Students in Carolyn Shorey’s biology class at Edward little High School took a hands-on approach to learning recently when they began a unit on genetics. Students were given sets of genes for body, legs, eyes, antennae, wings, claws and hair. They determined one “creature’s” features by flipping a coin. They then had to build a creature based on those attributes or the lack of a particular genetic trait. Students used scrap materials such as egg cartons, pipe cleaners, cloth, wire, yarn, etc., to bring the creature to life and represent various traits

Once they were done, the “creature” then mated with another in the classroom, and based on whether the traits were dominant, recessive, heterozygous or homozygous, a new creature baby was revealed – at least on paper. The activity took one block to complete, and students were busily engaged in the creative process while seeing the results of genetics at work. Teachers Carolyn Shorey and Karen Boucher collaborated to develop this lab giving students a hands-on approach to a complicated subject.

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