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Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:19 PM
I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on an activity I could do with my students on Genetics. My background is in Earth Science and am having a little trouble finding something suitable for a 7th grade class. I have just begun student teaching so any insight would be greatly appreciated.
90 Activity Points
Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:24 PM
Try this website, it has some good information. http://learn.genetics.utah.edu. The Genetics Science Learning Center.
10 Activity Points
Yesterday, 4:18 PM
I have several helpful resources on bergthenerd.com, listed under: science -> 7th grade.
6-8th grade science & 7-8th art
10 Activity Points
Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:00 PM
Try this site: http://www.nclark.net/Genetics They have so much hands on activities. I hope that this helps. Mahalo and aloha, Kumu Serena from Hilo High School
820 Activity Points
Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:25 PM
Thanks! This looks like it has great tools to use!
910 Activity Points
Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:43 AM
Hi Alex, Serena, and Everyone! That site is a great one for getting many pdfs for immediate use in the classroom, Serena. I have used the Sponge Bob Genetics worksheets. It is nice to have them already placed together in one spot at this teacher's website. Thank you for sharing that. Alex, be sure to look through the postings on a similar discussion thread within this Life Science category: Life Science - Human genetics-family pedigrees. Many teachers have already posted gobs of great ideas for teaching genetics there, too.
Best of luck in your new curricular endeavor. I hope the NSTA Learning Center will be very helpful to you in identifying many great resources for classroom use and teacher enrichment. I use the Learning Center often. I especially like the new sci pack and science objects on Cell Division and Differentiation. Even though I have been teaching many years, there were still things for me to learn (and relearn), and these resources were good to go through to make sure I understood the basics.
78255 Activity Points
Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:58 PM
Thank you both greatly.
Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:09 PM
I have attached an activity that I got from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago as part of a teacher professional development workshop. You will need to provide the students some background information on alleles and the basics of genetics, but this activity provides the students a hands-on way of learning how the alleles determine traits. If you have any questions, please ask.
Museum_of_Science_and_Industry_Crazy_Traits.pdf (0.10 Mb)
Museum_of_Science_and_Industry_Crazy_Traits_Student_Worksheet.doc (0.65 Mb)
79030 Activity Points
Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:14 PM
Thanks for sharing this great resource!
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Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:53 PM
I don't teach genetics as a part of our assigned curriculum in my new school, although I have taught it in the past. However, our mandated state testing is fast approaching, and genetics is one of the tested content areas. So, I went searching in the Learning Center to see what other ideas may be out there. I have created a collection on genetics from what I have found so far, and I have attached it to this thread. I will be adding more resources, as I find them.
I briefly read through all of the resources, but one really caught my attention - the lesson plan idea on using Sesame Street characters to teach genetics. Look it over, and let me know what you think...
I have also included the Crazy Trait activity in the collection.
Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:54 PM
The collection did not post, so let's try that again...sorry.
Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:57 PM
I am not sure why the collection is not posting....sorry. I will try one more time.
I also have additional resources from the Museum of Science and Industry that I will upload into the library soon and share here...
Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:04 PM
I will try re-posting tomorrow. Again, sorry!
You should be able to find it though by completing a search for genetics and then clicking on "Collections Created By Others." I will also add additional resources from the Learning Center and from the Museum of Science and Industry soon.
Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:39 PM
Here is my collection on Genetics. I divide it up by Mendelian Genetics and Human Genetics. My 7th graders struggle at first with Mendelian genetics, so I wait until they have a firm grasp on that before introducing the confusion of Human Genetics. Check out the M&M lab, my students love "discovering" genetics in the same way Mendel did. I can also send you more information about how to set it up.
20495 Activity Points
Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:22 PM
Did you attach a copy of the MM Activity! That sounds like fun, and students love eating their labs... Or at least begging to eat them. It could be my computer having trouble loading.
Thanks for sharing
Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:57 PM
I am having the same problem, I can not view your activity. It sounds like a great way to stress the key components of Genetics in humans.
Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:46 PM
Ladies, I am not sure why it did not share that part of my collection, but here is the information.
I cut two 2x2" squares of tin foil per student. In the first foil packet I wrap approximately 4 plain M&Ms to be the F1 generation. I only put 3 in some and 5 in other packets so the students understand it is an average. In the other foil packet I wrap approximately 3 plain M&Ms and 1 peanut M&M to be the F2 generation. The next day in class I tell the student I have been growing some very special trees and home, but I wanted to figure out why I seemed to have more of one type of fruit. I pass a "pod" from the F1 generation to each of the students. I tell them they are going to investigate the fruit of a cross between my Plain M&M tree and my Peanut M&M tree. They unwrap the F1 generation, and we collect a class average of the fruit. We have a brief discussion about why there were no peanut M&Ms. Then, I pass out the F2 generation and explain how I grew trees from the plain pods of the F1 generation to get these fruit pods. The students unwrap these pods and discover the 1:3 ratio. I then have the students discuss what they think was happening. Many times I am surprised at how quickly they arrive at the correct answer. Occasionally, I direct the conversation in the correct direction.
This is a great way to introduce what Mendel was doing in his experiment, and the kids always enjoy the M&Ms. It is also really helpful for the concrete thinkers to observe Mendel's experiment.
MM_Lab.doc (0.10 Mb)
Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:34 AM
This is a good website with activities you can pick and choose from:
Also, I am attaching some articles from the Learning Center library appropriate for middle school students relating to genetics. I taught 7th grade and did a trait inventory with my students. That is always a fun way to start a unit on genetics.
101430 Activity Points
Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:57 PM
Here is an interesting website for genetics activities.
355 Activity Points
Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:57 PM
I found the following sites very helpful.
Investigating human traits:
National Human Genome Research Institute. (2003, April). From the Blueprint to You. Retrieved September 19, 2010, from www.genome.gov
National Institutes of Health, Human Genome Research Institute. (1999). Web Portion of Student Activities - Alike but Not Alike. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from Human Genetic Variation: http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih1/Genetic/guide/pdfs/ACT1M.PDF
University of Utah - Genetics Science Learning Centre. (2006). Inherited Human Traits: A Quick Reference. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from Teach.Genetics: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/
Exploritorium. (2007). Workshop #1: Introduction to DNA. Retrieved August 25, 2010, from The DNA Files: Hands-on Workshops: http://www.exploratorium.edu/dnafiles/series.html#introduction
University of Utah - Genetics Science Learning Centre. (2006). Have Your DNA and Eat It Too. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from Teach.Genetics: http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/dna/eat_DNA.html
Sexual Reproduction and Variation:
University of York Science Education Group. (2005). Making Reebops - A Model for Meiosis. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology, Harcourt Education: http://www.practicalbiology.org/areas/advanced/genetics/mode...7,EXP.html
ICT - Dragon Simulation
The Concord Consortium - Realizing the Promise of Educational Technology. (2010). Resources - Software. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from Concord Consortium - Realizing the Promise of Educational Technology: http://www.concord.org/resources/browse/172/
University of Utah - Genetics Science Learning Centre. (2006). Does Sunscreen Protect My DNA? Retrieved August 10, 2010, from Teach.Genetics: http://teach.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/dna/sunscreen.html
Assessment: Toothpick Fish
The GENETICS Project http://chroma.mbt.washington.edu/outreach/genetics
University of Washington Department of Molecular Biotechnology Education Outreach
Hope this helps,
780 Activity Points
Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:50 PM
Thanks for the M&M activity! This looks awesome! Is there any modifications or changes that you would make since you have done it?
Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:30 AM
written by Alex Bozek, Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:19 PM
I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions on an activity I could do with my students on Genetics.
I've attached an article from the NSTA Middle School Journal Science Scope. It's similar to the M&M activity, but uses gummi bears to represent dominant and recessive traits. Have you tried out the Advanced Search tool yet? The advanced search enables you to find resources that are subject and grade level specific and helps you narrow down the wealth of NSTA resources to meet your specific needs.
Best of luck in your student teaching!
Making Mendel's Model Manageable (Journal Article)
40755 Activity Points
Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:37 PM
The biggest modification I made was putting 3 M&Ms in some "pods" and 5 in other "pods" so the student would understand that it was an average of 4. With my more concrete thinking 7th graders they were not understanding that genetics was about predicting an anticipated outcome. They thought it was statistically true that 25% of the time the F2 generation had a peanut M&M. By changing the number of plain to peanut M&Ms it helped the students understand probability better.
Let me know if you have other questions.
Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:47 PM
I too have used many of the activities off of http://www.nclark.net/Genetics over the years. The "Smiley Face" activity is always a success with my students. I have modified it several times over the years to fit various curriculums. I always finish by posting the completed works/drawings around the room. The kids love that! I have also used the "Genetics with Sponge Bob" worksheets. Currently I am looking to incorporate "The Greatest Miracle" into my curriculum in some form or the other.
Thanks for re-introducing a great website.
1065 Activity Points
Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:50 PM
Hi there. I am currently a student and will start student teaching in the fall. I have seen many different approaches to teaching Genetics to middle school students. Many students are confused with genetics at first, therefore they should have a good solid concept of the topic before starting any in depth genetics project. I have seen a lesson called, "The Genetic Family Tree". One would need to carefully approach this type of assignment, as some students do not have access to their biological family background. Discovery Channel offers a plethora of educational films related to genetics as well.
1145 Activity Points
Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:44 PM
I love the materials from the Utah site and I use several of the lessons in my classes. Another website that has good introductory materials that I use is from the California Foundation for Agriculture and it is called "From Genes to Jeans" and it introduces Punnett squares and has some interesting lessons on inheritance.
Also, you might refer to dnaftb.org I had my students look over some of the lessons (which are set up like PowerPoint slides) and take the on line quizzes for each to review for the test.
And it may seem strange, but for me to fully understand the difference between mitosis and meiosis I needed to use manipulatives. So I took sheets of colored paper and cut them into quarters and bought some yarn that was pre-cut for hook rugs and made packets with 4 cards of the same color and sets of 8 strings, two of each color. (I chose to make the yarn light green and dark green, light blue and dark blue). I have them stack the "cards" of colored paper and place the yarn "chromosomes" in the "nucleus" (the colored paper). Then we go through each process and discuss how the chromosomes make copies and divide to form each type of cell. They also draw sketches in their science notebook of the processes and we compare these with the pictures in the textbook. Many students say it helps them to understand what the pictures mean, that they look at them and are a bit overwhelmed because they do not have practice in interpreting images of processes.
Then they choose a partner with different colored cards and I explain that after meiosis, for sexual reproduction to occur (and I make a point of saying that this is NOT a part of the meiosis process itself) their nuclear material and their partner's nuclear material combine. When it works out, they can see that the new cell that results from "reproduction" has a different combination of "chromosomes" than the parent cells did and we can talk about how sexual reproduction leads to more diversity in the off-spring. I usually model this with a student who has different colored yarn that I do so that I can show other students who had partner with the same colors what would happen (for example, if I used dark blue and green I choose a student partner who used light blue and green and we make nice hybrid offspring). If you make the dark colors dominant, then you can also talk about dominant and recessive but I generally stop with just the difference between asexual and sexual reproduction with my 8th graders the first time and do dominant/recessive in another lesson later.
65550 Activity Points
Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:26 PM
Hi Thread participants and Alex,
I will ditto the Utah Genetics site as a marvelous one for great activities and information. My students really enjoy the Click and Clonewith Mimi Mouse. I must try out the site that Serena, Adah and Bob all mentioned next! Thank you. Alex, it is very easy to spool DNA from a strawberry. If you haven't tried it, it is usually a big hit with the students. It helps them to make a connection between genes, cells and DNA.
Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:12 PM
also if your kids will ike the who dunnit part with the genetics too.
465 Activity Points
Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:30 PM
Thank you for that site, Heidi. You are right, my students loved the interactive problem solving aspects.
Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:48 PM
Hi everyone. This is my first time using the learning center. I am so amazed by all the wonderful lessons that everyone has posted. I can't wait to try them out. Thanks for sharing:)
220 Activity Points
Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:04 PM
Welcome to the discussion forum threads, Lauren. It will be great to hear what activities you decide to use and how they go this fall. Please come back often and feel free to share!
Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:58 AM
How about an activity called "Beautiful Baby"?
Basically it's an activity for Punnett Square practice. You designate genotypes of two parents, and then flip coins to determine what genes the child gets. I don't have an electronic copy of this file though but the activity itself shouldn't be too hard to make.
I do, however, have copies of Punnett Square challenges - students try to work alone or with one other person in a pair and solve various problems from 'easy' to 'hard.' It gives them practice with identifying homozygous, heterozygous and coming up with genotypes and phenotypes based on the information given. I've also attached some notes that I have them complete in class so that they are prepared for future quizzes!
Punnet_Square_Challenge.doc (0.03 Mb)
4055 Activity Points
Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:59 AM
Here's the notes, sorry about that
Genetics_and_Punnett_Squares_Notes_#1.doc (0.57 Mb)
Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:10 AM
My students are having lots of trouble with the terminology in this. Heterozygous vs homozygous, genotype vs phenotype, dominant/recessive. anyone have any good vocab activities here?
3760 Activity Points
Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:10 AM
here is a baby lab similar to what Loren was talking about.
Baby_Lab.pdf (1.33 Mb)
Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:44 PM
You are very smart in asking for help and not trying to "recreate the wheel"! One website I frequent a lot is www.explorebiology.com. Under 'Regents Biology' you will find pdf worksheets, handouts and labs you can use. I use the worksheets and there is even a teacher section for the answer keys- email me at email@example.com if you would like the teacher log in info. Hope this helps!
3020 Activity Points
Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:04 PM
Alex and all,
I am new to the forums, but wanted to share a genetics lesson plan option for fellow Life Science Teachers on the Big Island of Hawaii. While participating in the LSI course (Life Science Investigations) we did several genetic activities similar to what was listed below. What was so fantastic for our students was to take them to the Pana`eawa Rainforest Zoo for a culminating formative/summative assessment using the zoo as the vehicle to have the students demonstrate their learning in a real world environment. We were escorted by docents around the various areas of the zoo, and the students had clipboards and worksheets where they completed "sleuth" activities to figure out questions. For genetics, the students were given background information on Namaste' our local white tiger celebrity. The students really seemed to enjoy the trip and the genetics concepts were cemented in a scenario that stuck with the students. I can ask my students Punnet Square questions to this day and they will always bring up white versus orange tigers. Just a thought...........
2690 Activity Points
Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:51 AM
Hi there Alex!
I too am currently teaching the genetics/heredity standards (which by the way is my most favorite part of the year). There are TONS of ideas on the web as long as you have the time to sit for several hours with a cup of coffee and just "cruise" the web. They have really great ideas that you can either use in-tact or put together yourself. I currently teach 7th grade as well and often my co-7th grade teacher and I often chit chat and share ideas...often leading to me "borrowing" his. He gets a lot of great, fun, ideas simply from the internet but often creates his own by using some parts that he sees from the internet. Prior to him sharing this with me, I got a lot of my "tools" from others and/or simply be developing my own. Since, I now go straight to the internet for ideas as well as to just stir some creative juices at times. DiscoveryEd, youtube and teachertube are often great resources to check out at well.
4085 Activity Points
Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:05 AM
I am currently teaching genetics right now in Biology and the students are comprehending about 75% of the material we are covering. I am an old-school teacher that has lots of notes and worksheets. But I try to incorporate fun activities we can do with yarn, and candy and stuff like that. I would like to be able to show more videos and such, but that will have to wait until I find a projector that works with my laptop. I do genetics right after the mitosis and meiosis unit. We start off with Mendel and go over Punnett squares many times. The kids seem to like them...I liked them when I had Biology. We do Punnett squares about three times and I will be trying the Crazy Traits activity I found on this forum. I altered it a little so that they have the characteristic they are observing, but they decide what the dominant trait will be (round head) versus the recessive trait (square head). I hope they understand the directions. I will report what the outcome of the activity is as soon as we are done. Maybe I can scan some of the pictures they draw and put them here.
3305 Activity Points
Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:39 PM
I agree there is a ton of stuff you can find on the web. I teach my genetics unit coming right out of mitosis and meiosis so there is some connection between the cell biology and function. I usually start by introducing traits and do labs in class where students identify traits and survey their classmates. A bunch of traits can be found on line. This usually leads them into Dominant vs. Recessive and eventually into punnet squares. There is just a bunch of stuff that can be found on the forum or just on the web to fill in the blanks.
990 Activity Points
Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:15 PM
Thank you to all the teachers for sharing such wonderful resources. After teaching genetics I was thinking of going into bio ethics. I found the following website with lessons http://www.nwabr.org/curriculum/bioethics-101. After trying it I'll keep you up to date on ow it goes.
2125 Activity Points
Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:39 AM
Most of the stuff that I use comes from this site:
and I have a few on my website
80 Activity Points
Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:47 AM
I am currently reviewing genetics with my 8th graders and have found that they struggle with the abstract. After great deliberation I created a life size punnet square in the hall outside my classroom door. My students then become the alleles and the offspring genotypes. They can now do punnet squares hands on giving them a better "feel" for the concepts.
915 Activity Points
Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:07 AM
Thank you so much for posting the website with the hands on activities. I teach Special Education so have a harder time keeping students engaged. This site gave me some fabulous ideas on what I could do in the classroom. I was so excited I even emailed my fellow teachers to share the site with them.
Thank you again
690 Activity Points
Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:56 PM
Here are some websites that I use for the Genetics Unit. As you've gotten some replies with this site already, I frequently do use the nClark WebSite which the link is below...
However, I think some students know about this web site, so if you are planning on using the worksheets from here, you might want to make the assignment due in-class and don't assign them as take-home homework.
Another website is the Biology Corner, which I beleive is owned by a teacher and used for his/her classroom. The link to that below.
This website also has PowerPoints, labs, and simple activities that you can do with your students within the classroom. Another point that is encouraging is that this teacher also has her AP Biology materials on the web site (which also includes the Genetics section). Some of the activities in the AP Biology section are not too difficult so you can use them for your regular level Biology courses as well. For short-in-class activities in genetics and other topics, I grab materials from here.
However, my favorite resource to go when I need to do Genetics activities is this link below.
Many of the lesson plans, activities, labs, etc, are made professionally and very interactive. For example, they have a hands-on activity for making a structure of DNA, Chromosomal Mutation activities, Socks experiment where you use socks to demonstrate Mitosis and Meiosis, students act out transcription/translation, and a great deal of other hands-on activities to do within in the classroom. They also have professionally done worksheets, and step-by-step- lesson plans for many Geneitcs lessons.
Here is another one that a teacher I know at UH was passing around to see if the lesson would work well in High Schools here (Hawaii).
It's a lab that provides step-by-step directions for students, as well as how to setup the lab for teachers.
220 Activity Points
Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:14 PM
The resources here are terrific and I plan to use some of them in my own class!
A lot of my students already have record of their family pedigrees, which is awesome.
Based on the students' pedigree, some of the topics that they discuss are: dominant/recessive alleles, codominance, inheritance, genetics, Mendel's genetics, phenotype, genotype.
They then have time to think and research traits that are dominant and recessive, and relate those traits to themselves.
From there, I have the students choose one trait (or two) traits and have them 'backtrack' to the origin of the trait, as far as they can go.
Good discussion topics from this are:
Why do you think cats have such different fur patterns?
Why do traits appears and disappear throughout your family line?
Where did your trait originate from? What ethnicity?
What traits do you think are dominant/recessive/codominant and why?
When thinking of the health industry (or your own personal health) why is understanding genetics so important?
Have students research and report a real genetic disorder.
Have a professional genetic counselor talk to the students.
Future possibilities through understanding genetics.
1060 Activity Points
Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:48 PM
This is a great thread, and I'm sad I didn't catch it beforehand when I was teaching heredity and genetics a few weeks ago. I second Learn.Genetics, and Sciencespot.net's Spongebob Bikini Bottom genetics worksheets! When starting with something difficult like this, it always helps to start off with their background knowledge first. I introduced it with a picture prompt of my family, and my best friend's family, and posed the question: "Why don't offspring always look just like their parents?" Then, they observed another picture of a mother cat and kitten, and they had to predict traits of the father cat. Once they get going with their discussions, it's easy to incorporate the academic vocabulary.
Something that really works for me with academic vocabulary is teaching them how to break the terms down into its root words. When they realize they can learn the definitions by looking at root words, it doesn't seem so intimidating to them anymore.
Another interesting online genetics game: "Thingdom" http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami/thingdom.aspx
4915 Activity Points
Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:33 PM
I am teaching grades 9-12 Biology and used a lot of materials on the web which are recommended by many teachers here. I read something new in this message thread which I could use for my ELL and SpEd students. Thanks.
3120 Activity Points
Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:36 PM
I was wondering if anyone has ever tried to do the “Collect your own Drosophila Lab” (link: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEPC/WWC/1994/collect.php). I have done some fruit fly research before becoming a teacher and am aware of the different phenotypes that are readily visible with a dissecting scope. I think it sounds really awesome, very applicable to real research being done, and working with live specimen always intrigues the students. I was wondering if people have been successful with this lab. Does anyone have recommendations on which traits to look for within the population? Does anyone know if the curly/straight wing phenotype exists within a natural population? Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
550 Activity Points
Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:08 AM
I just finished Meiosis topic in class. One of the activities was to model meiosis using strips of papers of different colors, strings and paper clips. At each step of the process, students were told to take pictures of their model using their cellphones or any digital camera. When all steps were done, they use their photos to make Powerpoint presentation, which included narration/ description of the stages of meiosis. Students like using their phones and it is a a good way to incorporate technology in their learning.
Next week we will start the Genetics part. In the past I asked students to make a family pedigree poster and I think I will start the topic with this as a starting point for discussion and going into the details of the topic.
Thank you for the websites and lessons suggested here and I will surely use some of those which I have not used before.
Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:53 AM
Would you like them to see DNA? Strawberries are very easy to extract large amounts of DNA from. There are many protocols for this online. I am sharing one from Science Buddies that uses all household materials: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_...ml#summary
10525 Activity Points
Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:21 AM
I currently teach genetics by starting with the Reebops lab. http://cbe.wisc.edu/assets/docs/pdf/reebops/reebops.pdf We then transition into basics of genetics and Punnett Squares mothered are many variations of the original plan plus PPT's that go into more depth. My students go on to mate their Reebops with others.
170 Activity Points
Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:08 AM
Someone asked about how to help their students remember the difference between heterozygous and homozygous...
I ask my students to think of other words that start with the prefix homo- and they quickly come up with homosexual. Then we talk about how homosexuals like people who are the same sex as they are, so homo- must mean "the same." And then heterosexuals like people who are a different sex then they are, so hetero- means "different." Since they are so familiar with the root prefixes in this context, they rarely mix them up after this quick discussion.
Hope this works for you too!
1235 Activity Points
Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:05 PM
Here is a nice lesson from the HHMI
The Making of the Fittest: Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture
Follow human geneticist Spencer Wells, Director of the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults, tracing the origin of the trait to less than 10,000 years ago, a time when some human populations started domesticating animals.
68485 Activity Points
Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:11 PM
Here is a second lesson from HHMI
Diet and the Evolution of Salivary Amylase
Students explore the effects of different diets on the evolution of an enzyme that breaks down starch.
Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:17 PM
Color Variation Over Time in Rock Pocket Mouse Populations
A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time.
Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:28 PM
Check out the Darwin's Game activity on discovery health. The students really like it and it's a good introduction on selection.
28090 Activity Points
Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:09 PM
While not an activity this was really interesting
Only two genes maketh the man... or mouse
Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:14 PM
I use several different inquiry activities to help students understand genetics.
1. Is a PBS Secrets of the Dead episode that has great cross-curricular potential.
2. Is entitled Bloodline and uses an episode of the Ghost Whisperer to talk about non-Mendelian genetics. The NSF has a significant amount of case studies for genetics.
3. Finally one of my favorite books by NSTA Press is entitled Garden Genetics.
95 Activity Points
Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:19 PM
I have taught genetics several times now, and I love these lesson ideas! Everyone has posted some great materials!
I apologize if I repeat anything, but here are some that I use. I do teach high school, but most of my classes are inclusion classes so I imagine it might work for 7th grade too.
PTC paper - Students react differently to the taste of this paper based on their genetics. Some will taste a strong bitter taste, some will taste a little bit, and some won't taste anything. It always gets a great reaction, and it only takes about 10 minutes out of your time!
Human genetics lab - Students pick a partner and make a hypothetical "baby" with them. I create a genotype key with some simple human traits. Students then figure out the genotypes of themselves and their partners and do punnet squares to find what their "baby" would look like.
Genetics survey - Students have to ask 10 people about their basic dominant/recessive traits. Then, in class we make graphs to show how many people are dominant or recessive in our school.
170 Activity Points
Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:05 PM
I will be starting genetics after Christmas. There are some really great links here that I had not found before. I really like the Crazy Gene activity. It is definitely one I will be doing this year.
14015 Activity Points
Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:22 PM
Thomas and Sally
The Interplay of Scientific and Historical Evidence
Did Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, have children with his slave Sally Hemings? This PowerPoint clicker case explores this controversial question as students consider the evidence for Jefferson as the father of Eston Hemings, as well as the limitations of that evidence. In the process, students learn about Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA and how they are passed down through generations. They also learn about the role of genetic tests in examining family lineages. In addition, the case serves to illustrate how science cannot always provide a direct and definitive answer and how conclusions often must be based on a mixture of scientific and historical (or other) evidence. The case was designed for an introductory biology course for non-majors but could easily be adapted for a majors' course or for the introductory portion of a genetics course. Students should have some prior knowledge of chromosomes and hereditability.
Understand the concept that Y chromosomal DNA can only be passed between male lineages.
Explain that mitochondrial DNA is passed solely from mother to offspring.
Explain the role of genetic tests when examining family lineages.
Analyze and interpret family pedigrees.
Explore the concept of scientific evidence within a larger social context that includes attitudes and other forms of evidence.
Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:43 PM
I find that my students gain a lot from seeing DNA. I'm attaching the Strawberry DNA extracting lab. There's something awe inspiring for students that when they realize all that comes from the DNA.
Strawberry_DNA_Lab.pdf (0.07 Mb)
Strawberry_DNA_Extraction.pdf (0.07 Mb)
1035 Activity Points
Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:16 AM
Yes. This is a great lab experience for our students. We just did a DNA extraction from strawberries this week. It is virtually fool-proof and you always get lots of DNA (and student excitement!)
Thanks for sharing these protocols.
10525 Activity Points
Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:26 PM
I do this lab with my students when I teach genetics. It's called Click and Clone and allows students to clone their very own virtual mouse. It's great to teach stem cells as well as DNA. My students go nuts for this, and can't believe how much they learn from it!
910 Activity Points
Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:20 AM
One thing that I think would be really cool for 7th graders to do for genetics would be a "build an alien" project. I remember doing a "draw an alien" assignment in middle school in which basically your students roll die and follow a worksheet to determine their alien's traits. For my assignment I had to just draw the alien, but I think it would be cool to have your students create a 3D model.
The number they rolled on the die would tell them which trait their alien had.
The worksheet would have two columns of traits, for example: Even # Odd #
brown eyes blue eyes
pink skin orange skin
round head oval head
And then the students have to build an alien with those traits and create the phenotype and genotype tables that correspond to each trait and explain the possible circumstances that could have led to their alien having certain traits. For example, it is possible for the alien to have orange skin if the mother and father aliens both have pink skin because... etc.
1775 Activity Points
Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:54 PM
I really like that idea! I like how you make an alien instead of a human. When I was in middle school, we had to do a "make a baby lab" which was pretty awkward for middle schoolers. The alien would be really fun! To teach variation, I do a similar lab, but with making a fish. That way, we can talk about dominant, recessive, and codominant alleles. My students love it!
910 Activity Points
Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:16 AM
Wow! There are so many great ideas and resources here for genetics activities! I find genetics so fascinating! I know I will teach it in my classroom eventually so it is important to have some great resources and information. I've saved various of these ideas and websites. Thanks to everyone!
665 Activity Points
Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:05 AM
I am planning on having my students build a DNA double helix structure using cheese puffs, marsh-mellows, string, and toothpicks to build the model. I think it would be neat to give students the opportunity to decide what they want to use each of these objects for in their DNA molecule. They can create a legend and give an explanation for why they chose to use those learning materials the way that they used them.
Has anyone else built a DNA molecule before? What resources did your students use?
1385 Activity Points
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