Variations on a Human Face

thumbnailStudents use coins to simulate how alleles separate during meiosis.  One student plays the father, and one plays the mother, a coin flip then determines the traits of their theoretical offspring.   Multiple coin flips are used to simulate polygenetic traits, such as hair color and eye color.  Students get a sense of how genes separate during the formation of egg and sperm and then recombine during the formation a zygote.

Finally, students construct a drawing of their simulated offspring and answer questions regarding Mendelian genetics.

Grade level:  8-12  |  Time required:  1-1.5 hours

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HS-LS3-3 Apply concepts of statistics and probability to explain the variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population


  1. David Buckingham
  2. Paula
  3. smuskopf

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