As a high school Biological Sciences teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching about chromosomal and environmental sex determination in various species, and the factors that influence sex determination in sea turtles.

This lesson plan allows students to learn about the mechanisms for determination of gender in different species, and specifically, in sea turtles. The activity will help students understand the possible effects of climate change (specifically, increase in temperature) on the sex ratio and population of sea turtles.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Biological Sciences.

Questions

Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:

  • 1. Discuss sex determination in various biological species.
  • 2. Explain chromosomal sex determination and environmental sex determination.
  • 3. How might climate change influence sex determination in sea turtles?
  • 4. How might climate change affect sea turtle population, in particular, and marine ecosystems, in general?

This is a Teacher-submitted lesson plan.

Contributed by Dr. Ravindra Varma Polisetty, Assistant Professor, Sri Venkateswara College (University of Delhi), India.

Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.

About Lesson Plan

Grade Level High School
Discipline Biological Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline • Sex Determination in Species
• Chromosomal Sex Determination
• Environmental Sex Determination (ESD)
• Sea Turtle Biology
• Biodiversity, Ecology
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Location Global,  Florida (USA)
Languages English
Access Online (some material can be downloaded for offline use)
Approximate Time Required 75 – 90 min

Contents

Micro-lecture (video) (~6 min) A micro-lecture (video) that introduces the topic of sex determination in various biological species and explains the influence of environmental factors such as temperature on sex determination in some species.

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/sex-determination-more-complicated-than-you-thought

Video (~8 min) A video that explains how climate change may alter the sex ratio in sea turtles and may cause species extinction.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/sea-turtles

Classroom/ Laboratory activity (~ 60 min) A classroom/laboratory activity to observe, understand, and discuss the effects of climate change on soil temperature near sea turtle nests, and the possible consequences on the sex ratio of sea turtles.

http://www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourceLesson/Preview/75527 (Part 4 – Laboratory Activity and Analysis Questions)

Step-by-Step User Guide
Questions/Assignments
Learning Outcomes
Additional Resources
Credits

Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.

 

1. Introduce the topic through a micro-lecture (video)
  • • Introduce the topic of sex determination in various species.
  • • Discuss chromosomal and environmental sex determination with examples.
  • • Play the micro-lecture (video, approx. 6 min) “Sex Determination: More complicated than you thought” to introduce the topics of sex determination, chromosomal sex determination in various biological systems, and the role of environmental factors in determining the sex of some species.
  • • The video provided by TED-Ed can be accessed at https://ed.ted.com/lessons/sex-determination-more-complicated-than-you-thought
2. Play a video
  • • Discuss environmental sex determination in sea turtles and emphasize the possible impact of climate change on sea turtle populations. You may briefly introduce the topic of climate change to your students now.
  • • Play the short video (approx. 8 min) “Climate change is hurting the sex lives of sea turtles” to explain how an increase in Earth’s temperature due to climate change might adversely alter the sex ratio of sea turtles and might subsequently impact sea turtle population.
  • • The video “Climate change is hurting the sex lives of sea turtles”, provided by PBS NewsHour, is available at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/sea-turtles.
3. Conduct a classroom/laboratory activity Now, conduct the classroom/laboratory activity in Part 4 of the teaching module “Sea Turtle Sex and Climate Change” (from CPALMS) to explore the topic in more detail. This activity will help students to build models of sea turtle nests, simulate the effects of rising temperature due to climate change by using different light sources, collect data, and discuss the possible effects of climate change on the sex ratio and population of sea turtles.

 

Use the tools and the concepts learned so far to discuss and determine answers to the following questions:
  1.  Discuss sex determination in various biological species.
  2.  Explain chromosomal sex determination and environmental sex determination.
  3.  How might climate change influence sex determination in sea turtles?
  4.  How might climate change affect sea turtle population, in particular, and marine ecosystems, in general?
The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:
  1. describe chromosomal and environmental sex determination in species
  2. discuss the role of environmental factors in sex determination of sea turtles
  3. explain the potentially adverse effects of climate change on sea turtle population
  4. discuss and predict the impact of climate change on ecosystems

If you or your students would like to explore the topic further, these additional resources will be useful.

Reading A reading, “Turtles”, by George R. Zug in ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA:

https://www.britannica.com/animal/sea-turtle

Video A video, “ What is Climate, Climate Change, Lines of Evidence”, from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicinehttp://youtu.be/qEPVyrSWfQE 
Classroom/Laboratory Activity Parts 1 and 2 of the teaching module, “Sea Turtle Sex and Climate Change”, from CPALMS:

http://www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourceLesson/Preview/75527

Micro-lecture, “Sex determination: More complicated than you thought” Educator and Narrator: Aaron Reedy; Animator: Buzzoo Associates, Inc.

TED-Ed

 Video, “Climate change is hurting the sex lives of sea turtles” PBS NewsHour
Classroom/Laboratory activity, “Sea Turtle Sex and Climate Change” D. Marsica, content available on CPALMS
Additional Resources George R. Zug, ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

D. Marsica, content available on CPALMS

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