Genetics the Easy Way

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In this activity, learners make critters out of recyclables and apply the rules of mathematics to solve genetics problems. First, learners make male and female heterozygous parent Recycle Critters with 5-8 sets of chromosomes. Then, learners build the phenotype of their Recycle Critter baby. Next, learners practice and master the six basic monohybrid problems as well as dihybrid problems. This lesson guide includes instructions on how to use the Punnett Square and forked-line methods for solving the problems. It also includes tips for making the Recycle Critters.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Recyclables: aluminum cans, tin cans, newspaper, plastic bottles, glass bottles/jars
  • String, tape, or glue
  • Blue and pink construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pen


  • Life Sciences
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Patterns of Heredity
      • DNA Structure and Function
    • Human Body
      • Reproduction
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Probability
    • Number and Operations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • McKinney, Rosie