Monday, February 11, 2008

Who do you look like?

Last week, we restarted our co-op from last year with Ms. S and her 2 daughters. We are scheduling most of our studies around exhibits coming to our local museums. For this first study, we were preparing for a visit to our museum which is hosting an exhibit called Genome: The Secret of How Life Works.

Genetics is probably my favorite branch of science. But, trying to figure out how to teach it to young elementary students was quite a challenge! I started with a book called Grandfather's Nose: Why We Look Alike or Different. I actually only read about half of it. Then, I read Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Pea. During both books, I'd stop and explain some of the more difficult material.

Then, we went to the dry erase board and I taught more about dominant and recessive genes and what happens when you cross something like a tall plant with a short plant, or TT x tt (you get all Tt) or if you cross hybrid tall with a hybrid tall, Tt x Tt (you get TT, Tt, Tt, and tt). We even did some Punnett Squares!

The girls were really catching on so we moved to a cute person activitiy that I found at

Science Kids at Home. You actually flip a coin to get various dominant and recessive genes to find out what mom (Ms. S) and dad (me) look like. Then, we flipped coins to see what each of the 3 girls looked like. (We could have cut out a face shape and cut the pieces out better, but I was wanting to move a little more quickly.) Nice face, huh?

We'll be meeting twice a month and I'll be covering more about genetics at our next meeting. Then, we'll be going to the museum exhibit together.


Marjorie said...

What a neat project! We have been running into so much 'genetics' this semester I've decided to spend some time concentrating on the topic. In fact, I have The Friar Who Grew Peas waiting for me at the library:-) I will have to check out some of the other books and try the face idea. Have you extracted DNA from lentils/peas? It is easy and one of our favorite projects. I have a link on my post about sponges - I think. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We had so much fun learning about genetics with you! I'm so glad that we are co-oping again. :-)
Ms. S

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