This is a culminating, thematic, genetics project that assesses student understanding of genotype, phenotype, dominant, recessive, Punnett squares, pedigrees, and genetic diseases. The students breed creatures, on paper. I let the students nominate and vote on what they would like to breed. The first year I did this they bred dots; this was something meaningful to those students. The second and third years my students chose to breed zombies, and last year they bred Pokemon. I found that letting the students decide what they are breeding helps them take ownership of the project.
Included are the Lesson Plans with procedures for the project, all original handouts and worksheets, links to other materials used for practicing new concepts before the project and for reinforcement during the project. I usually take about 1 week for this project with 45 minute class periods. This project can be modified to be more or less involved depending on your needs.
Indiana 8th grade science standards incorporated into the materials:
8.3.1 Explain that reproduction is essential for the continuation of every species and is the mechanism by which all organisms transmit genetic information.
8.3.2 Compare and contrast the transmission of genetic information in sexual and asexual reproduction.
8.3.3 Explain that genetic information is transmitted from parents to offspring mostly by chromosomes.
8.3.5 Identify and describe the difference between inherited traits and physical and behavioral traits that are acquired or learned.
8.3.7 Recognize and explain that small genetic differences between parents and offspring can accumulate in successive generations so that descendants may be different from their ancestors.
8.3.9 Describe the effect of environmental changes on populations of organisms when their adaptive characteristics put them at a disadvantage for survival. Describe how extinction of a species can ultimately result.
Enjoy watching your students immerse themselves into the material.