Who do you look like?

Michele Beitel
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
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.



During this lesson students begin to investigate similarities and differences between parents and their children.  After working through an example with the teacher, students gather observations from photographs of each other’s families.  They use these observations as evidence to support the explanation that children look similar, but not exactly like, their parents.  

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Grade 1
Access Restrictions

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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
This is a great first grade introductory lesson for a unit around Heredity. As a kick-off, this activity allows students to explore to the phenomenon of similarities and differences in appearance, while also connecting to their immediate experiences. In order to fully address this Performance Expectation, teachers will need to develop further exploration around the similarities and differences between parents and their offspring (both plants and animals).

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 observe patterns in the photographs of their families to gather the evidence needed to explain how their appearance is similar to that of their parents.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
In order to fully address this Disciplinary Core Idea, teachers will need to expand students’ experience outside of their own families to other animal families. After exploring many animals to gather evidence to support their explanation, they will also need to explore this relationship in plants. This bridge beyond exploring humans will also be helpful in third grade, when students continue their work on this Disciplinary Core Idea, and the focus is explicitly regarding non-humans.

Crosscutting Concepts

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

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
During this lesson, students will look for patterns in appearance from parents to their children. These patterns will later be used as evidence to begin constructing an explanation for how their appearance relates to that of their parents.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson provides rich opportunity for students to engage in 3-dimensional learning. It integrates the Practice of constructing explanations with the Crosscutting Concept of patterns and the component of the Disciplinary Core Idea around heredity. The lesson supports students as they begin to engage with the phenomenon of parent and offspring appearance. Alignment could be improved if teachers build in more explicit focus around the phenomenon of inheritance. Teachers could then use students’ questions around this phenomenon to drive subsequent lessons and develop stronger coherence.

  • Instructional Supports: The open-ended nature of this lesson will naturally allow for a great deal of differentiation, but teachers will need to plan ahead for those opportunities. For example, if a student does not know their biological parents, that could create an issue for inclusivity. However, there is a built-in opportunity for extension during the ‘Elaborate’ section where teachers can press students to look for further detail using mirrors.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Teachers will need to build in a component to monitor student progress. At this point, it would be appropriate to ask students some quick questions on an exit slip about how they think this might apply to other animals, or to have them develop a list of questions or potential investigations. All of these options would provide an opportunity to begin gauging students’ initial conceptions around heredity.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: N/A