Harry Potter Genetics

Harry Potter Genetics


About this course


Recommended Ages: 11-17

Levels: This class is offered in 2 levels. Level 1 is for younger students. Level 2 is for older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge.

Start Date: September 6, 2022. Class consists of 12 lesson plans. Students have 2 weeks after the last lesson is posted to complete the course. No live classes — do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $240

Space Available: 

This 12 week course will help students unlock the mysteries of genetics through case studies found in the Harry Potter series! Genetically, what is the difference between a pure blood, a half blood, and a Muggle (how is Hermione a witch if her parents aren’t?)? How do we determine the offspring of different variations of parents (will Ron and Hermione’s children all be wizards?)? What about mutations (why do squibs- like Filch- have wizards for parents but are unable to do magic?)? How do mixed species work in the wizarding world (Hagrid is one half giant, Flitwick is ¼ goblin) and in the real world (ligers and zorses and mules, oh my!)? Do genetics play a role in personality and talents (can the Sorting Hat detect your genetics so you are placed in the right house?)? We’ll also unravel the double helix of DNA to see exactly how it works and how genes are created. Students will have a thorough understanding of the four nucleotide bases, how DNA is replicated, and how mutations can occur during this process.

We’ll then spend a few weeks on evolutionary adaptations- how genetics plays a role in ensuring survival of the fittest and making sure the strongest genes are passed down. For this, we’ll study the various beasts of the wizarding world. What adaptations allow them to live in their environments? If the environment were to change, what would that species need to do to survive? Students will embark on a multi-week project to create genetic profiles of the various beasts in the book, then create a new magical beast through selective breeding of known species.

This is an academically advanced class. Younger students 11-12 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 13 and up, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more in depth homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is a 12 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. The textbook for this class is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. (See Materials tab)

DISCUSSION:We offer an “open talk” forum where students can discuss their lessons and have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Textbook: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Used books can be purchased for about $10 with shipping through Amazon.


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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