Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Plan B

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Science & Mathematics Teaching Center


Dr. Ana Houseal, Chair

Second Advisor

Sylvia Parker

Third Advisor

Diana Wigg


The purpose of this project was to review aspects related to teaching molecular genetics at the middle school level. Literature on molecular genetics was used to determine benefits and challenges of using conceptual models and effective ways of applying conceptual models to learn. Additional information on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was used to identify ways that conceptual models might fit into the scientific practices of Making and Using Models. Understanding gained from the literature was applied to develop a National Board Certification entry. The NBC entry focused on progressing students’ conceptual understanding of the structural relationship among DNA, genes and chromosomes and the functional relationship between genes and traits. Conclusions and recommendations from the literature and NBC process are made. Both findings from the literature and my NBC unit designs suggest that middle school students develop deeper understanding of molecular genetics through the effective use of models. As students practice using and developing conceptual models, they develop their scientific practices, as identified in the NGSS.


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Science in Natural Science in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center of the University of Wyoming.