Pipe Cleaner Babies

Curated and Reviewed by Lesson Planet
This Pipe Cleaner Babies activity also includes:

Ever been told you have your father's eyes? How did it happen? Young biologists get a hands-on experience in meiotic gene expression with a fun pairs-based activity. Participants use pipe cleaner chromosomes with trait beads to make offspring then analyze the results using Punnett squares.

83 Views 68 Downloads NGSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas
  • As the activity is designed for 12 mother-father pairs, ensure classmates are working in groups of two
  • The included worksheet checks understanding in chunks; having some working prior knowledge of the process of meiosis, construction of Punnett squares, dominant versus recessive traits, and x-linked traits is desirable 
Classroom Considerations
  • Preparations for the activity can be somewhat time-consuming, plan to have baggies labeled and ready prior to working it into your lesson plans
  • teacher notes and prep link provides helpful tips and pictures for creating all materials; for a class of 24, you need the following amounts of each material: 36 white pipe cleaners, six blue pipe cleaners, 18 pink pipe cleaners, 36 ivory beads, 12 red beads, 24 blue beads, 24 grey beads, 24 purple beads, and 12 clear beads—total amounts are based on using 1/2 pipe cleaners for "long" chromosomes and 1/4 pipe cleaners for "short" chromosomes
  • Worksheet allows for formative checks before actual data collection to make sure everyone is on track
  • Paired learning creates collaboration around the fundamentals of what can be a challenging topic in any biology class
  • Pipe cleaners provide a great visual to help pupils that struggle with genetic concepts
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