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We have learned so much over the years about genetic diseases such as Down Syndrome.

Your students will have an interesting class session as they read and discuss a text lesson, create Down Syndrome Awareness posters, and complete a worksheet.

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Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define Down Syndrome.
  • Describe the symptoms of Down Syndrome.
  • Give a brief description of the causes of Down Syndrome.


1.5 – 2 hours

Curriculum Standards



Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.

g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


  • Copies of the What Is Down Syndrome? – Symptoms, Causes & Facts text lesson
  • Copies of the lesson worksheet
  • Poster boards
  • Markers
  • Student computers
  • Index cards with the names of different people, such as athletes, that have Down Syndrome


  • Begin the lesson by having a quick review about chromosomes and how they determine almost everything about our bodies.

  • Ask your students if they know anyone with a genetic disease. Allow a few students to answer.
  • Tell your students they are going to learn more about one genetic disease as they read the What Is Down Syndrome? – Symptoms, Causes & Facts text lesson.
  • Pass out the text lesson, and read it together as a class by having different students each read a paragraph. Stop periodically for discussions.

  • Have the first student start reading at the beginning. Stop reading after the ‘Meiosis and Down Syndrome’ section, then ask and discuss:
    • What is dominant/recessive inheritance?
    • What is meiosis?
    • How many pairs of chromosomes are in the human genome?
    • How many chromosomes should be present in each egg and sperm?
    • What is trisomy?
  • Continue reading through the end of the ‘Down Syndrome’ section, then ask and discuss:
    • Which chromosome has an extra copy in Down Syndrome?
    • What is the other name for Down Syndrome?
    • What is the most common symptom of Down Syndrome?
    • What are some other symptoms of Down Syndrome?
  • Continue reading through the end of the ‘Treatment for Down Syndrome’ section, then ask and discuss:
    • Is there a cure for Down Syndrome?
    • What is the biggest key to treating Down Syndrome?
    • What does cognitive mean?
    • What can be improved with surgeries?
  • Continue reading through the end of the ‘Facts About Down Syndrome’ section, then ask and discuss:
    • When was Down Syndrome first discovered?
    • What term was first used to identify people with Down Syndrome?
    • At what age is a father more likely to have a child with Down Syndrome?
    • What was the eugenics movement?
    • What were people with Down Syndrome forced to do during the eugenics movement?
    • Why is the term mongloids no longer used to identify people with Down Syndrome?
  • Read the ‘Conclusion’ section to your students, and answer any questions they have.

Down Syndrome Awareness Posters

  1. Divide your students into groups of three to four.
  2. Have each group select one of the index cards.

    They should also get a set of markers and a poster board.

  3. Explain to your students that they are going to create posters highlighting a successful person with Down Syndrome.
  4. Here is what they should include their posters:
    • Person’s name
    • Occupation, sport played, or Olympics they participated in
    • A 5-sentence biography that includes the fact that they have Down Syndrome and any obstacles they had to overcome to become successful.
    • Picture of the person
  5. Have each group present their posters to the class and then hang the posters in the hallway outside of your door to bring awareness to the rest of the school.

Lesson Worksheet

  • Give your students the lesson worksheet.
  • Go over the answers to the worksheet together as a class.

Related Lessons

  • Down Syndrome: Cause, Progression, ; Treatment
  • Types of Genetic Disorders: Definitions ; Symptoms

Post Author: admin


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