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Students will be able to read and understand a pedigree chart.

Big Idea

Pedigrees are not just for dogs.


5 minutes

I start this lesson by asking the students if they have ever heard the word pedigree, and ask what that word means to them. I show the first two slides of the Pedigree presentation (which includes a Star Wars and a Harry Potter family tree), and ask what they think the different lines depicted mean.


20 minutes

I continue with the slideshow, and distribute the Pedigree Charts worksheet when we reach slide 7. The students then use the worksheet as they follow along in the presentation.

The following video covers some tips for using the slideshow.


15 minutes

Students complete the rest of the Pedigree sheet with a partner (student work). This allows the students to collaborate with each other searching for the best explanation (SP7), and analyze pedigree charts (SP4). Through the work and conversation, the students are engaging in using the pedigree charts (models) to understand and predict behaviors of biological systems (CCC Systems and System Models Models are limited in that they only represent certain aspects of the system under study).

Watch as I work with a struggling student.

Note: This student will need extra practice to be able to do this confidently on his own. Read my reflection on Practice Towards Mastery to see how I find resources when this happens.

If students are done early, they may create a pedigree chart that tracks one of the traits in their Monster Family.


5 minutes

To close this lesson, I have the students use write a post-it note on my reflective chart. This chart is posted at the front of the room, and gives me a quick reference into student thinking and attitudes in the classroom. 

Here is a sample of what the students stated, which along with what I observed during the lesson, told me more guided practice was needed.