Investigation: Modeling Heredity with Popsicle Sticks

In this activity, you will use popsicle sticks to model the process of gamete formation and the combining of sperm and egg to create offspring. Results of the simulation can then be compared to Punnet square expected results.

Popsicles should be made in advance, the set contains a male and female set with the genotypes Hh and hh.  When students perform the “crosses,” they can visualize the Principle of Segregation.  Each zygote produced has a 50% chance of receiving and H allele and a 50% chance of an h allele.  

The female’s gametes are also assorted, though students quickly figure out that they only need to choose from among the male gametes, since she is homozygous recessive.

Students also show a Punnett square of the cross and compare their expected values with the actual values they got from choosing the gametes randomly.

Grade Level:  7-10
Time Required:  15-25 minutes

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