Mating Game

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this game (on pages 14-21), learners explore how each human being inherits genetic traits such as eye color. Learners use "Smiley Mother's Genes" cards and "Smiley Father's Genes" cards to "mate" them into a Smiley Face Baby that the learner draws. The Mating Game Results page shows how the pairs translate into features such as face, eye, and mouth shape, skin color, hair type, and sex. The Thinking It Over section asks questions about how learners would feel if their baby had "Upsidedown Smile Syndrome," which can open up a discussion about genetic engineering.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • scissors
  • pencil
  • crayons, markers, or colored pencils (yellow, orange, and blue)
  • tape or glue
  • 1 copy of Smiley Mother’s Genes (p. 16) on colored paper
  • 1 copy of Smile Father’s Genes (p. 17) on different colored paper


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Patterns of Heredity
      • Human Genetics
      • Genetic Engineering
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology

Informal Categories

  • Games


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color

Learning styles supported:

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

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum and Nebraska 4-H, 2002

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute