G3_Inherited Traits

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Plants and Animals Inherit Traits Why Do I L ook like My Mom and Dad? STEM

Next Generation Science

Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits 3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

L esson Anchor

Explore the Phenomenon! Engage!

Crossing Bunnies How is it that some bunnies can be born white and others can be brown, gray or spotted? How is it that some bunnies are born with straight ears and some have floppy lop ears? What determines which traits a baby bunny is born with? Explain the phenomenon: What determines the traits that offspring are born with?

Explain what you think determines the traits that offspring are born with.

What Traits W ill the Baby Bunny Have? What do you get when you cross a spotted, dark bunny with a white bunny? Flip a coin to find out. Flip a Coin

Flip a Coin

Long Straight Ears?

Brown in Color?

Floppy Lop Ears?

White in Color?

Joke answer: A chocolate marshmallow bunny!

Flip a Coin Spots? No Spots?

Flip a Coin Has a Cotton Tail? Has a Straight Tail?

Flip a coin four times to determine the traits for each baby bunny.

Baby Bunny #1

Baby Bunny #2

Baby Bunny #3


ore l p x E Abstract Conceptualization

Niema Moshiri PhD Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Professor, Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego

As a child, my favorite subjects in school were math and science, and my favorite hobby was tinkering with computers and gadgets. I chose to get a doctorate degree in bioinformatics because it brings together all of these topics. When I’m not working on science, I enjoy playing video games and watching movies and TV shows. My advice to you is to try to learn as many different subjects as you can, because the true beauty of science comes when you can understand how the world works from different points of view.

Paper People

Niema Moshiri - Genetics Expert Bioinformatics is the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes. Computer technology helps us read genetic information.

T immy's Tail Draw what you think the classroom looks like.

Timmy the turtle was sitting in class with his best friends Sally the squirrel and Randy the rabbit.

His teacher, Ms. Owl, was teaching the students about inheritance of traits.

When Ms. Owl started talking about physical traits, Timmy realized that he had never noticed how different each of his friends looked compared to himself.

Randy and Sally both had big, fluffy tails, but Randy’s had white fur and Sally’s had brown fur.

Timmy was the only student with a tiny, green tail and round, hard shell on his back.

Randy raised his hand and asked Ms. Owl, “ Why do Sally, Timmy, and I look so different from each other when each of us look so similar to our parents?�

“Everybody is born with an ‘instruction manual’ that tells their body how to grow. This information is recorded in your DNA. Everybody’s DNA is different, which is why everybody looks different!” replied Ms. Owl.

Confused, Timmy asked ”Well, if my DNA is like a book, how is it written?”

Ms. Owl thought for a bit and responded: “Your DNA is made up of little sections called genes. Each section has the instructions for how to build one specific thing about you!�

Timmy felt like he understood, but he had one more question. “Where did my DNA come from?“

Ms. Owl responded,“When your mom and dad had you, your mom passed down a copy of half of her DNA, and your dad also passed down a copy of half of his DNA. These two halves came together and made you!“

Mrs. Owl continued, ”One day, when you have a child of your own, you will pass down a copy of half of your DNA to your child as well.” “Oh! I get it now!” Timmy responded. ‘And then I will live happily ever after!’ Timmy thought to himself.

Draw your family.

Why do I L ook L ike My Parents? Look around at all of the kids in this classroom and pay attention to the things that make every person look unique! Why is it that they look so different from each other, but we all look so similar to our parents? Every species of plant or animal has characteristics inherited from their parents.

You can see that each kid in this classroom has plenty of things that make him or her unique.

My Traits Make Me Unique When you looked around the room, what were some things you noticed that looked different in different people? Was it their hair color? Eye color? Maybe something else? These are all examples of physical traits. Physical traits are features of our bodies that we can see.

Similarities and Differences My Traits

This area lists traits In this area, list traits that make you that you and your mother share. different from your mother. How do your traits compare to your mother’s traits?

My Mom's Traits

In this area, list traits that make your mom different from you.

All Plants and Animals Have Traits You might have noticed that kids look a lot like their parents, especially when they grow up, and its not just like that with people! A baby monkey looks like its parents, and so does a puppy, and a kitten. All babies look similar to their parents when they grow up, but not exactly alike! Even baby plants look similar to but are slightly different than the plants they came from.

A baby koala clings to its mother’s back high in a tree. How is this baby koala similar to its mother?

Match the Baby to Its Parent Help these babies find their parents! Draw a trail to connect them.

Babies Inherit Traits From Parents All offspring look similar to their parents because when a baby is born the baby’s parents pass down all of the information the baby’s body needs to know how it should grow. This passing down of information and traits is called inheritance.

A baby giraffe’s traits are similar to its mother’s traits. A baby giraffe is called a calf. What similarities can be seen between this mother giraffe and her baby?

Traits are Recorded in a Genome How is it that when we are born, our bodies know exactly how they need to grow? Every single living thing is born with a unique set of traits that is recorded in its DNA. Your DNA is basically an “instruction book” that has all of the information your body needs to grow correctly! All of the details needed to make those physical traits we talked about earlier are contained inside an organism’s DNA.

Patterns of similarities and differences can be seen among siblings. What similarities can be seen between these sibling kittens?

What differences can be seen between these sibling kittens?

Babies L ook Different from their Parents Although all offspring look similar to their parents, each baby has an individual mixture of traits that makes it unique and different from its parents or siblings.

Each of the mice in this family have unique physical traits.

The Traits of a Mouse Family Traits Black Eyes Other Color Eyes Solid-Colored Body Multi-Colored Body Has a White Face Has Brown Fur

# Of Mice

Make observations about the traits that these mice have, then record your data in this table.

Graph the data from your data table called “The Traits of a Mouse Family.”

The Traits of a Mouse Family 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Fur wn Bro

aW Has

Physical Traits


Fac e hite

dB olo re lti-C




olo re




s Eye olo r er C Oth

kE yes

0 Dar

Number of Mice


DNA Contains a L ot of Information So what controls how we look? The physical traits of all living organisms including humans and other animals are determined by their DNA. DNA typically contains long patterns formed from around three billion microscopic pieces. If each part of this pattern represented one letter, that would be enough information to fill 300 dictionaries.

Your DNA is contained inside your cells as long strands.


Gene DNA What is the longest book you have ever read? About how many pages did it have? How many words do you think are in the book? How many letters?

You might be thinking, “The dictionary has a lot of information, so if DNA has even more information, it must be huge!� Surprisingly, DNA is actually super duper tiny! A single copy of your DNA is around 10 times smaller than the thickness of a single hair! DNA is stored inside each cell in your body.

Scientists can extract DNA from a cell in a special type of test tube called an Eppendorf tube. Your DNA can be extracted from hair cells, skin cells, or any other part of your body!

Everyone's DNA is Different Every plant, animal, and human has different DNA. Different organisms vary in how they look because they have different inherited information.

Every Genome is Different If DNA is an instruction book, how is it written? There are thousands of “chapters,” which we call genes: each gene has the information to do a specific job when a baby is developing. What “language” is the genome written in? Is it English? Spanish? Japanese? It turns out that each gene is written with a series of tiny molecules that act like letters. DNA is put together in a specific order to make up a strand that has the information our body needs encoded inside the DNA.

In this microscopic stand of DNA, each “step” in the “ladder” shape can be thought of as a single letter in the DNA language.

Our DNA Comes From Tw o Parents The physical traits inherited by an organism are written in its DNA, but how does an organism actually inherit traits from parents? When a baby is born, the mom gives the baby half of her DNA and the dad gives the baby half of his DNA, and when those two halves come together it becomes the baby’s DNA! That’s why your unique physical traits are a mixture of your parents traits!

These Canada geese stick together as a family. Each baby gosling inherited traits from both its mother and its father. What similarities and differences in traits do you see between these Canada geese and their goslings?

We Still Have a L ot To L earn Unfortunately, we haven’t completely figured out exactly how every single trait is stored in DNA, but scientists all around the world are working together to learn more about how living things develop and how all of our traits are encoded into DNA. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the person who figures it out!

The coloration of an owl’s feathers allow it to stay hidden in its perch. This is a trait that is encoded in the owl’s DNA.

All our differences, abilities and talents make each of us unique and remarkable people. Other people appreciate you for who you are, and it is your genetic traits that make you who you are. You can appreciate other people for the traits that make them unique and wonderful.

Hello, This is Who I Am Take some time to notice your features. Draw a self-portrait and describe your features here.

Describe how your features compare to the features that your parents or other family members have!

Write L ike an ACE

Answ er Cite Explain What are the main influences for the traits that an animal inherits? Explain how your understanding has changed since you began the chapter.

Explain the Phenomenon!

Inherited Traits Bingo Each of these bingo squares contains a trait. Go around the classroom searching for other students who have one of these traits and have the other student write their name in the square corresponding to the trait they have. You get “bingo” when you fill in a row, column, or diagonal line on your bingo board.






Red hair

Wink one eye

Widow’s peak hairline

Can lick back of elbow

Left handed

A cowlick

Non-hanging earlobes

Hazel eyes

Raise one eyebrow


Black hair

Blue eyes

Brown hair

Clover tongue roll

Curly hair

Taco tongue roll

Straight hair

Green eyes

Hanging earlobes

Touch nose with tongue

Blond hair

Cleft chin

Straight hairline


Brown eyes

1 2 3 4 5

Amazing Inherited Traits Data Listen to your teacher as she or he asks the class who has each specific trait or genetic ability. If you do, raise your hand and keep it raised as your teacher counts how many students have that trait. Record the number in your data table.

Eye Color

Hazel eyes Blue eyes Brown eyes Green eyes

Hair Traits

Red hair Black hair Brown hair Blonde hair Straight hair Curly hair Straight hairline Widow’s peak hairline A cowlick

Interesting Traits and Abilities


Dimples Freckles Cleft chin Non-hanging earlobes Hanging earlobes Clover tongue roll Taco tongue roll Wink one eye Raise one eyebrow Can lick back of elbow Touch nose with tongue Left handed



The Amazing Traits of my Class

r Explo

Hazel eyes Blue eyes Brown eyes Green eyes

Solidify Understanding

Red hair Black hair Brown hair Blonde hair Straight hair Curly hair Straight hairline Widows peak hairline A cowlick Dimples Freckles Cleft chin Non-hanging earlobes Hanging earlobes Clover tongue roll Taco tongue roll Wink one eye Raise one eyebrow Can lick back of elbow Touch nose with tongue








Left handed

I just love blue words!

Vocabulary P uzzle Use these clues to solve the puzzle.

1) This is a tiny strand of genetic information in an organism’s body. 2) These are individual parts of the instructions contained in DNA. Each of these have the information to do a specific job when a baby is developing. 3) This is the full set of instructions that helps our bodies grow and develop correctly!

4) These are features of our bodies or of plants, animals, and other living organisms.

5) The passing down of information and traits is called this. Inheritance, Genes, DNA, Genome, Physical Traits

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