This coin toss activity will introduce students to Mendel’s seminal work with pea plants. Alone or in a group, kids toss two different coins to stand for the male and female parents. Different offspring will result based on the genes contributed from each parent. Note, this is a very similar activity to Inherited Traits—Creating Crazy Creatures—A coin toss activity
which is slightly more challenging as it involves co-dominance and incomplete dominance in some of the traits. Having numerous interesting but different activities to engage with the concepts can help teach and solidify student understanding.
Use this to learn and reinforce answers to questions such as:
❑ How do genes pass from parent to offspring?
❑ How can offspring differ from each other if they come from the same parents?
❑ When are dominant genes expressed?
❑ When are recessive genes expressed?
❑ What does it mean to be heterozygous for a trait?
Once students walk through the sequence of events, they can capture their observations using the included Lab Notes or probing questions included in the instructions.
Answer Keys and Teacher Notes
address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.
♦ Traits are passed from parent to offspring
♦ Each parent donates one copy of each gene to its offspring
♦ Dominant genes are always expressed when the gene is present, but recessive genes are only apparent when the dominant gene is absent.
Nonconsummables: 2 different coins per student group; cup for tossing (optional)
Prep Time Required
Very little, collecting coins and cups and copying student sheets.
This lab takes about 40 mins.
Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
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