Monster Genetics Lesson: Traits, Heredity, and Fun…ALL IN ONE!

So we just finished a chapter in Science and that means it was time for a lab or experiment.  Last we hit on this genetics lesson…which can be super tough for 5th! Explaining the concept and having the students truly understand was tricky. Genetics lesson rank just about up there with circuits for level of fun to teach!

We started out by watching the free Brainpop video on traits and heredity (its even one of their FREE ones) that reinforced our concepts and vocab from the book.  I sometimes do these videos first to introduce a topic or do them after as a review and stop for vocab.  We do the quiz together and reinforce what we have been talking about.


After our big test, I wanted to take it a step further.  My students really seemed interested in this topic so I came up with Monster Genetics Lesson!  We did this lab as a fun way to review dominant and recessive traits!

Basically you play “rock, paper, scissors” to come up with which gene you inherit from that parent and then you display the dominant or recessive trait based on the 2 genes (genotype) you have.

My students had a BLAST being so creative while reinforcing what we already learned and using the vocab we covered.

I included monster bodies, directions, lab sheets, Punnett square pages to cross your monsters (for higher level classes), dominant/recessive trait posters, samples, and more…. click any of the pictures to check it out!

It was great so fun to have some theme worked into upper elementary.  I love that I got a chance to do something October related for the season all while connecting it to curriculum.

We’ve had some more monster themed goodness happening as well….stay tuned…

I love using Monsters around the fall – they are so easy to incorporate whether it be in my upper elementary science or for fun writing activities! I even have Monster Metaphors that get into the figurative language aspect. I think it is because they are so cute (or can be!) and the students really get into them as well!

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  1. Anonymous on October 4, 2015 at 8:36 am

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  2. Nicole Ueno on February 3, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Hi! Can you tell me how the "rock paper scissors" part works? Are the students working in pairs? How do they determine which allele to use?

  3. Rhianna on August 30, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I have the same question as Nicole – how does rock paper scissors work? I've seen the flip a coin but not the mom and dad part.

  4. Julene Letsche on January 27, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for providing these details.

  5. Myra Brooks on April 26, 2022 at 11:29 am

    I have the same question as above. How does the “paper, rock, scissor” part work?

    • Amber Ernst on April 28, 2022 at 9:04 am

      Play RPS with a parter – the winner writes down a dominant allele and the other writes a recessive allele. Keep playing until you have all the alleles (letters for the phenotype) and you can build your monsters. You can roll dice or use another random method to set as well.

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