Grant Spotlight – Crazy Traits

GRANT TITLE
Crazy Traits

GRANT AUTHOR, SCHOOL, IMPACT & FUNDING
Cheryl Austin – Merrillville High School, Biology Dept. – 500 students – $1218.84

GRANT PERIOD
Round 29 for Fall 2016; implemented in Fall 2016

GRANT APPLICATION
“Crazy Traits” is a hands-on, modeling kit that engages students while teaching them the role that chance plays, in an organism’s inherited traits. Additionally, it gives students an opportunity to model things they can’t see, such as the genotypes of parents and the alleles inherited from each, and those of the offspring resulting from parent crosses. Student engagement level will increase because they will be having fun while using “Crazy Traits” to study how traits are passed from one generation to the next. They will benefit by seeing the results of genetics crosses that can only be done, currently, using paper-based activities. These 3-D models should significantly enhance understanding and retention of genetics concepts that are often difficult for students to comprehend.

GRANT OUTCOMES
Biology 1B students discovered that there are two types of traits: dominant and recessive. Using “Crazy Traits” kits, purchased via a Merrillville Education Foundation grant, students developed a model for how probability influences genetic variation. Students flipped coins to determine which alleles a Crazy Creature offspring would inherit from its parents. Students then built their creature and compared them to the creations of their classmates. They discovered how genetically diverse the population can be even with just 14 traits, all while using “Crazy Traits”! The program has been successful for two years now and continues to give Freshmen students a hands-on model that enriches their concept of genetics.

PHOTO GALLERY

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