• Relate genes to chromosomes

  • Identify how traits are passed from parents to offspring

  • Explain the structure and processes of DNA

Key Concept

  • Genes carry the codes for human traits. They are located on chromosomes within the nucleus of every living cell.


21st Century Skill

  • Initiative and Self-Direction: Have students discuss the phrase take the initiative before reading the text. After reading, have students share examples of when they took the initiative or used self-direction to complete a goal. Allow students time to complete the activity.

Interactive Strategy

  • An Inventory of My Traits: Create a Survey of classroom traits; Yes or No answers. During survey introduce vocabulary: Trait, Dominant, Recessive Create a graph; Make a scientific statement using the data. Challenge the use of a Fraction, Decimal, and Percentage to explain results.

Writing Practice

  • Before students begin to write, ask them to recall your discussion of using summarization as a comprehension strategy. Then explain that pausing occasionally to make predictions about what they are reading is another effective strategy. Help students understand that predictions are based on existing knowledge, so they must understand a text before they can make predictions related to the text. After students have completed the writing task, encourage them to share their predictions.

Before Lesson

Determine students’ readiness for learning by discussing prior knowledge of DNA and inheritance of traits. Ask students to think of characteristics they have inherited from their parents. Lead a discussion with the class on what they know about DNA, for example, how it is used in forensics, paternity, and inheritable disease tests.


Explain to students that genes are the main determinant of physical attributes, such as height, skin color, and hair texture. However, genes also play a large role in behavior. The combination of our genes and our environment helps determine how we look, how we act, and our overall health. The study of genetics helps us understand, and possibly change, these factors.

Guided Practice

  • Genetics
    • Gregor Mendel
    • Purebred and Hybrid
    • Genes and Alleles
    • Human Traits
    • Chromosomes and DNA
    • The Genetic Code
    • DNA Replication
    • Forty-Six Chromosomes
    • Genetic Errors
    • DNA Transcription and Translation
    • DNA and Living Things

Core Skill

Make Predictions: Tell students that a prediction involves using your thinking and experience to make a guess about what will happen next. Then have students complete the activity as they read about Mendel’s pea plant research. Ask students whether their predictions were correct.

Summarize Text: Have students apply the skills they learned in “Summarize Accurately” on page 177 to summarize page 179. Tell students to self-edit their work, making sure it contains facts only and not their own ideas or opinions.


Retell: Assign or have students choose a text excerpt from the lesson to retell in their own words. This is an opportunity to evaluate students’ comprehension and ability to articulate information. Correct syntax as needed.

Design a Flow Chart to Show Critical Stages: Have students draw a flow chart that outlines Gregor Mendel’s method for his landmark experiment on pea plants. Encourage students to use all the vocabulary words from this lesson in the flow chart.

Lesson Review