Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Area of Science
Genetics & Genomics
Key Concepts
Genetics, heredity of traits
Learning Objectives
  • Simulate genetic transmission from parents to their offspring using a model.
  • Describe how genetic variation is caused by sexual reproduction.
  • Explain the connection between an organism's genotype and phenotype.
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies

Overview

In this lesson, students will model how traits are passed on from parents to their offspring by creating baby aliens based on their parents' traits. As students compare the physical features of their alien families, they will be able to make the connection between an organism's genotype and phenotype. Students will also learn the difference between dominant and recessive traits.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS3-2. Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Developing and Using Models. Develop and use a model to describe phenomena.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms. Organisms reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and transfer their genetic information to their offspring.

LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits. Variations of inherited traits between parents and offspring arise from genetic differences that result from the subset of chromosomes (and therefore genes) inherited.

LS3.B: Variation of Traits. In sexually reproducing organisms, each parent contributes half of the genes acquired (at random) by the offspring. Individuals have two of each chromosome and hence two alleles of each gene, one acquired from each parent. These versions may be identical or may differ from each other.
Cause and Effect. Cause-and-effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems.

Materials


Materials needed for the lesson 'Investigate Alien Genetics'

For teacher:

For each student:

  • Printout of the Alien Genotype Table and Alien Phenotype Table
  • Construction paper, different colors (orange and green must be included)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Markers, crayons, or coloring pens
  • Pencils
  • Two coins

You can also let students draw their alien babies instead of building them from construction paper. In this case, the construction paper, scissors, tape, and glue are not necessary.

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 30 minutes
Area of Science
Genetics & Genomics
Key Concepts
Genetics, heredity of traits
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Learning Objectives
  • Simulate genetic transmission from parents to their offspring using a model.
  • Describe how genetic variation is caused by sexual reproduction.
  • Explain the connection between an organism's genotype and phenotype.
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