Try these activities in your home, at a family reunion, with a
group, or at work. Each activity provides an engaging way to learn
about traits or better understand disease risk. Just click on the
PDF icons to download and print both English and Spanish language
versions. Have fun!
Basic Trait Activites
AN INVENTORY OF MY TRAITS
Students take an inventory of their own easily-observable genetic traits and compare those inventories with other students in groups.
Review inherited traits with a fun bingo game!
A RECIPE FOR TRAITS
Build your own dog using a "DNA recipe"!
Select strips of paper that represent DNA, decode the DNA "recipe" to reveal your
dog's physical traits, and draw it. You'll learn that differences in DNA lead to differences in traits.
A TREE OF GENETIC TRAITS
Find the most and least common combination of three traits in your group!
Participants mark traits for tongue rolling, earlobe attachment and PTC tasting on
paper leaves and organize them on a large "tree of traits".
This activity works best with medium to large groups.
For a description of many of the traits used in these activities, visit Observable Human Characteristics.
HANDY FAMILY TREE
A family tree is a picture that shows members of your family. Do this activity to create your own family tree!
Family members will learn about inherited and acquired traits as they create
a handprint for their family tree. This art project is great for families of
TRAITS AND TRADITIONS
Can you think of a trait you have inherited? How about a trait that you have acquired by
learning or tradition?
Play this memory game with your family or group to discover some common traits and traditions!
What inherited traits do you share in common with others? What traits are unique to you? Do this activity to find out!
We all have inherited traits that we share in common with others. Yet, every person has a combination
of traits that is unique to them. Individuals of all but the youngest ages can participate
in this fun activity. It also is a great ice-breaker for groups.
Heredity and Health Activities
WHAT'S YOUR FAMILY HEALTH STORY?
Use this guide to gather and record your family health history. Directions for constructing
a Health Family Tree are included.
PICK THE RISK
Learn how common chronic diseases (such as heart disease) run in families and how risk
for developing these diseases is influenced by the combined action of several genes.
Track and record the passage of colored pom poms (representing genes) through three
generations of a family. Discover each person's risk for developing heart disease.
What does it mean to be "at risk" for developing a common disease such as heart disease?
Do this active demonstration with a group to learn what it means to be in a "risk group"
and how lifestyle choices can modify your risk.
Basic Trait Activities:
Funding provided by grant 51006176 from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Precollege Science Education Initiative for Biomedical Research.
Heredity and Health Activities:
Funding was provided by a grant from the Utah Department of Health, Chronic Disease Genomics Program
Family Activities and Spanish languague versions of all activities on this page:
Funding was provided by a subcontract with the March of Dimes through their cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (U33MC00157).