ALEX Lesson Plan


Dragon Genetics

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Rene' Pouncey
System: Dallas County
School: Dallas County High School
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 27455


Dragon Genetics


Students will construct a model of a dragon based on traits inherited from the parent dragons. This activity demonstrates the inheritance of dominant and recessive traits, codominance, and incomplete dominance. Students will use Punnett Squares to predict genotypic and phenotypic ratios of the dragon population in the class. This project could serve as a culminating activity for Genetics and the Inheritance of traits.  

This activity was adapted from Alabama Science in Motion.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 9-12
11 ) Analyze and interpret data collected from probability calculations to explain the variation of expressed traits within a population.

a. Use mathematics and computation to predict phenotypic and genotypic ratios and percentages by constructing Punnett squares, including using both homozygous and heterozygous allele pairs.

b. Develop and use models to demonstrate codominance, incomplete dominance, and Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment.

c. Analyze and interpret data (e.g., pedigree charts, family and population studies) regarding Mendelian and complex genetic disorders (e.g., sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, type 2 diabetes) to determine patterns of genetic inheritance and disease risks from both genetic and environmental factors.

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
L12.10: Sorting and recombination of genes in sexual reproduction results in a great variety of possible gene combinations from the offspring of any two parents.

NAEP Statement::
L12.8: Hereditary information is contained in genes, which are located in the chromosomes of each cell. A human cell contains many thousands of different genes. One or many genes can determine an inherited trait of an individual, and a single gene can influence more than one trait.

NAEP Statement::
L12.9: The genetic information encoded in DNA molecules provides instructions for assembling protein molecules. Genes are segments of DNA molecules. Inserting, deleting, or substituting DNA segments can alter genes. An altered gene may be passed on to every cell that develops from it. The resulting features may help, harm, or have little or no effect on the offspring's success in its environment.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Developing and Using Models; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns; Systems and System Models
Disciplinary Core Idea: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Collect and analyze data on traits within a population to identify patterns within expressed traits in a population.
  • Mathematically calculate the probability of expressed traits of offspring, given parental traits and an understanding of inheritance patterns.
  • Use a model to determine potential gametes from parental genotype and develop a Punnett square to predict inheritance outcomes.
  • Annotate a Punnett square, identifying maternal and paternal gametes, and use mathematics to explain the predicted outcomes.
  • Observe traits in offspring and use knowledge of inheritance patterns and Punnett squares to infer parental genotypes.
  • Use probability to predict the likelihood of specific offspring given parent traits and inheritance pattern.
  • Distinguish between homozygous and heterozygous allele pairs and relate these to phenotype.
  • Analyze data to find inheritance patterns and explain those patterns in terms of incomplete dominance, codominance and Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment.
  • Use models, diagrams, and/or text to connect Mendel's laws of inheritance to the biological processes of meiosis.
  • Differentiate genetic disorders in humans in terms of errors of meiosis, either large scale (chromosomal) or small scale (point mutations).
  • Apply concepts of inheritance to explain patterns seen in pedigrees, offspring ratios, and trait prevalence in a population.
  • Identify non-genetic factors that may impact expressed traits.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Genetics
  • Allele
  • Dominant
  • Recessive
  • Homozygous
  • Heterozygous
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Law of segregation
  • Hybrid
  • Law of independent assortment
  • F1 and F2 generations
  • Monohybrid
  • Dihybrid
  • Punnet square
  • Probability
  • Crossing over
  • Genetic recombination
  • Carrier
  • Pedigree
  • Incomplete dominance
  • Codominance
  • Multiple alleles
  • Epistasis
  • Sex chromosome
  • Autosome
  • Sex-linked trait
  • Polygenic trait
Students know:
  • Inheritable genetic variations may result from: new genetic combinations through meiosis, viable errors occurring during replication, and mutations caused by environmental factors.
  • Variations in genetic material naturally result during meiosis when corresponding sections of chromosome pairs exchange places.
  • Genetic material is inheritable.
  • Genetic variations produced by mutations and meiosis are inheritable.
  • The difference between genotypic and phenotypic ratios and percentages.
  • Examples of genetic crosses that do not fit traditional inheritance patterns (e.g., incomplete dominance, co-dominance, multi-allelic, polygenic) and explanations as to how the observed phenotypes are produced.
  • Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment.
  • Pedigrees can be used to infer genotypes from the observation of genotypes.
  • By analyzing a person's family history or a population study, disorders in future offspring can be predicted.
Students are able to:
  • Perform and use appropriate statistical analysis of data, including probability measures to determine the relationship between a trait's occurrence within a population and environmental factors.
  • Differentiate between homozygous and heterozygous allele pairings.
  • Create Punnett squares to predict offspring genotypic and phenotypic ratios.
  • Explain the relationship between the inherited genotype and the visible trait phenotype.
  • Examine genetic crosses that do not fit traditional inheritance patterns (incomplete dominance and co-dominance).
  • Use chromosome models to physically demonstrate the points in meiosis where Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment are observed.
  • Analyze pedigrees to identify the patterns of inheritance for specific traits/ disorders including autosomal dominant/ recessive as well as sex-linked and mitochondrial patterns.
Students understand that:
  • In sexual reproduction, chromosomes can sometimes swap sections during the process of meiosis, thereby creating new genetic combinations and thus more genetic variation.
  • Although DNA replication is tightly regulated and remarkably accurate, errors do occur and result in mutations, which are also a source of genetic variation.
  • Environmental factors can also cause mutations in genes, and viable mutations are inherited.
  • Environmental factors also affect expression of traits, and hence affect the probability of occurrences of traits in a population.
  • The variation and distribution of traits observed depends on both genetic and environmental factors.
AMSTI Resources:
ASIM Module:
Dragon Genetics; Alkaptonuria; Blood Typing; Corn Lab; HNPCC; Chromosocks; Collecting Cancer Causing Changes (C4)

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.B.HS.11- Recognize that parents and offspring may have different traits.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Learning Targets

  • I can construct a model of a dragon based on the characteristics inherited from the parent dragons.
  • I can create Punnett squares to explain the variation of expressed traits among the dragon population in the class.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will:

  • Use mathematics and computation to predict phenotypic and genotypic ratios and percentages by constructing Punnett squares, including using both homozygous and heterozygous allele pairs. 

  • Develop and use models to demonstrate codominance, incomplete dominance, and Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment.
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

The teacher needs two pennies per student.

The students can work in pairs, but most prefer to make their own dragon.

The teacher needs to make student copies of the lab sheet and dragon parts worksheet.

The teacher also needs a set of the Vocabulary Word Sort Cards (see attachments) for each student group. The terms and definitions should be separated before the lab and placed in ziploc bags.

You also need scissors, colored pencils, glue or tape.

Technology Resources Needed:

Interactive white board for Power Point Presentation.

iPads/Tablets for students to take pictures of the Vocabulary Word Sort. (If your school allows students to use their own device, then students could take a picture with their phone.)



Students should be familiar with the following key terms: monohybrid cross, dihybrid cross, phenotype, genotype, homozygous, heterozygous, dominant traits, recessive traits, codominance, incomplete dominance, allele, trait, Mendel, Mendel's Law of Segregation, Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment.


Day 1

Before (Engage)

Step 1: Place students into cooperative learning groups. Give each group of students a Vocabulary Word Sort. The students will work together to match the vocabulary term to the correct definition. The students can take a picture of their completed word sort with their iPad/tablet. Once all groups have finished, the answers should be discussed with the class.

Step 2: Use the Power Point Presentation (see attachments) to discuss the answers with the class.

During/Explore/Explain (2 Days)

Step 3: Students will construct a model of their dragon based on the directions from their lab sheet (see attachments). (It will take 2 days for students to create the model of their dragon.)

Day 2

Step 3 Continued: Students should finish their dragon model and display on the wall in the classroom. 

Day 3 


Step 4: Students should complete the Lab Analysis Questions on their student Data Sheet. Punnett squares should be provided as evidence for their answers.

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Assessment Strategies

Picture of completed word sort.

Students will be assessed on the model of their dragon and the completion of Lab Data Sheets.


Once the students have completed their dragon, pair up students and have them make a new dragon from the dragon each student created. Student pairs will have to determine the traits that will be inherited from the parents.


Pairing students based on academic strengths and weaknesses will help them understand the heredity of traits. Their partner can also help them with the construction of their dragon.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.