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Genetics Badge

(Discover Science and Technology)
By Kerry Cordy

 

Preschool: Do three requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Learn what genetics are and how they influence what you look like and more.

_____2.* Have you ever been told you look like your mom or dad? Find at least three genetic traits that have been passed down in your family for at least three generations (grandparent, parent, child). This might be an eye color, hair type, skin color, nose shape, etc. Maybe your family is known for large feet, or lots of freckles. Genetic diseases like psoriasis may also be passed down. If you cannot do this exercise with your own family, do it with a friend’s.

 

Level 1: Do four requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Do Preschool requirements 1 & 2. Compare two plants of the same variety either in your yard or at a park. How are they similar? How are they different? Do you have roses? Are they all the same color? Same size? Discuss how genetics affect how each plant looks (or smells!)

_____2.* Understand what is meant by dominant and recessive. Who was Gregor Mendel and how did his experiment with peas effect the study of genetics?

 

Level 2: Do five requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Do Level 1 requirements 1 & 2.

_____2.* Create a Punnett square for two gene types. For example, you could use brown eyes (dominant) and blue eyes (recessive). What would be the results of one brown eyed parent and one blue eyed parent. What if the brown eyed parent had one blue gene?

 

Level 3: Do six requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Do Level 2 requirements 1 & 2.

_____2.* Create a model of a double helix and label the parts.

 

Level 4: Do seven requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Do Level 3 requirements 1 & 2.

_____2.* Understand and explain the following genetic terms:

  • Phenotype
  • Genotype
  • Hybrid
  • Alleles
  • X chromosome
  • Y chromosome
  • Gene mapping
  • Mutation
  • Heterozygous
  • Homozygous

 

Level 5: Do nine requirements including the two starred *

_____1.* Do Level 4 requirements 1 & 2

_____2.* Teach someone how to do a skill from this badge or teach some knowledge about this badge to someone. You can teach kids, your spouse, seniors, anyone, just as long as you are sharing your new found knowledge. If for some reason you cannot teach what you have learned to someone else, you may choose an additional 2 optional requirements instead.

 

Optional Requirements:

_____3. Learn about three genetic diseases. What are the symptoms? Are they dominant or recessive? Are there treatments or cures? What challenges does a person with this disease face in life?

_____4. Find out what the Human Genome Project (HGP) is and how it is affecting the science of genetics.

_____5. Stem cell research is a controversial genetic subject. Learn about the process and make a list of pros and cons for continuing this type of research. What conclusions do you come to? Why?

_____6. Learn about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of genetic manipulation?

_____7. Participate in a service project that relates to genetics. You may wish to participate in a fundraiser to support research for a genetic disease, or create a game or booklet to teach genetics to younger kids.

_____8. Learn about careers within the field of genetics. Choose one and find out what education you would need, salary you could expect, where you might have to live, etc.

_____9. Read a book or magazine about genetics.

_____10. Play a game that teaches about genetics.

_____11. Contact someone who works in the field of genetics and ask them at least five questions. If possible, shadow them for a day.

 

Third Party Resources:

Neok12: Genetics for Kids

Exploring Nature: Punnett’s Square Activity

Science Spot: Genetics with a Smile Activity

 

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