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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

Inheritance and Variation of Traits

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings heredity and genetics to life with comics and storyboards.

Make heredity and genetics come to life with comics!

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Teacher Guide

Inheritance and Variation of Traits

Step 1Class discussion with students

There are certain traits that are expressed in humans that vary from person to person. Conduct a quick survey in your class to see how many students have certain specific traits. Discuss why certain traits may have appeared over time, and whether they may have an evolutionary benefit in the future.

Traits such as:

  • Cleft chin vs. No cleft
  • Dangling earlobes vs. Connected
  • Crimped pinky vs. Straight
  • Second toe longest vs. Not longest
  • Pointy ears vs. Non-pointy
  • Widow's peak vs. Straight hair line
  • Gap in front teeth vs. No gap
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Comic
    Mutations

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Punnett Square

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Explore (Extension / Modification)

    Explore how mutations in bacteria are leading to antibiotic resistance.

  • Extension / Modification
    Poster (Extension / Modification)

    Create a Poster informing students of the dangers of mutagens such as the sun or various chemicals.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

A majority of the diseases that humanity has faced are due to genetic mutations, either prior to, or after birth. Build a list of genetic disorders with your class and record them on the board. Each student will pick a genetic disorder to complete a case study on. Diseases that can be explored include:

  • Cancer
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hemophilia
  • Huntington's
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Pixton Activity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits 1 Mutations

Intro

Small changes in the DNA of an organism can cause new genes to be expressed, dramatically changing its fitness. Most of the time, these variations are detrimental to an organism’s fitness, however, changes in the environment may select these for new traits. Mutations are the driving force in the expression of new genes and allow for these new traits to be expressed.

Instructions

Construct a T-Chart comparing the causes, consequences, and types of mutations that can occur.

Your panels should include:

  • A title
  • An appropriate graphic
  • A detailed explanation

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Mutations

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

4 3 2 1
Knowledge Understands scientific facts, procedures, concepts, principals, theories and methods. • demonstrates substantial scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with strong supporting details
• Precise and advanced use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates adequate scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with relevant supporting details
• appropriate use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates limited scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with brief supporting details
• some use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates little scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with weak or no supporting details
• Little to no use of scientific terminoloy
Application Applies scientific knowledge, skills and methods to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. • exceptional application of the scientific method when solving problems
• no errors in carrying out procedure
• accurately applies the scientific method when solving problems
• limited errors in carrying out procedure
• limited application of the scientific method when solving problems
• several errors in carrying out procedure
• does not apply the scientific method when solving problems
• multiple errors in carrying out procedure
Communication Communicates scientific knowledge through writing, speech and visuals. • panels are highly organized with exceptional use of relevant details
• written and visual content is highly effective
• accurate and precise communication of data
• panels are organized with consistent use of relevant details
• written and visual content is accurate and complete
• accurate and consistent communication of data
• panels are organized with few relevant details
• limited written and visual content
• incomplete or brief data communication
• panels are unorganized with little relevant details
• written and visual content is missing
• limited or no communication of data
Total

Example Storyboard

Mutations by Student
Endogenous Cause: Replication ErrorDNA is replicated by a process that is carried out by a number of different enzymes such as DNA primase and ligase. During the replication process, these enzymes may make small errors in the insertion or formation of nucleotides that make up the strand of DNA. Usually, in healthy individuals, larger mutations will be caught by repair enzymes. Exogenous Cause: Radiation/SunlightRadiation can alter the sequence of DNA through the deletion or replacement of nucleotides. Radiation can also create kinks in the DNA which can prevent it from being properly read. The body is constantly trying to repair damaged DNA to prevent cancerous cells from accumulating as a result of these changes. Consequence: AdvantageousMutations can be advantageous and lead to an evolutionary advantage for a certain genotype. A mutation can also remain hidden until a certain time in which the environment changes, and expression is necessary. Advantageous mutations will increase the fitness of an individual making them more likely to survive in their environment. Consequence: DeleteriousMutations can be deleterious, causing diseases such as cancer, developmental delays, structural abnormalities, or other side effects. Deleterious mutations reduce the fitness of the individual, making them harmful to the individual afflicted. Type: Point MutationPoint mutations are often caused by a malfunction in DNA replication, where there is an exchange of a single nucleotide for another. A nucleotide may go through a transition where one purine is exchanged for a different purine. A transversion is when a purine is exchanged with a pyrimidine or vice versa. Type: DeletionA deletion mutation is when one or several nucleotides are deleted from a DNA sequence. Small deletions are less likely to be fatal, whereas large deletions usually result in death. Deletions can also result in sterility or a number of muscular dystrophies.

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Pixton Activity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits 2 Punnett Square

Intro

A Punnett square is a diagram used to predict the outcome of a specific cross of traits during reproduction. The result of a cross will provide the probabilities of a specific trait being expressed in the next generation.

Instructions

Create a Grid illustrating a Punnett square for a dihybrid cross between a double heterozygous with a homozygous recessive and dominant.

The two traits being crossed are size and color.

Each panel should include:

  • The genotypic probability
  • An appropriate illustration

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Punnett Square

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

4 3 2 1
Knowledge Understands scientific facts, procedures, concepts, principals, theories and methods. • demonstrates substantial scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with strong supporting details
• Precise and advanced use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates adequate scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with relevant supporting details
• appropriate use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates limited scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with brief supporting details
• some use of scientific terminology
• demonstrates little scientific knowledge
• ideas are supported with weak or no supporting details
• Little to no use of scientific terminoloy
Application Applies scientific knowledge, skills and methods to hypothesize, analyze and conclude. • exceptional application of the scientific method when solving problems
• no errors in carrying out procedure
• accurately applies the scientific method when solving problems
• limited errors in carrying out procedure
• limited application of the scientific method when solving problems
• several errors in carrying out procedure
• does not apply the scientific method when solving problems
• multiple errors in carrying out procedure
Communication Communicates scientific knowledge through writing, speech and visuals. • panels are highly organized with exceptional use of relevant details
• written and visual content is highly effective
• accurate and precise communication of data
• panels are organized with consistent use of relevant details
• written and visual content is accurate and complete
• accurate and consistent communication of data
• panels are organized with few relevant details
• limited written and visual content
• incomplete or brief data communication
• panels are unorganized with little relevant details
• written and visual content is missing
• limited or no communication of data
Total

Example Comic

Punnett Square by Student

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