Lesson 4 – Analysis of Lab Results to Verify Network Interactions

Course:  Biology, Genetics, Biotechnology, Environmental Science

Unit:  Genetics and Heredity


See Standards Addressed for all NGSS and WA State (Science, Math and Literacy).  In addition to the aligned objectives linked above, for this lesson, here is a breakdown of:

What Students Learn:

  • Scientists use computer programs and simulations to analyze networks because networks are often very complex.
  • One change in the environment could affect an entire cellular network due to the interdependent nature of networks.
  • A centrifuge separates a culture into a supernatant and pellet, which allows the phenotype of cells to be more easily viewed.
  • Qualitative measurement is a way of describing data with words, whereas quantitative measurement is a way of describing data with numbers.
  • Mutant strains, with known genotypes, are a useful tool when studying organisms.

What Students Do:

  • Students use wild type and mutant strains of Halobacterium salinarum to investigate quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Students use a centrifuge to spin down cells as a way to determine the phenotype of cells.
  • Students compare, contrast and critique divergent results from their investigations and discuss/identify possible errors/sources of variation.
  • Students use a simulation to verify and/or correct their network understanding.
  • Students plan the steps needed for scientists to determine and verify a question using systems methods.
  • Students analyze the role the environment has on gene expression. In this analysis, recognize the components, structure, and organization of systems and the interconnections within and among them.








Pacing Guide

Instructional Activities: (Approximately three 50-min periods)

Before beginning lesson:         

Teachers spin mutant broth samples into pellets at 6000 rpm for 15 minutes, pour off supernatant.
Pellet should be easily seen when given to students. Tip: cells will begin to dislodge and go into solution if not spun for 15 minutes (adjust time if spinning at higher rpm). There should be enough wild type and mutant samples to make a set for each team (8 teams per kit.)
This set of activities may play out differently depending on your facilities and equipment. We put the Mutants PowerPoint, Data Collection from the Student Experiment, and Simulation all in one part. They can be done in nearly any order and can happen somewhat simultaneously (esp. gathering O.D. data). Our description below is the way we think would be optimum. Please adjust to meet your needs.