Time: Approximately 30 minutes.
Computers with Internet access,
Directions, Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel or similar
programs, and referenced PowerPoint (genetics.ppt)
and Excel (genetics_worksheet.xls
Prerequisites: This activity is designed for students
who have a basic understanding of human genetics and some
knowledge of recessive and dominant inheritance.
Implementation: This RWLO MUST be implemented during
class time as it requires the participation of all students to
complete the class poll. At a minimum, one computer connected to a
presentation device is required or each student/small group should
have access to a computer.
- Provide access to the
Student Directions and/or print and distribute the
Student Worksheet (genetics.doc -
1.2 MB) located in the
Content Material section of this RWLO.
- Review the
Background Information for the Human Genetics: A Worldwide Search for the
Dominant Trait telecollaborative project.
- Present in class or have students access the following
short PowerPoint presentation "Human Genetics: Dominant &
(551 KB). The presentation describes the following four
genetic traits included in the project survey (the dominant
trait in each case is shown in red):
- Free vs. Attached Earlobes
- Straight vs. Curved Thumbs
- Bent vs. Straight Pinky
- With vs. Without White
- Have students find a partner and determine, for each of
the traits, whether they have the dominant or recessive trait.
Students may work in small groups if that is easier. They
should use their best judgment to determine which traits they
have and answer whether they think the dominant trait is the
most frequently occurring once they are finished.
- Explain that the class will now conduct a simple poll to
see what everyone has found. You can use the Excel spreadsheet
to tally up responses or just keep track of the responses on
- For each of the traits, ask the students to raise their
hands if they have one of the dominant traits. For example,
ask how many people in the workshop have free earlobes and
record the results. The remaining number of people will have
- Do this for each of traits and note the percentage of
students who exhibit each of the dominant traits.
- Students should complete the questions. Often, there are
very few people who have a white forelock, yet this is a
- Explain that archived data accumulated from
schools participating in the Human Genetics: A Worldwide
Search for the Dominant Trait since 1998 is available.
- Download and open the
cumulativedata.xls (7.5 KB)
- Note and mention data has been collected for more than
92,000 individuals over the course of the project.
- Ask the students to calculate the percentage for the
dominant and recessive characteristics for each of the
surveyed traits (earlobe, thumb, pinky, and white forelock).
- Based on this data, students should now describe their
reasoning behind their conclusions.
(NOTE: this RWLO is
based on the
Human Genetics: A Worldwide Search for the Dominant Trait Project)