Resources for Teaching Genetics

Genetics includes the study of heredity, or how traits are passed from parents to offspring.   The topics of genetics vary and are constantly changing as we learn more about the genome and how we are influenced by our genes.

rabbitInheritance Patterns and Punnett Squares

Heredity Simulation – use popsicle sticks to show how alleles are inherited

Penny Genetics – flip a coin to compare actual outcomes versus predicted outcomes from a punnett square

Heredity Wordsearch – fill in the blank, find the words on a puzzle, basic vocabulary

Simple Genetics Practice – using mendelian genetics and Punnett squares

Bunny Genetic Crosses with two traits – basic crosses, uses Punnett squares

Practice Punnett Squares with Skinny Pigs – hairless guinea pigs are the result of a recessive gene (Key, TpT)

Horse Genetics – basic practice worksheet on monohybrid and dihybrid crosses, using a gait trait found in horses

Fruit Fly Genetics (Vg) – practice worksheet on vestigial wing flies (recessive trait)

Genetics Practice Problems – crosses involving guinea pigs, goats, and pea plants; monohybrid and dihybrid crosses

Blood Disorder Genetics – a worksheet with genetics problems that relate to specific disorders:  sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and Von Willebrand disease.

Variations on a Human Face – toss a penny to determine the features of a face, such as freckles, dimples; then draw that face.

Paper Pets – another simulation using paper models with traits for eyes, nose, mouth, and hair.

calico catCodominance and Multiple Alleles

Codominance and Incomplete Dominance – practice genetics on roan cows and pink flowers

Fruit Flies and X-Linked Traits –  practice crosses that involve sex-linkage; fruit flies and calico cats

Calico Cats and X Linked Traits – more practice with sex-linked traits, see also advanced version that goes into tortoiseshell vs calico

Blood Type Genetics – practice with blood type crosses and other ABO type alleles, multiple allele traits

Multiple Allele Traits in Chickens – shows how combs are inherited (rrpp x RRpp)

How Do Genes Determine Skin Color? – this case study uses presentation slides to explore a real-life scenario where a Nigerian mother has two very fair skinned children.  

Why Are There No Male Calico Cats – case study and slide presentation that explore X inactivation and coat color in cats

Design-a-Species – using the rules of inheritance (mendel), create an organism; with dominant and recessive traits, multiple allele traits, and codominance

cornGenetics and Statistics

Hardy-Weinberg Problem Set – statistical analysis, using HW equation and some dragons

Hardy Weinberg Simulation – track an allele in population by simulating how parents pass alleles to offspring

Corn Genetics and Chi Square – statistical analysis, using preserved corn and counting kernels

Albino Corn Genetics – grow corn, 3:1 albino ratio, lab report analyzes F1, F2 crosses

Chi Square Modeling Using Candy  – count the number of each color in a bag to determine if they occur in equal proportions

Drosophila Virtual Lab – choose fruit fly parents and analyze offspring in this virtual lab


Meiosis Label – look at cells in various stages of meiosis, identify and order

How to Interpret a Karyotype – examines images of human karyotypes to identify disorders

Meiosis Internet Lesson – look at animations of meiosis and answer questions

Modeling Chromosomal Inheritance – use pipe cleaners to show how genes are inherited; independent assortment, segregation, sex-linkage

Linkage Group Simulation – uses pipe cleaners and beads, students construct chromosomes with alleles and perform crosses, predicting outcomes (advanced)

Karyotyping Online – use a website simulator to learn how to pair chromosomes and diagnose abnormalities

Chromosome Study – cut out chromosomes and tape them in pairs to construct a “paper” karyotype

SRY not SRY – case study on gender and sex chromosomes


Coloring DNA – basic image of DNA and RNA for students to color following directions; includes questions and analysis

DNA Crossword – puzzle to practice basic terms related to DNA

How Can DNA Replication Be Modeled – students use colored paperclips to model how one side of the DNA serves as a template during replication (semi-conservative)

Drosophila and the Homeobox – explore genetic mutations in fruit flies that are associated with Hox genes

Regulatory Switches in the Stickleback – based on an HHMI activity, explores gene expression in fish (Also available as a slide activity)

Gene Regulation in Prokaryotes – focuses on the lac operon and how some genes are repressible

Transcription & Translation Coloring – shows structures involved, nucleotides, base pair rules, amino acids

DNA Analysis: Recombination – simulate DNA recombination using paper slips and sequences

Strawberry DNA Extraction – instructions for extracting DNA from a strawberry, very simple, works every time!

How DNA Controls the Workings of a Cell – examine a DNA sequence, transcribe and translate

DNA Sequencing in Bacteria – website simulates the sequencing of bacterial DNA, PCR techniques

Who Ate The Cheese – simulate gel electrophoresis to solve a crime

HIV Coloring  – shows how viral DNA enters and infects a cell

Genetic Science Ethics – survey as a group ethical questions involved genetics (cloning, gene therapy..)

Your Genes Your Choices – this is a more involved group assignment where groups read scenarios about genetic testing and ethics involved.

Genetic Engineering Concept Map – Complete this graphic organizer on various techniques used in genetics, such as selective breeding and manipulating DNA