect on your learning.

    After completing this learning experience, reflect on how you learned through this lesson.  What type of information was simplest to find on the internet?  What proved to be more difficult?  What makes something more difficult to research than others based on your learning?