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In this unit, students will be introduced to DNA and its structure. They will learn how to extract DNA from fruits. They will learn the difference between environmental and inherited traits. They will also compare the advantages and disadvantages of genetic engineering and selective breeding, which will enable them to distinguish between the two. Students will also be introduced to family trees and pedigrees. Students will design and evaluate their own family pedigree and identify sex-linked traits.

Learning targets


This is an opportunity to discuss how we are Unique Individuals.

  • Understands asexual and sexual reproduction (e.g., in asexual reproduction, all the genes come from a single parent; in sexual reproduction, an egg and sperm unite and half of the genes come from each parent, so the offspring is never identical to either of its parents; sexual reproduction allows for greater genetic diversity; asexual reproduction limits the spread of disadvantageous characteristics through a species)
  • Knows that hereditary information is contained in genes (located in the chromosomes of each cell), each of which carries a single unit of information; an inherited trait of an individual can be determined by either one or many genes, and a single gene can influence more than one trait


Discussion about Unique Individuals in terms of nature vs nurture.

  • Knows that the characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits; some traits are inherited through the coding of genetic material and others result from environmental factors

Presentation media

Labs and worksheets

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