Investigating Reproductive Strategies

University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Experiment/Lab 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.


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Most Recent Review

4 Fun activity

This lesson is great for for small classroom settings and bigger classroom settings. It is a great, "sorting activity" to have self contained students complete after learning about the differences in reproductive strategies. It also serves as a great inquiry activity for bigger classrooms to see any misconceptions they may have about reproductive strategies.


Students work in pairs to compare five aspects of an organism that reproduces sexually, asexually, or both sexually and asexually. The activity comes with a chart for the students to fill out and with information sheets on twelve organisms. As a class, students share their comparisons and generate a list of general characteristics for each mode of reproduction and then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both. Included in the discussion are reproductive mechanisms and genetic variation.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Middle School
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
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 practice can be used at the beginning of the unit to introduce asexual and sexual reproduction or as an extension to delve more deeply into reproductive strategies. Information sheets and reference lists are used to determine reproductive strategies and the advantage and disadvantage of both. The lesson also addresses the reasoning behind variety and the lack of variety in these two reproductive strategies.Even though the performance expectation is well developed within the framework of the standard, it seems important to give the learner additional time for more research. The accompanying material does not have enough information to fully understand the parameters of comparing asexual and sexual reproduction needed fill in the charts provided. This can be accomplished through additional internet research of their individual organism.

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
In pairs, the learners compile a comparison chart of their 2 organisms, one that reproduces sexually and one that either reproduces asexually or uses both reproductive strategies. The class takes a tour of all the pairs charts, noting the characteristics for each of the reproductive strategies. As a class, the learners discuss and compile the general characteristics for organisms that use each reproductive strategies. Finally, using scientific reasoning, the learners will create an argument for the advantages and disadvantages of all forms of reproduction.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The lesson assumes the students have already learned the processes of mitosis (cell division), meiosis and fertilization. Teacher should have a quick review of these basic processes to understand the "Reproductive Strategy" information cards provided.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
In the follow-up discussion and oral presentation, the teacher must guide the learner to identify the reproductive strategy as the cause and examine the resulting genetic phenomena in both asexual and sexual reproduction. Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns as a method of identifying cause and effect relationships. For example, students take their individual information about specific organisms and arrange it into charts. Then through a "Gallery Walk" the students compile information from the charts to identify patterns of reproductive strategies.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Elements of the disciplinary core are significantly addressed. Use of the lesson provides an opportunity to use reference material to develop an understanding of reproductive strategies and the crosscutting concept of patterns can be used to describe cause and affect relationship. Grade‐appropriate elements of the science and engineering practice(s), disciplinary core idea(s), and crosscutting concept(s), work together to support students in three‐dimensional learning.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson is limited in providing the basics of students’ prior knowledge. The lesson does develop a deeper understanding of the practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Formative assessments of three‐ dimensional learning are embedded throughout the instruction.The lesson provides a method for monitoring student progress. Student monitoring is both oral, through discussion and written through individually and group presentations. Students share their finding on the reproductive strategies of their organisms with the class. The teacher can check for understanding and student progress at this point. The follow up discussion will further develop the cause and effect relationships.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: A source of technology could be accomplished by increasing research on computers or tablets.