“Chips” Off the Old Block?

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In this activity, learners bake cookies by following different recipes to better understand genetic mutations. Everyone in the group bakes the same type of cookie: chocolate chip. Most learners use the original recipe; a few (about a third) follow recipes in which an alteration (mutation) has occurred. Learners work in groups to make observations, including an "in depth enzymatic analysis" to determine whether a particular cookie was produced from a recipe that contained a mutation and, if so, the type of mutation. This lesson guide suggests that learners bake the cookies at home and bring them in on the day of the taste testing activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plates
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Milk
  • Cookie recipes
  • Flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Butter or margarine
  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Oven
  • Spatula
  • Spoon
  • Cookie sheet(s)
  • Pens
  • Paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Patterns of Heredity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Johnson, Susan