Genetics in the Middle School
Genetics is a great area of study for middle school students. These lessons intersect science, ethics and a little bit of science fiction. When teaching genetics I try to following the following principles.
- Connect it to themselves: Look at traits they have, like hitchhiker thumbs. Kids never get board of studying themselves.
- Model it: There are tons of great modeling activities. From DNA origami to edible DNA.
- Try some real labs: Fruit flies are the gold standard for genetic studies, but there are other species that we can look at. If you have time, grow some pea plants in the back of the classroom. Strawberry DNA is a favorite.
- Reinforce: Make sure you reinforce content with writing or interactive notebook activities. We often get focused on doing activities we forget to connect it back to the "stuff" we need to learn.
This is an introduction to basic genetics with Mendel. This lesson can be used 1 to 1 or in a small group format on a computer.
This is a fully customizable activity to introduce DNA to middle school students in a 1 to 1 or small group setting.
This guide links to a National Institutes of health article on Genetics and environmental factors.
Have some fun with Star Wars and Genetics by using this activity.