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A Look in the Mirror

written by: Kathy Foust•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/27/2009

This introductory genetics lesson plan to begin instructing your students on genetics. This genetics lesson plan is the first in a series that will narrow in focus as it goes along.

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    This genetics lesson plan is a simple introductory activity that allows students to use their own traits to develop interest in genetics. To complete the activity portion of this lesson plan, follow the instructions listed below.

    Ask students to take out a sheet of paper and a pencil. On the left side of the paper they should write the following list.

    • Height
    • Eyes
    • Skin Tone
    • Body Shape
    • Hair Color
    • Hand Shape
    • Foot Shape
    • Nose
    • Mouth
    • Teeth
    • Forehead

    After each word, students need to write a brief description of each characteristic listed. In other words, the students will be describing themselves piece by piece. Allow students 10-15 minutes to finish this portion of the activity. Once they have finished this, ask students to write the letter "M" for Mother or "F" for Father next to each description. If neither parent fits the description then students can write the letter "O" for other.

    After students have finished filling out their papers, discuss the results with students. Point out any excessive commonalities such as the fact that students who have a parent with browns eyes also tend to have brown eyes. Explain to students that finding out exactly where their traits come from is actually a matter of tracing their genetics.

    Give students a brief idea of what genetics is and ask them if they are familiar with the term. This may start a general discussion on topics such as cloning. Allow the discussion to continue and allow students to voice their opinion. Genetics lessons can be difficult and even tedious for some students. The entire point of this lesson plan is to create some interest about genetics in your science students.

    Point out to students that some genetic traits are stronger than others and ask students if they notice any dominant traits on their family such as the majority of the family having the same eye color or hair color. Have fun with this project and encourage your students to!