Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Bashaw Lab

Flies on Ice

Using Drosophila as a model organism to teach methods of experimental design and investigate the development and function of the nervous system.

Ice Skating Fly

Objective: SWBAT design an experiment, follow a protocol, collect and analyze data IOT investigate a scientific question

I. General overview and suggested timeline:

We recommend taking three days to perform this lesson; but there are many options available to shorten or extend it as needed. We also suggest teaching this unit after students have learned about cell membrane components and their function, as an introduction to exocytosis, while also reviewing scientific inquiry and mechanisms of enzyme action. However, a simplified version of the unit can be used at the beginning of the year or if you are teaching this lesson to a lower grade level. A sample schedule is provided here:

Day 1 - Introduce flies and the phenomenon of knocking out flies on ice; Students define variables and plan their procedure to answer the question: How does the amount of time flies spend on ice affect their activity?

Day 2 - Students conduct their experiment and collect data.

Day 3 - Students analyze the results from the experiment, discuss the molecular explanation for paralysis/ cell communication, and draw conclusions.

Connections to the curriculum