Investigation: How Can Popsicle Sticks Be Used to Model Heredity?

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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.

1. The image shows a male and female hornmonster, each with different genetic traits. The allele for one horns is dominant over the allele for two horns.

Which hornmonster has the dominant allele?

2. Obtain four popsicle sticks that will represent the chromosomes of your parents. Arrange them so that the male’s set (Hh) is on one side and the female’s set (hh) is on the other side.

*The M1,M2, F1, F2 labels will help you if you get them confused.

3. Flip the sticks over so that you can’t see their labels. Choose one chromosome from the mother pile and another from the father pile. This represents the chromosomes each parent is “donating” to the next generation.

4. Data (Repeat the exchange 8 times to produce 8offspring)

  Genotype (letters) Phenotypes
Offspring 1    
Offspring 2    
Offspring 3    
Offspring 4    
Offspring 5    
Offspring 6    
Offspring 7    
Offspring 8    


5. Math: Determine the PERCENTAGE of offspring from your data table. Show your work.

That have two horns ____________________
That have one horn ____________________

6. Show the cross using a Punnet square. Hh x hh

7. From the cross above, how many have ONE HORN ______ out of 8

How many have TWO HORNS _______ out of 8

8. Compare this number to your simulation (where you flipped the sticks).
Does the punnett square predictions match the results of your crosses?

A. They are exactly the same B. They are close to he same
C. They are very different D. I have no idea

9. What if the female had the genotype Hh?

Show the cross between the new parents Hh x Hh

What percentage has one horn? _____
What percentage has two horns? _____

10. Show the cross if the parents are HH x Hh

What percentage has one horn? _____
What percentage has two horns? _____

Related Activities

Heredity Simulation - Dihybrid Crosses - Same simulation with one trait

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.