Science Sampler: The science of skin colorby: Sheveeta Bonner and Susan Brooks

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For many teachers of life science, one of the favorite parts of the curriculum is the unit on heredity. Students love to discover how and from whom they’ve inherited certain traits such as tongue rolling, earlobe shape, and dimples. In this fun and easy investigation, students will perform a simulation of the inheritance of skin pigment and create a visual representation using inexpensive materials. This lesson actively engages students in the development of analytical and investigative skills. Additionally, it promotes the intrinsic pleasure of discovery and understanding.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:34 AM

This activity provides an kinetic and visual representation of how multiple genes can combine to allow for diversity in a single trait - something that totally puzzles my students. I look forward to adding this activity to my genetics unit because this is a question that always comes up and is hard to explain. Something the author doesn't go into is that this a follow-up inquiry where students manipulate the original parents genes would be a great extension that would answer additional student questions, if time allows. This activity would be useful for middle school through intro bio in college.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:43 AM

Heredity is an area of interest for all students. The activity provided in this article requires simple easily acquired materials. Students will learn about how ‘skin color trait’ represented by colored beads can change from generation to generation. In this case the offspring of third generation parents. Through doing this activity students generate a pedigree chart. Students make a visual demonstration of the skin colors produced and they answer questions provided in the article. This activity would generate high interest and some good understandings of inheritance of traits that would be appropriate for middle school students.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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