Genetics: You Are Unique

This lesson developed by Reach Out!

Guiding Question

  What are some of my inherited traits?





  1. Every person has his or her own looks, traits, and characteristics. Every person is unique.
  2. Some traits are inherited.




  1. Hand-Out
  2. Pencil

Room Preparation

No special needs

Safety Precautions

No special needs

Procedures and Activity


  1. Look around our group. Is anyone else here just like you? Every person you know, or ever will know, is unique. No two people are just alike (even identical twins).
  2. Many of our traits or characteristics are “inherited” or passed down to us from our parents.
  3. Today, we are going to identify some of our genetic or inherited traits. Then you will go home and see if your parents have the same traits. If you have a trait, then usually at least one of your parents will, too.


  1. Give students hand-outs. Review traits we are looking for, how to decide if you have the trait and how to document it on the hand-out.
  2. Let students complete the activities on the hand-out.
  3. Share findings with the group.
  4. Have the students take the hand-out home so they can see and document their parents’ traits.

Closing - Original Question

Ask again, “What are some of my inherited traits?”


Let each student share which traits they have and which traits their parents have. Listen for evidence that they understand the concepts of genetics and the inheritability of traits.

Extension Ideas

  1. Ask students to expand their charts of inherited traits. Brainstorm traits they could research, such as color-blindness, bloodtype, hair color, etc. After research and documentation, students can share their finding either orally or in a written report.
  2. Have students make thumb- and footprints. They can dip into a stamp pad or paint. Look at the design of lines and rings. See if anyone else has the same print. Share why we can use these prints to track people, identify thieves, and tell the difference between newborn babies in the hospital.

Careers Related to the Lesson Topic

Prerequisite Vocabulary

Learning how you are related to or linked to your origin

Passed down from your parents

Personal Characteristics, things about you—such as eye color, skin color, and blood type—that are specific to you

One of a kind

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Last amended 1 May 03