CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1 HOUR)

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1 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1 HOUR) Addresses NGSS Level of Difficulty: 1 Grade Range: K-2 OVERVIEW In this activity, students will identify specific physical traits of adult plants and animals that are passed on to their offspring. Students will examine images of young and mature plants and animals, and then match the adults to their offspring. Topic: Inheritance of Traits Real-World Science Topics A comparison of the unique physical characteristics of certain plants and animals. An evaluation of the common physical characteristics of plants and animals and their offspring. Objective After completing this activity, students will be able to describe how traits are passed on from adult plants and animals to their offspring. They will be able to identify specific traits that plants and animals pass on to their offspring. Finally, they will be able to look at visual representations of adult plants and animals and match them to their offspring. NGSS Three-Dimensions Science and Engineering Practices Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Constructing explanations and designing solutions in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to the use of evidence and ideas in constructing evidence-based accounts of natural phenomena and designing solutions. Make observations (first hand or from media) to construct an evidence based account for natural phenomena (1-LS3-1) Disciplinary Core Ideas LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits Young animals are very much, but not exactly, like their parents. (1-LS3-1) LS3.B: Variation of Traits Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also vary in many ways. (1-LS3-1) Crosscutting Concepts Patterns Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence. (1-LS3-1) 1

2 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1 HOUR) Background Information How are traits passed on from parent animals to their offspring? Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a molecule that carries the genetic codes for all living things. DNA determines the physical characteristics or traits for humans, plants, and animals. DNA is made up of smaller segments called genes. When a plant or animal reproduces, this same DNA passes on to the offspring and enables the offspring to have similar physical characteristics. What are the common physical characteristics shared by animals and their offspring? Animals share many physical traits with their offspring. Many of the outward physical characteristics of baby animals are similar or nearly identical to their adult parents. Characteristics such as body structure; skin texture or fur coverings; facial shape; ear, eye and nose size and shape; and body, skin, or fur color are determined by the genetic traits of the parent animal. This is seen in a broad range of animals, from mammals to reptiles to amphibians to birds to fish. What are the common physical characteristics shared by plants and their offspring? Adult plants and their offspring share similar leaf structure and shape. The leaves of offspring plants are typically miniature versions of the adult leaves. The stems have a similar structure as do the flower petals. Key Vocabulary Trait a genetically determined characteristic found in a living thing Offspring the child of a living thing (plant, animal, or human) Hereditary able to be naturally passed on to a child from the parent prior to birth DNA a molecule that carries all of the information from a parent to determine what the offspring will be like Gene a segment, or part, of DNA; the basic building block of heredity 2

3 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK (1 HOUR) Materials Needed for Activity Chart paper Marker for chart paper Select one of the following for this activity: Photos of students and their parents (send a note home prior to the lesson) Photos of teacher and his/her children or his/her parents Copies of photos of five or more famous people and their children Parent/Offspring photo collection: Photo 1: Pony Photo 2: Samoyed Dog Photo 3: Young German Shepard Photo 4: Baby Crocodile Photo 5: Adult Bald Eagle Photo 6: Big Horn Sheep Photo 7: Great Gray Owl Chick Photo 8: New Born Bald Eagle Photo 9: Adult Crocodile Photo 10: Samoyed Puppies Photo 11: Horse Photo 12: German Shepard Photo 13: Great Gray Owl Photo 14: Big Horn Lamb Three adult plants and the corresponding baby plants (good options are cactus and terrarium plants that you can find at a local plant nursery) Chip Off the Old Block handout and pencils for each student Teacher Preparation Request student and parent photos prior to lesson. Collect the photos from the students. Make copies of the Chip Off the Old Block Handout for each student as well as copies of the photos provided. Place three sheets of chart paper on the wall or board in the classroom in a central area. Label them Human Traits, Plant Traits, and Animal Traits. Have all other materials accessible. 3

4 STEPS FOR CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK 1. Warm-up Activity: Lead a discussion with your students on how they might resemble a family member such as mom, dad, or grandparent. Ask: Has anyone ever been told that you resemble your mom or dad? Does anyone have the same eye color as his or her parent? Grandparent? Does anyone have the same nose, hair type, or other feature as your parent? After they share ideas, tell the students they are going to look at photos of their classmates and their parents. Each student can partner with two or three students. Their task is to look at the photos and find ways that the children resemble their parents. (Alternative Activity: Be sure to be sensitive to children who come from a non-traditional family such as from same sex or adoptive parents. In this case, you may want to use parent/child photos of famous people or of your family. If you do so, make copies of the photos before class so that there are enough for each small group of students to work with.) 2. Explain to the students that what they discussed are physical traits. Tell them that a trait is a characteristic that can be passed down from a parent to a child, such as having the same eye color or hair color. Select several students to share with the class their ideas about which traits match their parents traits. As they share ideas, tell them you will list them on the chart titled Human Traits. 3. Next, tell students that plants and animals pass down traits to their offspring the same way humans do. Say: Today, we are going to examine some traits in animals and plants that are passed down to their offspring. First, let s talk a bit more about how traits work. Display the adult and child plants to students. Direct students to spend a few moments looking at the plants without talking. Tell them to look at the features of the plants and how the fully grown plants and their offspring are the same and different. Now, have them share their ideas with a partner. Choose several students to share ideas of the physical features in plants that are passed down to their offspring. Write them on the Plant Traits chart paper. 4. Ask students whether they have ever heard of something called DNA. Tell them that DNA plays a prominent role in how traits are passed down from adult humans, plants, and animals to their children. Explain that it is a part of our bodies that is passed on from our parents before we are born. 5. Tell students that they will now take a look at several animals to look for traits that are passed down from the adult animal to its offspring. Pass out the picture sheets to pairs of students. Allow them time to discuss the traits that they identify that are common or very similar in the adult animals and their offspring. You may choose to give each pair or small group a different animal, or you can have each group look at all of the animals. 6. Give the students the Chip Off the Old Block Handout. Read the directions aloud to the students. Allow students to complete the handout independently. 7. Finally, select a few students to share their findings with the class. The students will describe the parent and child animal they selected. They will identify the common physical features as well as the differences. As they share, record their findings on the final chart, Animal Traits. 4

5 STEPS FOR CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK Extension Activity Now that the students have learned traits that are inherited by young animals, plants, and humans from their parents, they should be able to examine more carefully specific traits in either. For this extension activity, you will guide the students in observing more specific traits found in plants. Select a plant for the students to germinate that is also readily available in adult form. Choose a plant that germinates fairly quickly. The students will plant the seeds and observe the germination, sprouting and full growth process. As they do, they will track the physical changes in the plant and compare the characteristics with those of the adult plant. Kindergarten children can create drawings or take photos as the plant begins to sprout and grow. In addition to drawing/photographing and labeling the parts of the plant as it grows in stages, first and second graders can write descriptions of how the plant is developing and becoming more like the adult plant. Sources 5

6 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK STUDENT HANDOUT Parent/Offspring Photo Collection Photo 2: Samoyed Dog Photo 1: Pony Photo 4: Baby Crocodile Photo 3: Young German Shepard 6

7 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK STUDENT HANDOUT Parent/Offspring Photo Collection Photo 5: Adult Bald Eagle Photo 6: Big Horn Sheep Photo 8: New Born Bald Eagle Photo 7: Great Gray Owl Chick 7

8 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK STUDENT HANDOUT Parent/Offspring Photo Collection Photo 9: Adult Crocodile Photo 10: Samoyed Puppies Photo 11: Horse Photo 12: German Shepard 8

9 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK STUDENT HANDOUT Parent/Offspring Photo Collection Photo 14: Big Horn Lamb Photo 13: Great Gray Owl 9

10 CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK STUDENT HANDOUT Name: Date: You have just matched adult animals with their offspring. Select an adult animal and its child or infant. Draw a sketch of the adult animal photo you received in one box and its offspring in the other box. Draw the details that show how these animals have similar traits. Label the parts of the animal in the picture that are identical or similar. What are the identifying traits that are similar in both the adult and its offspring? How were you able to identify these similar traits? 10

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