Medical Problem Solving, Case 2: What is the Cause of the Seizures?

Overview & Concepts

This activity is focused around a case study. Students use various data tools and data sets (including OMIM, pedigree analysis, 10K Microarray / SNP data and the Genome browser) to identify candidate genes.  After locating the gene, students use BLAST and BLAT to learn more about the type of mutation and normal function of the gene.

Grade Level: 

Concepts Covered: 

OMIM, BLAT, BLAST, microarrays, single nucleotide polymorphisms, 10 K microarragy, SNP

Prior Knowledge Required: 

DNA, genes, chromosomes, pedigree, PCR

Activity Notes

Days to Teach: 

1-2 50-minute class periods.


Student handout, computers with Internet access, PPT file About The Clinic for Special Children, computer with projection capability

Teaching Tips / Activity Overview: 

  1. Introduce the activity by showing the Power Point about The Clinic for Special Children.
  2. Group students in small groups or pairs and let them work to complete the case study.
  3. Actively monitor students’ progress and address any problems along the way.
  4. When everyone is finished, gather the groups together to reflect on the process and share any insights or questions.


The final discussion is an excellent opportunity to gauge students’ understanding of the process and concepts.


More case studies and the Medical Problem Solving Webquest are also available.


Dr. Erik Puffenberger and Dr. Kevin Strauss at The Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA provided the details for the case study.  Dr. Elizabeth Rice wrote the activity.  Dr. Jamie Blair and Tara Flick reviewed, revised, and edited it.

Academic Standards
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