Casey Woods
5th Grade Genetics Unit
Georgia Performance Standards
• S5L2. Students will recognize that offspring
can resemble parents in inherited traits and
learned behaviors.
• a. Compare and contrast the characteristics of
learned behaviors and of inherited traits.
• b. Discuss what a gene is and the role genes
play in the transfer of traits.
NSEA Standards
• 8CLS2.3 Every organism requires a set of instructions for
specifying its traits. Heredity is the passage of these
instructions from one generation to another.
• 8CLS2.4 Hereditary information is contained in genes,
located in the chromosomes of each cell. Each gene carries
a single unit of information. An inherited trait of an
individual can be determined by one or by many genes, and
a single gene can influence more than one trait. A human
cell contains many thousands of different genes.
• 8CLS2.5 The characteristics of an organism can be
described in terms of a combination of traits. Some traits
are inherited and others result from interactions with the
Essential Questions
• How are inherited traits different
from learned behaviors?
• What do genes do?
• How are traits passed from parent to
Vocabulary Focus
• trait, offspring, common,
individual, heredity,
hereditary, learned behavior,
instinct, behavior, genes,
dominant genes, recessive
Concepts(s) Targeted
• Students will understand that physical traits
are inherited from parents the environment
plays a role in making a person who they are
genes contain hereditary information which is
passed from parent to offspring each parent
contributes an equal amount of hereditary
information to the offspring learned behaviors
are not controlled or inherited through
hereditary information.
Lesson 1—BBC Talking Animals
Lesson 1--Continued
• Engage: Students will become engaged in this
topic by watching a short video clip of the BBC
Talking Animals Youtube video. On the video,
they will see how certain animals behave (even
though the animals are “talking” (a human voice).
Explain: Students, after being exposed to the
concepts of learned behavior/inherited traits, will
go back and rewatch the video and decide if what
they said for their observations were learned
behaviors or inherited traits.
Lesson 2--Stellaluna
Lesson 2--Continued
• Explore: Students will explore
inherited traits and learned
behaviors by reading Stellaluna
and recognizing the traits and
learned behaviors that she has
and displays in the story.
Lesson 3—Survey Time!
• Engage: Students will survey themselves and
others to see what traits they have. They will use
the data they collect and figure out what % of the
classroom population has certain traits.
• Explain: They will explain, using data and bar
graphs, what % of the classroom population has
certain traits.
• Evaluate: Students will be evaluated by showing
their understanding of the traits through their
data through pie charts, bar or line graphs,
and/or line plots.
Lesson 4—Pass the Genes, please!
• Engage—Students will participate in a hands on
activity to demonstrate how genes (dominant
and recessive) are passed from parents to
offspring. They will use different color jellybeans
to show how traits are passed down from
generation to generation.
• Explain—Students will explain their
understanding of how the genes are being passed
from one generation to another through using a
flow chart and coloring in the jelly beans they pull
from the “mom and dad” cup.
• Evaluate—Students will write down, as a ticket
out the door, their understanding of dominant
and recessive genes.
Lesson 5—Genes/Culminating Activity
• Engage—Students will participate in
creating a model made out of play
• Explain—Students will explain their
understanding of how genes are
passed through writing out what
traits their model has been given.
• Students will take a pre-post test from the
OAS database.
• Teacher will evaluate the students’ work
through discussions, activities, and the
culminating activity.
Sometimes you’ve gotta do the best
with what you’ve been given!

Casey Woods 5th Grade Genetics Unit