In this lesson Meredith Williams, 8th grade science teacher and Boxlight MimioMaster, shares how she used the MyStemKits Punnett Squares Dice Kit to help her students review the concepts related to genetics and heredity.
Using Punnett Squares
- Punnett Square Dice (Gg) Kit from MyStemKits
- 3D printed pair of dice per partner team
- Punnett Square worksheet
- Teacher-chosen activities as warm-up
Grade Level: 8
Objectives: Students will --
- Review key vocabulary – genotype, phenotype, homozygous dominant, homozygous recessive, heterozygous
- Work collaboratively to determine probabilities of genotype and phenotype combinations using Punnett squares (see SC.7.L.16.2)
Time frame: one class session, or approximately 45 minutes
Before beginning the Punnett square activity, we reviewed key concepts such as the role of DNA and heredity. We also discussed critical vocabulary that should’ve been familiar to them: genotype, phenotype, homozygous dominant, homozygous recessive, and heterozygous.
For the first part of the lesson, students completed interactive activities related to the concept. Then students were each given a worksheet that had four Punnett squares to complete. Working in pairs, teams were given a set of dice to roll in order to complete the Punnett square. Students were expected to choose a characteristic to be representative of the traits (phenotype).
This lesson was a huge success. Students loved using the Punnett dice and being able to choose a characteristic. For many students, this helped them understand how Punnett squares worked as each dice represented one parent, reinforcing the concept that we receive half of our genetics from each parent. The repetitive nature of completing multiple Punnett squares helped students gain the confidence that they needed with reading and understanding the squares and its purpose.