Activity 1: A Tool for Inquiry
GenScope (The Precursor to BioLogica)

What can I expect to get out of doing this activity?

gen's dragon

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), an educational technology team at BBN has developed GenScope for use in science education (teaching and learning of genetics).

GenScope and BioLogica introduce a new paradigm for educational technology, the computer-based manipulative (CBM). GenScope and BioLogica contain six levels of genetic phenomena in the form of linked models which emphasize reasoning from effect-to-cause.

Learning about GenScope is the focus of this topic. The new activities for BioLogica are presently under development.

In this part of the activity you are going to read a bit about the GenScope project in general, and its technological and pedagogical design. You will also do some simple experiments and begin to explore different levels of the program.

You'll learn about:
  • the design of the CBM,
  • the rationale for teaching with a CBM,
  • simple experimental tools in GenScope which generate and manipulate organisms.
  • how long will it take?

    15 min. for the reading.
    45 min. for introductory work with GenScope.



    1. Please read WELCOME TO GenScope, located on Pages 1-4 of the GenScope Teacher's Manual.

    2. Skim Pages 6 - 10 in the TOUR OF GenScope SOFTWARE (you will be asked to review sections of these pages on the upcoming assignment).

    Activity 1
    TO DO Checklist

    __ Print this page!

    Readings & Hands On
    __ Complete the reading assignment.
    __ Make dragons and explore gene manipulation.

    Initial Thoughts
    __ Post your initial comments on Activity 1 and read some of the module-based discussion in the GenScope Discussion area. Check out the personal Introductions and Tech FAQ discussions there too.

    Local Study Group Meeting
    __ Attend LSG meeting where colleagues share their new "tools" for inquiry. Doing your presentation this week? Here are the notes you'll need.

    Further Reflection
    __ Visit the GenScope Discussion area to read more of the dialogue and post additional comments.

    1.Let's go ahead and breed some dragons. Begin by working through the introductory tour of GenScope which you have just finished reading. The tour begins on page 6 of the printed manual. Follow the instructions to open the DRAGON file. Continue following the directions and take notes as you go along. For instance, note the alleles that are present in the dragon gene pool. Also note any patterns in your first investigation(s).

    2. Create a dragon. See page 6 of the printed guide to learn how to create organisms.

    3. Modify alleles. Go to the CHROMOSOME level by accessing the CHROMOSOME TOOL (pp. 7-10). Then follow directions on page 9 to modify alleles.

    4. What are the effects of gene manipulation on the physical expression of traits as shown in the ORGANISM window?

    5. Make your own dragons and save them in your "dragon pen." (See page 10 for instructions on how to save a GenScope file.)


    a) Make a dead dragon, then revive it.
    b) Make an azure (blue) dragon.
    Blue dragon