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Lesson Plan: Phenotypes and Genotypes

written by: Jason Howe • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 3/20/2013

Ever wonder just how alike you and your best friend are? Let’s see what common genetic traits you may share with your friends and other classmates!

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    Understanding how we inherit our traits through heredity is a very big concept tested on many local and state exams. Students need to know the following essential vocabulary to complete this activity: genes, genotype, phenotype, heredity, trait, genetic variation.

    Human Phenotypes 1 Lesson Objectives:

    The following New York State Intermediate Science learning standards are addressed in this lesson:

    2.1a Hereditary information is contained in genes. Genes are composed of DNA that makes up the chromosomes of cells.

    2.1b Each gene carries a single unit of information. Asingle inherited trait of an individual can be determined by one pair or by many pairs of genes. A human cell containsthousands of different genes

    2.2a In all organisms, genetic traits are passed on from generation to generation.

    2.2b Some genes are dominant and some are recessive. Some traits are inherited by mechanisms other than dominance and recessiveness.

    Materials Required:

    None, other than pencil and paper and other classmates

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    Lesson Procedure:

    1. Students will be given notes, outlining the concepts of Genotypes and Phenotypes. Download the Notes Here.

    2. Students will brainstorm, writing down as many genetic traits that they have as they can.

    3. Using classmates to help them, students will determine their phenotypes and genotypes for various genetic traits. Download the Lab Sheet Here.


    1. The lab grade will determine if future assessments are needed before a test would be given.

    2. Other similar activities could be created and conducted for extra practice if needed.

    If students do well with the lab, perhaps no further labs would be required. If the teacher detects problem areas, more labs could be created to practice these skills. There are lots of things that can be measured in a class room. Furthermore, students could do a family tree assignment, tracing back family history of a particular trait or group of traits as a follow up activity.


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