Activities
Labs
Links
National Standards

Activities

  • Try this middle school activity for teaching genetics and environmental science called "Toothpick Fish" . 
  • Have students do this "An Inventory of My Traits" activity . 
  • Play " Traits Bingo. 
  • Have students do this "Genetic/Blood Types" Crossword Puzzle and answers. 
  • Students flip coins to determine traits for their smiley faces in this "Genetics with a Smile"  activity.  Directions for using Microsoft Word drawing tools are here , wrap-up activities are here , and teacher instructions are here . 
  • Try these "Genetics with Sponge Bob" worksheets: "Genetics with Sponge Bob" , "Genetics with Sponge Bob 2" , "Sponge Bob Genetics--Incomplete Dominance", and "Sponge Bob Genetics Quiz" . 
  • Do the "World of Genetics" Wordsearch Puzzle . 
  • Print this "Basic Principles of Genetics" crossword puzzle with solution. 
  • Show NOVA's "Life's Greatest Miracle" videos using Quicktime or Real Player and have students answer the questions in this worksheet.  The entire video can be ordered as a DVD at the PBS Store or Amazon.com.
  • Have students do Mrs. Rebello's "Online Research fo a Genetic Disorder" .
  • If you happen to be covering this unit around Easter, try "Easter Egg Genetics."  This activity uses plastic Easter eggs and candy that students can later eat.
  • This version, called "Plastic Egg Genetics" , includes a student worksheet.
  • Order the free DVD, "The Meaning of Sex: Genes and Gender" from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and try any of the numerous activities in this "Biointeractive" site.
  • "The Human Genome Project" has many downloadable activities along with the "Exploring Our Molecular Selves" video.  The site also has online videos with transcripts.
  • Genetics Education Partnership has an entire "Sickle Cell Anemia: A Case Study Approach to Teaching High School Genetics unit that includes worksheets and labs.  The two videos in the unit, "Blood is Life" and "Children By Design," can be ordered from the Films Media Group 
  • Genetic Science Learning Center's "A Tree of Genetic Traits"  is a good middle school activity.
  • Another good middle school activity is Genetic Science Learning Center's  "A Recipe for Traits" .  In this activity, by randomly choosing strips of paper that represent DNA, students create then decode a "DNA recipe" to complete a drawing of a dog. 
  • In "Generations of Traits,"  a hands-on activity from Genetic Science Learning Center, students track and record the passage of colored "pom-pom traits" through three generations of ginger-bread people.  It's a good middle school introduction to pedigrees. 
  • Students explore "Bioengineered Foods?" in this Teacher's Domain (You must register for free to access.) lesson.  It includes videos, readings and flash animations.
  • "Ethical Issues in the Human Genome Project" is another Teacher's Domain lesson that includes videos, readings, and a "Should We Create Babies by Design?" interactive poll. 
  • Another Teacher's Domain lesson is "The Human Genome Project."  This lesson again includes videos, Flash and Shockwave interactives, and instructions for a Jeopardy review game. 
  • This "Marshmallow Meiosis"  lab is a "Breeding Rebops" lab.
  • Adapted from "Breeding Rebops,", "The Inheritance Patterns in Dragons"  has students create a dragon (of the Harry Potter books fame) from the chromosomes of both parents.  The original activity was created by Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science.  I simply added the chromosomes to it.
  • Rodger Moore from Wooster High School in Reno, NV developed three great "Zork Genetics" activities.  The activities, "Zork Genetics" , "More Zork Genetics" , and "Zork Inheritance" , should be done in conjunction with one another, but it is not necessary.  You can email Rodger at home, rodger@rougien.reno.nv.us,  or at school, moore@washoe.k12.nv.us, if you have any questions about the activities.
  • Show the movie "Lorenzo's Oil," about a boy who develops a genetic disease so rare that nobody was working on a cure when the movie was made.  I was informed that Nicole Baumann, a French scientist who's lab is at 'lHopitale de la Salpetriere in Paris, is currently one of the few scientists doing research on the disease.  Jim Marilley from the NSTA Listserve contributed this worksheet  to accompany the movie along with this lesson plan  and notes  which were authored by by the Executive Board of the Biology Teachers Association of NJ.
  • "The Roller Coaster of Genes" is a clever PowerPoint about inheritance of traits.  It has music in the background with the words that Annette M. Parrott, the creator of the PowerPoint, wrote.  Students can sing along as the presentation plays.  (You may need to download the presentation and save it on your own computer for the music to play.)
  • "Genetics" is a good tutorial and worksheet combined that covers many topics in genetics.  These teacher notes are included.
  • Tracie Schroeder from the NSTA Listserver provided this "Human Pedigrees"  activity.
  • Have your students listen to "I'm My Own Grandpa" song and try the "Ultimate Pedegree Challenge."  Check their answers with this possible solution to the pedigree .
  • Try an activity called "Codon Analogies"  with answers .
  • Have students try this "Genetic Engineering"  crossword puzzle with answers. 
  • In this “Blood Typing” online game you have to blood type each patient and give them a blood transfusion. 
  • "Bugsville" simulates the genetics of a quantitative character. The user can breed ladybugs to estimate the heritability of spot number, then conduct a selective breeding experiment to see if the heritability multiplied by the selection differential predicts the response to selection.  It includes a tutorial and worksheet.
  • "Genetic Traits in Harry Potter" from the National Institute of Health's National  Library of Medicine's website is a very extensive lesson on gentics and the genetics of the Harry Potter characters.  It includes PowerPoint presentations, student worksheets (in pdf and Word) and their explanation of the Magic ability shows the complexity of the trait to include what causes "Squibs," those with magical parents who have little magical ability.
Labs
  • Do the "Allele Frequencies and Sickle Cell Anemia Lab".
  • Read about "The Blue People of Troublesome Creek," check out the "Blue People" Pedigree,  show the "Blue People of Troublesome Creek" PowerPoint Presentation , and do this associated laboratory activity. 
  • Explore the principles of Mendelian genetics with this "Dragon Genetics" Lab  with teacher notes . 
  • Have students explore transgenic manipulation with this computer "Engineer a Crop: Transgenic Manipulation" simulation
  • Use pennies to do this "How Well Does a Punnet Square Predict the Actual Ratios?" lab . 
  • Uses pipecleaners and beads to show how genes and chromosomes are inherited in this "Pipecleaner Babies" lab.  Includes teacher preparation notes. 
  • Leave out pieces of fruit to collect them for this "Collect Your Own Drosophila Lab."
  • Learn about the genetics of parethood by creating Aliens in the "Baby Boom" web lab.
  • Students flip pennies to determine the traits of their "children" and draw their faces in "The Genetics of Parenthood - FACE LAB" . 
  • Or use this "Genotype to Phenotypye Simulation"  booklet with these chromosomes  to create your baby's face.  This is a slightly more advanced activity. 
  •  Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science also developed this "Inheritance and Blood Typing"  lab.  It includes the recipe for making the fake blood.  They also produced this  presentation to accompany it. 
  • In "Doing Your Lessons in Blood" students Identify which blood type a person would have based on their alleles, observe the alleles that an offspring would have and identify the blood types of the offspring, and use the observations and rules gleaned from this to predict the blood types of other offspring, when given the genotypes of their parents.
  • "Using Blood Tests to Identify Babies and Criminals" has students use blood types to identify the parents of a baby and a killer.  The second part involves blood testing for which you could use a commerical blood testing kit or the recipes in the "Inheritance of Blood Typing" lab above.  These teacher notes are included.
  • Try this "Gummy Bear Genetic" lab from The Science Teacher.
  •  Or do this "Paper Pets" Genetics lab.
  • In the "Making Babies: Blood Types Lab," , students use red, white, and blue beads to represent the alleles for blood types.
  • A good middle school lab is the "Genetics of Sesame Street Characters" .  J.T. Sanders of the NSTA Listserve created this  worksheet to go with the lab along with this  one.  You may also want to use these pictures of Sesame Street characters  .

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