Heredity and Genetics Lesson Plan: The Crazy Plant Shop Science Game

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this genetics lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the genetic information that is contained in the chromosomes of each cell. Students will use an online interactive game to analyze changes in traits that can occur over several generations. Students will also determine the probabilities for genotype and phenotype and provide evidence of how biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species on Earth today.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explain that information is contained in genes in the chromosomes of each cell.
  2. Analyze changes in traits that can occur over several generations.
  3. Explain why offspring from sexual reproduction are likely to have diverse characteristics.

Materials:

  • LCD projector or interactive whiteboard
  • Student computers with internet access

Vocabulary:

inherit; trait, dominant; recessive; generation; gene; offspring; Punnet square; heredity; genetics

Preparation:

Preview the game (you can watch the Game Trailer on the Filament Games website) and familiarize yourself with the basics of game play. In Crazy Plant Shop, students learn about plant genetics by taking on the role of a budding (pun intended) young botanist who operates a plant shop that specializes in rare and exotic breeds of plants. They make breeding selections to create new plants, create specific plants for customers, and take their best creation to compete at the World's Fair.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Build background knowledge by showing students the Heredity movie. Turn on closed captioning to aid students in comprehension.
  2. Project the Activity for students to see and discuss it, or have students work in pairs to complete it. Afterward, talk with the class about the Punnett square. How is it useful in helping us understand inherited characteristics? Discuss the "Think About It" question at the bottom of the page: What does probability have to do with heredity? What questions do students have about genetics and heredity?
  3. Tell students they will have a chance to learn more about their questions and ideas through an interactive game. Allow them to explore the Crazy Plant Shop Game in pairs for about 20 minutes.
  4. If students have individual logins through My BrainPOP, they’ll be able to take snapshots during game play to capture significant moments and reflect on their work. Clicking on the snapshot tool generates a thumbnail image which is stored on the bottom left of the screen. At any point during game play, students can click on their snapshot(s) and type a caption or response to a prompt, and save or submit it to your teacher’s account. Check out Crazy Plant Shop: Additional Features for My BrainPOP for more information and specific snapshot prompts you can give students during Crazy Plant Shop game play.
  5. Bring students back to a whole class discussion. How did the Punnet Square determine which traits the offspring would have in the Breed Machine? Which choices from the Plant Catalog have the most potential to create new and interesting plants? Were there any plant combinations that didn't work well? Why not? Which game play strategies produced the most successful plants?
  6. Continue your instruction on heredity using other BrainPOP movies (such as Genetics) and curriculum resources. Talk with students about the similarities and differences between heredity in plants and heredity in animals.
  7. At the end of your unit, have students revisit the game on their own or with a partner. Challenge them to create a plant that wins the World's Fair in the game. Allow at least 20 minutes for students to play the game.
  8. Encourage students to reflect orally and/or in writing about their experiences with the game. What type of new plant was their best creation? What made the plant so successful? What are the implications for breeding new types of plants, both in the game and in real life? What are the connections to human and animal genetics?

Extension Activity:

Have students complete the Graphic Organizer to analyze how their own physical appearance is inherited from their parents.

Be sure to check out our other Science Games in GameUp!