science education resource

Dog Diseases

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Man's domestication of wild dogs into faithful companions began some 10,000 years ago. Over the centuries, many desirable traits have been bred into dogs like speed, strength, color, shape, hunting ability, loyalty, friendliness and fierceness. But with the good traits some serious bad traits have tagged along.

Genetics studies now show that selective breeding of dogs over time also brings out serious diseases. Labrador retrievers develop bad hip joints. Golden retrievers get a cancer called lymphoma. Dachshunds get epilepsy. Samoyeds get diabetes. It may turn out that a mixed breed mutt is really man's best friend. (Kruglinski, Susan. "Doctor's Best Friend" Discover March 2006: P. 15)

Off site resource from Discover:

Dog Diseases

Essential Questions

1. Has our inbreeding of dogs, to create the "breeds" we like, produced mutations that are harmful to their health?


Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS3.B: Variation of Traits: LINK
• In sexually reproducing organisms, each parent contributes half of the genes acquired (at random) by the offspring. Individuals have two of each chromosome and hence two alleles of each gene, one acquired from each parent. These versions may be identical or may differ from each other. (MS-LS3-2)
• In addition to variations that arise from sexual reproduction, genetic information can be altered because of mutations. Though rare, mutations may result in changes to the structure and function of proteins. Some changes are beneficial, others harmful, and some neutral to the organism. (MS-LS3-1)


Science and Engineering Practices

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence.


Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships

Cause and Effect: Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.


Other questions that were generated in researching this Scientific Phenomena?



Intergrate this Lesson with NGSS:


Using Discoveries and Inventions as Scientific Phenomena to Integrate with NGSS:

Scientific Phenomena can be used as a tool to anchor a science unit involving a series of lessons to engage in deeper science learning – or what is being called “Three Dimensional Learning”.

1) Describe the phenomena in a way that your students can understand and which sparks their imagination.

2) Create Essential Questions for them to answer to explain the phenomena.

3) Identify the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas which you are targeting.

4) Provide clear directions for a process they should use to try to answer the questions using the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices to frame as your guideline.

 • Provide a few links online to get them started obtaining information.

 • Once they find some sources, they should evaluate them and communicate their findings to the rest of the class.


Practice analyzing and interpreting the data they find.

5) Name the Crosscutting Concepts that students should be aware of throughout the lesson.

 • Then suggest ways that they can identify patterns, cause and effect, etc.

6) Make note of other questions generated in the process of exploring this Scientific Phenomena.

 • Discuss them as a class. has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.