Six Ws

A scenario-based activity introducing medical applications of DNA testing


This activity introduces a number of different ways that genetic tests can be used in medicine.

It uses real-life scenarios to explore the many reasons why someone would seek or be offered a genetic test. Students are given a scenario and use problem solving to choose the features of an appropriate genetic test. Students then role play a genetic counselling appointment.

The activity also introduces some of the social and ethical implications of genetic testing.

A full teacher guide is available for this activity. It includes further information and examples of current tests for each of the scenarios. Teachers can email from a school email address to gain access.

Syllabus connections

HSC Biology NSW


  • investigate the use of technologies to determine inheritance patterns in a population using, for example:
    • DNA sequencing and profiling

Genetic Technologies

  • evaluate the benefits of using genetic technologies in agricultural, medical and industrial applications  
  • interpret a range of secondary sources to assess the influence of social, economic and cultural contexts on a range of biotechnologies.

Causes and Responses (Non-infectious Diseases)

  • investigate the causes and effects of non-infectious diseases in humans, including but not limited to:
    • genetic diseases
    • investigate the treatment/management, and possible future directions for further research, of a non-infectious disease using an example from one of the non-infectious diseases categories listed above  

Problem Solving


Assumed Knowledge

  • Inheritance and associated terminology (allele, genome, multifactorial, genotype, homozygous/heterozygous, dominant/recessive, carrier)

  • Punnett squares for predicting risk to offspring

  • Variants, SNPs (could be introduced during the lesson)

  • Technology- PCR, microarray, sequencing (could be introduced during lesson, resource links provided)


Title ModificationDate
  Six Ws Activity Guide (PDF) Jul 03, 2019 05:02 PM
  Six Ws Presentation (PowerPoint) Jul 03, 2019 05:02 PM
  Six Ws Student Worksheets (Word) Jul 03, 2019 05:02 PM