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Learning All About Genetics

Students watched a genetics presentation.

Fifth grade students at Marshville Elementary recently completed a science unit on genetics. They learned about where our genes come from, inherited and acquired traits, as well as recessive and dominant genes. Throughout the unit, students also identified their own particular traits that they inherited and/or acquired. They completed a dichotomy activity where they determined their own inherited traits includeing eye color, type of hair, widow's peak and attached ears. They also brainstormed ways that all living things are related and different.

On October 28, 2013, the students in fifth grade had a unique opportunity to have a guest presenter come in and talk with them about how they use genetics in their career. Mrs. Lee, mother of Katie Rose, a fifth grader in Ms. Zandrowicz's class, shared information with our students about how their family uses genetics in order to have a successful turkey farm. She described the lineage of the turkey, dating back to when English settlers first brought their turkeys to America, as well as qualities of the wild turkey that domestic turkeys also retained. Mrs. Lee also described how certain former positive characteristics, such as a large brain mass, have now changed due to a mix of dominant and recessive genes. Today, domesticated turkeys have a loss of 1/3 of their brain mass, which results in poorer vision. However, there are more desirable characteristics as well, such as a shorter breast bone, which results in more meat. Since 1965, the domesticated turkey has gone up 20 pounds! It really was a fascinating experience to hear and see how genetics are at work in the world around us. 

Written by: Jannika Galloway, 5th grade teacher
Posted: Nov 06, 2013 by Kerri Edwards

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