Chip Off the Old Block

Discovery Education/Siemens Science Day
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity
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.



In this lesson students compare adult plants with young plants and then match pictures of adult animals with their young. They then are asked to identify specific physical traits of plants and animals that can be used to identify them. Note: The Parent/Offspring photo collection on page three incorrectly states the offspring of a horse is a pony.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

1-LS3-1 Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns could include features plants or animals share. Examples of observations could include leaves from the same kind of plant are the same shape but can differ in size; and, a particular breed of dog looks like its parents but is not exactly the same.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include inheritance or animals that undergo metamorphosis or hybrids.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Using the Warm-up Activity is an important part of the overall lesson. It is here key vocabulary can be learned and practiced. Students have an opportunity to engage in the phenomena of observing and identifying inheritance of traits.

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
Students share findings with the class by describing the parent and child they have identified as sharing the common physical features. Later in the lesson, students repeat this activity using the animal pictures and share both common physical features and differences identified. The Extension Activity provides students an opportunity to apply this experience to observation of plants.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students might be asked draw a picture of their future offspring illustrating specific traits that might be passed down to their child(ren). An alternative drawing suggested is a drawing of an animal of choice (maybe a pet).

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The teacher may through classroom discourse guide students to identify those traits that are commonly passed from parent to offspring.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lesson and activities contain grade-appropriate elements to develop and use specific elements of the practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena.

  • Instructional Supports: The lesson provides guidance for teachers to support differentiated instruction in the classroom so that every student’s needs are addressed by including suggestions for how to connect instruction to the students' home, neighborhood, community and/or culture as appropriate.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Formative assessments of three-dimensional learning are embedded throughout the instruction.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -