Dragon Genetics – Understanding Inheritance

Contributor
Serendip Studio, Ingrid Waldron
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This activity allows students to simulate the processes of meiosis and fertilization as they investigate the inheritance of multiple genes. The simulation also allows the student to see the  cause and effect relationship of gene transmission from parents to offspring and resulting genetic variation. Students use their understanding of dominant and recessive alleles, incomplete dominance, and sex-linked inheritance to interpret the results of the simulation. This activity can be used as a culminating activity within a unit on classical genetics, and it can serve as formative assessment to identify any areas of confusion that still remain and require additional learning experiences.

 

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Middle School
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

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.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using models such as Punnett squares, diagrams, and simulations to describe the cause and effect relationship of gene transmission from parent(s) to offspring and resulting genetic variation.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This activity can be used as a culminating activity after you have introduced sexual reproduction, chromosomes, and meiosis. It can serve as formative assessment to identify any areas that require additional clarification on variation in sexual reproduction.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This simulation allows students to model the processes of meiosis and fertilization as they investigate the inheritance of multiple genes for nine different traits. This modeling allows them to use their understanding of concepts to see a direct relationship between the chromosomes from each parent and the resulting variety of traits. Whole class discussions needs to include comparison of each team’s dragon and how the random distribution of chromosomes leads to many variations even when there are only 9 different dragon traits. This can be accomplished by sharing each team’s data in a “Gallery Walk”. The facilitator should also make a connection between the dragon’s nine genes as compared to the over 20,000 human genes through the socratic questioning technique.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This simulation uses random set of alleles from two dragon parents that code for nine traits on three chromosome pairs. Through the modeling students are able to visualize the wide range of variety that results from this random distribution of alleles. The questions provided probe for how random distribution of alleles results from meiosis and how they are then joined together in fertilization.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This resource helps students see a definite relationship between parents' genetic traits and the variety of traits found in their offspring due to the processes of meiosis and fertilization in sexual reproduction.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: There is a strong correlation of the three dimensions of NGSS. However, the resource only addresses sexual reproduction not asexual reproduction, with a total alignment of the fact that sexual reproduction provides variety. This lesson provides an opportunity for hands-on exploration of the performance expectation and the crosscutting concept of patterns, which can be used to describe cause and effect relationship. Grade‐appropriate elements of the science and engineering practice, disciplinary core idea, and crosscutting concept, work together to support students in three‐dimensional learning.

  • Instructional Supports: The activity engages students in the practices that work together with disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts to support students in making sense of genetic variation in sexual reproduction. The resource provides guidance in facilitating the lesson as well as providing links to resources for basic genetic information. Though working with a partner and explaining their thinking when responding to questions provided, students have multiple opportunities to express and clarify their ideas. This activity should be thought of as a cumulative lesson or can be developed into a Project Based Unit.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Formative assessments of three-dimensional learning are embedded throughout the instruction. Extensions and enrichment to the basic lesson are provided to extend the learning.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -