The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Jim Bauer: A Union of the Genes 2008.04.28

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

You can read about genetics in a textbook, you can listen to your teacher try to make sense of it for you, or you can try it out yourself.

Get married, reproduce and watch the genes go to work.

That’s the approach eighth grade students in Jim Bauer’s science class are taking at Morenci Middle School. Well, sort of.

Students find their mate by luck of the draw, then compare their genes to see what traits might be produced in their fictional offspring.genetics.wedding.jpg

There’s nothing too serious about the match-up, but in the end, Mr. Bauer’s class knows how genes interact.

Long before the wedding day, each student flips a pair of pennies to look at the probability of passing on traits to offspring.  Two heads indicate the dominant gene of brown hair. Two tails give the recessive gene for red hair. One head and one tail produce a gene carrying both traits.

The next step is to develop a list of options for the class’s children. Hair color: Afro hair or Marge hair (from the Simpsons). Head shape: cone or round. Nose: regular or elephant snout. One of each of the dozen traits is listed as dominant and the other recessive.

Next, students take the coin-flip data from before and create their personal Genetic Profile Chart. Their genotype—the inherited instructions—is recorded for each trait to determine the phenotype—the observable characteristics, such as Oriental eyes, rabbit ears, etc.

Using their 12 traits, they come up with portraits of themselves to show off their bodies.

Then comes the marriage. Mr. Bauer draws names to match up the pairs. Generally, there’s just a simple piece of cheesecloth placed over the head of the bride. With an interested reporter coming for a photo, Mr. Bauer went a little further this year. The cheesecloth, of course, but also a bouquet, a justice of the peace, a wedding party and music from Mr. Bauer’s mouth.

On Monday, the new couples got down to work. They filled out Punnett Squares—diagrams used to map out genetic outcomes from breeding—to determine the characteristics of their two children.

Once more, the couples turn to their artistic abilities and draw pictures of their future children.

Finally, the couples take turns at the head of the class to talk about their families.

Mr. Bauer doesn’t always leave in-service sessions and conferences with good, ready-to-use ideas to take back to the classroom. That wasn’t the case when he picked up the idea for what he calls the Genetic Family Project.

“It’s the best project I’ve ever gotten from a conference,” he said. “This is one of those projects where you have very few discipline problems because the kids really get into it.”

Aside from the scientific principles demonstrated, the project also has its practical side.

“It shows how brothers and sisters can have some traits they share and others they don’t share,” Mr. Bauer said.

A blonde brother, a brunette sister. One with green eyes, another with brown. It all begins to make sense.

And about that classroom wedding.…

“They can all get an annulment if they wish,” Mr. Bauer said.

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