Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) addressed in this packet:
Grade 3: Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and 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.
To address this standard: show your students the 5 slides depicting parent and offspring. Fill out the student worksheet that points out differences and variations.
3-LS3-2 : Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
To address this standard: show your students the 3 slides depicting trait variations caused not by genetic mutation but by environment. Fill out the student worksheet that points out the trait variation and the environment that caused it.
3-LS4-2 : Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
To address this standard: use the 2 provided worksheets to encourage your students to analyze traits in an existing animal and plant. They are then challenged to create a new organism with a trait variation that confers an advantage to the organism. My students love this – they get so creative with this!
To introduce your students to the basic concepts of genetics and inheritence, use the following worksheets: Genetic and Acquired Traits worksheet and answer key
-Genetic traits class tally chart and bar graph
-Alien Genetics – a hands-on fun science lesson plan using aliens to understand the basic concepts of inheritance. A fun coin toss activity, worksheet and alien traits charts are provided in both black and white and in color. Students will understand the concept that half of the baby alien’s genes came from its mother and the other half from its father. We cannot dictate traits that will be inherited, it is a chance situation as represented by the coin toss. Every student will create his/her own alien. Although all the class aliens came from the same parents, they will all look different! This activity really illustrates the concept that even though our genes are inherited from our parents, we do not look identical to either one. Your students will love seeing all the different baby aliens that are created based upon different combos of genes! There may even be identical twin aliens - let your kids search! For early finishers or as an extension activity, alien bug activity is also included. Create a baby alien bug based upon the parent's genes. Same activity as creating an alien, using a coin toss to dictate genes.
-After learning about where traits come from, let your students be scientists! I’ve included a fun science experiment: extract DNA from strawberries! Mush them up in a bag, add water, salt, soap and isopropyl alcohol and voila! DNA appears! Detailed directions provided – this is an easy experiment and yields great results. The materials you will need are strawberries and 99% isopropyl alcohol (I buy this from Walgreens here in NJ or I order it on-line from Amazon) Actual photographs of the experiment included.
- Directions on how your students can make a DNA necklace or keychain with the DNA they extract. My students love wearing these necklaces and love to take them home to show their parents what they did in science that day!
-Strawberry DNA experiment worksheet and answer key provided
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