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Heredity Lesson Plan Must Haves

Heredity is a concept that is taught in every biology class. Just to clarify, I teach DNA, protein synthesis, and the basics of molecular genetics separately from the patterns of inheritance in my heredity unit. Like most topics, I think the key to making your heredity lesson plan stick involves hands-on activities, practice, and clear explanations using various teaching tools.

Check out this simulation with colored water.

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Heredity Lesson Plan: Hands-On Activities

  1. Using Models: use models to help students visualize the differences between phenotype and genotype and the result of different crosses. I love to use colored paper clips to demonstrate what you see and what you can’t see.
  2. Creating Aliens and Monsters: there are lots of options for this activity out there and many students have done this before. Go through and have students create a possible offspring from a monster or alien species. You can incorporate simple Mendelian patterns of inheritance or the more complex patterns.
  3. Genetic Traits Simulation: Create a hands-on activity where students simulate genetic inheritance by flipping coins or rolling dice to represent alleles. By tracking outcomes over generations, students grasp the concept of probability and genetic variation. This really helps them visualize the role probability plays in inheritance.

Practice! Recall and application practice is critical.

  1. Interactive Quizzes: Develop online quizzes or use interactive classroom response systems like Kahoot! or Quizizz to present practice problems on heredity. Incorporating immediate feedback enhances student engagement and allows for real-time assessment of comprehension.
  2. Worksheets and Task Cards: I love to create learning stations with worksheets or task cards. Think about how much kids love centers when they are kids. You can add props to make it more engaging.
  3. Problem-Based Learning: Design complex genetic scenarios where students must apply multiple concepts such as incomplete dominance or polygenic inheritance to solve problems. This approach fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills while reinforcing understanding of heredity principles. I like using scenarios about flower farms.

Clear Explanations using Various Mediums:

  • Video Tutorials: Curate or create short video tutorials explaining key heredity concepts with clear visuals and animations. Platforms like YouTube or educational websites offer a ton of resources that educators can utilize to supplement their lessons. I’m a big fan of the amoeba sisters.
  • Hands-On Demonstrations: Conduct live demonstrations using models or props to illustrate genetic concepts such as chromosome structure, allele interactions, or genetic engineering techniques. Engaging multiple senses aids in comprehension and retention of information.
  • Interactive Apps or Simulations: Integrate interactive apps or simulations that allow students to explore genetic principles in a virtual environment. These tools provide opportunities for self-directed learning and experimentation, catering to diverse learning styles.

The University of Utah has a great site for teaching genetics and heredity.

Incorporate these Heredity Lesson Plan Must Haves


Incorporating hands-on activities, practice problems, and clear explanations using various mediums is essential for creating dynamic and effective heredity lessons. By engaging students actively in the learning process, educators can cultivate a deeper understanding of genetic concepts and inspire curiosity about the fascinating world of inheritance. With these must-haves in place, heredity lessons become not only informative but also enjoyable and memorable experiences for students.

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