Thursday, July 11, 2013

Martian Genetics

I will probably never get around to posting about all the fantastic things that went on in my classroom at the end of the school year. However, as I am updating some files, reworking plans, and uploading a few new things to TpT I wanted to take some time to share about a few things.

Sooo, todays flashback - Martian Genetics!

Teaching genetics is one of my favorite units! I happen to LOVE doing punnet squares and probability, which probably makes me one of the few people who think that way. I have yet to find a student who is quite as excited about genetics as I am but I am hoping that some day it will happen. One of the activities that students have always really enjoyed regardless of how much they have liked or disliked genetics is my "Martian Genetics" activity. This is spin off of the classic Make-a-baby lab where you use coins to flip for traits. I walk students through 3 or more generations of Martians. Students determine their geneotype and phenotype and draw each martian using templates and lots of color. After each generation is created mating season occurs so that the next generation can come along. At the end of the activity students analyze the traits over time and look for patterns. To expand upon this and tie into the following unit on natural selection I will often end with creating a generation or two after some sort of natural disaster that impacts the population. This makes the analysis of population genetics over time much more interesting. The activity is wrapped up with a set of review questions. Throughtout the activity there is alot of discussion about dominance and recessiveness, incomplete dominance, co-dominance, meiosis, independent assortment, etc. I find it is a great review activity! Since it is a bit long I usually will split the activity into two or three sessions - since I work on block scheduling with 90 minute classes I try to do at least three different things during each class so we might do one generation of martians then go on to another activity.

So, I just finished updating this activity and typing out very detailed instructions so that I could post it to TpT. There is a sample file that can be downloaded for free and the complete activity is only $4.00 for the whole 20 page document! Follow this link to my TpT store to check out this awesome activity for your own biology classes!