Tuesday, September 6, 2016

human anatomy: DNA and GENES

When I told BC I had to walk down to 7/11 to get gummy bears for science he mused, "Of course you do, that makes total sense." But it does make sense.  Gummies are a perfect way to explore a few beginning principles of genetics. 

Gummy Bear Genetics Activity:

Start by drawing a 3 generation pedigree diagram (grandparents, parents, and children). Each gummy bear will represent a single chromosome. Since chromosomes come in pairs each family member needs 2 bears. 

The different colors of bears represent the variations of genes within chromosomes: traits.

{Remeber: It goes Cell>Nucleus>Chromosomes. And Chromosomes are made up of tight coils of DNA. Genes are short sections of DNA that give instructions to each cell to do different things.}

Using the gummy bear chromosomes create different combinations of the color traits passing through the Family. See how many different genetic outcomes you can create using 3 different colors. Try it with more. Hello, added math fun!  

Set up genetic problems to solve by filling in only some of the pairs of chromosomes and have the other person fill in the rest to solve the chart. 

Or fill in the only the children (progeny) and ask: 
Is this possible, if not why not, and if so how- show it?  

You can make this activity as easy or as complex as you would like. One way to increase the difficulty is to add more traits. To do this add multiple colors to each chromosome by cutting the bears in half and mix-matching the colors (ie red bear head on a yellow bear butt).

Another way would be to add more generations and additional colors traits with each new coupling as unrelated people bring new genetics into the family.

Even further advanced, adding gene superiority (and following the rules of). Such as making "red-head-ed-ness" in gummy bears is dominant to "yellow-head-ed-ness" or "green-butt-ed-ness" is dominant to "clear-butt-ed-ness" and solve for expressions of dominant and recessive traits.       

Anyway you want to play it, tons of sweet (horrible pun, right?!) science fun!

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