What's Up With Gena?

An Introduction to Biotechnology in
the High School.



“What’s Up with Gena? was developed by Beyond Benign in partnership with Pfizer to provide a vehicle for teachers to explore the subject of Medical/Pharmaceutical Biotechnology through a real-world simulation. Through this simulation students will use hands-on inquiry-based lessons to explore this emerging field of science.

The curriculum unit is designed to be a simulation of a real health issue. Gena Karbowski has been experiencing health issues. Students will apply their new knowledge of genetics, heredity and biotechnology in meaningful ways and are put in the role of scientist, health provider and friend to Gena and her family. Most importantly the students are put in the role of decision maker when the decisions are often difficult and require higher order thinking.

There are eight lesson plans in this curriculum module including lessons that can be taught in a 40 minute class periods all the way through to lessons that may take multiple days to implement. There are also PowerPoint presentations and videos to augment the implementation of certain lessons. Time requirements are included in each lesson and are designed to be a guide as each teacher will put his/her style on the materials. Each lesson has been mapped to national high school science standards and a complete list of materials and procedures have been included. There is also an extensive resources section with print, and web resources for materials and background information.”

Begin by reviewing the lesson map. Then download the following individual lesson plans. Please note that lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations are currently available in English; Spanish translations will be available in the future.


Lesson One: What's Up With Gena?

Lesson Two: Genetic Testing

Lesson Three: Family Interviews

Lesson Four: Counseling My Genetics

Lesson Five: Electrophoresis Discovery

Lesson Six: Recombinant DNA Technology

Lesson Seven: Phixagene, Inc.

Lesson Eight: Biotechnology Career Exploration


Additional Resources:

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