In this post, we share some DNA and genetics activities to help genetics make sense to your kids.
The easiest way to explain genetics to young learners is to have them look at their own families. Talk about traits that various family members share. For instance, my daughter and my husband have blue eyes that change color with their moods or the weather – not sure which. My son is a carbon copy of my husband. My eyes are the same color and shape as my mom’s and my grandmother’s eyes.
These shared physical attributes are caused by genetics. Genetics is simply the passing of information from parents to offspring. In most families, this is easy to see.
Can You Roll Your Tongue?
Well, can you? Whether or not you can roll your tongue is genetic. Tongue rolling is a dominant trait and not being able to roll your tongue is recessive. If you recall your Mendelian genetics, to express a recessive trait (such as non-tongue rolling) both parents had to share a recessive gene for non-tongue rolling and no dominant tongue rolling genes.
Start interviewing family members to see if they can roll their tongue. Can you tell who has the recessive genes? You can do this project with earlobes. Free earlobes are dominant, while attached are recessive. Which do your family members have?
Additional Genetics Activities And DNA Resources
- Extracting DNA from strawberries experiment
- Here is a great resource from Neo12.com for studying mitosis and meiosis. It contains videos and quizzes.
- This video from the BBC does a great job of explaining DNA with beautiful graphics.
- Origami DNA activity
- DNA Activities from Elemental Blogging
- The entire Human Anatomy and Physiology series from The Homeschool Scientist
- Edible DNA Activity
- Lost in Translation Activity 1
- Lost in Translation Activity 2
- Extract DNA from strawberries
- Extract DNA from a pumpkin
- Make a DNA Bracelet
- Construct a Bug Activity
- Yummy Gummy DNA