In this lab activity, students will be grape farmers. Their challenge is to make the best grapes possible to sell to businesses. They will use the selective breeding process to attempt to select for certain desirable traits and get rid of undesirable traits. They will be using coin flipping and punnett squares to determine which traits get passed along, and they will find that a lot of the selective breeding process is up to chance. The activity can be a competition between your groups within the class! The activity is aligned to 7th-grade science essential standards. It applies the following vocabulary: gene, trait, allele, punnett square, probability, dominant trait, recessive trait, homozygous, heterozygous, genotype, phenotype, sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction.
The activity focuses on the importance of genetics and farming. Today farming and agriculture are very different than they used to be. Workers have to have deep knowledge in Science and Math, and they need to be informed about the latest technologies being used in the field. They need to combine all of this information in order to make the best agricultural products. Their products need to be better than their competitors so that they can make most amount of profit and money! Farmers generally get paid by the quality and quantity of their products. New and important advances in agriculture include: 1) Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to develop or make useful produces, 2) Bioengineering is using biology and other science and math concepts to do real-world problem solving, and 3) Selective Breeding is the process by which humans breed plants or animals for specific desirable traits.