Online College Courses for Credit

African American Lives

African American Lives

Author: Beth Barsness
  1. Students will learn how different DNA tests – Admixture Test, Mitochondrial DNA Test, Y-Chromosome Test – can be used to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa.
  2. Students will review the structure of DNA.
  3. Students will distinguish between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  4. Students will contemplate their own ancestry.

The goal of this assignment is for students to learn how DNA analysis can be used to trace the family histories of African Americans who may not have records due to slavery. 

Length of time needed:  1-2 class periods (88 mins each)

This lesson was written by Melanie Kennedy.

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Lesson Plan

This lesson plan can be downloaded to your computer. If you would like to download and edit this document for your classroom needs, go to the "Handouts and Materials" section and click on the corresponding link.


Source: Melanie Kennedy

Handouts and Materials

The following files can be downloaded to your computer:

Lesson Plan (Word document)

African American Lives Video Worksheet (Word document)

African American Lives Reading (Word document)

African American Lives Reading Assignment (Word document)

Source: Melanie Kennedy