Thursday, October 26, 2006

Of Punnett squares and pea plants

We recently finished studying genetics, and Anne-with-an-e and Betsy loved it. I have to thank them for this unit, because it was at their prompting that we tackled the topic.

Books we read:

Grandfather's Nose, Why We Look Alike or Different , by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Gregor Mendel, Father of Genetics, by Roger Klare

Genetics, by Buffy Silverman

Genetics, by Trevor Day

Understanding DNA: A Breakthrough in Medicine , by Tony Allan

Albino Animals , by Kelly Milner Halls

We found all of these books at our library (or from one through which we can obtain free interlibrary loan.) They are written for various age groups and reading levels, so I adapted them as needed. For example, Anne read most of the Mendel book, and wrote a narration for me, but I covered just a few basics about Mendel with Betsy. A couple of the books had just a wee bit more detail about reproduction than Betsy needed, so again, I tailored that for her, leaving out what was unnecessary.

We also made use of a couple of websites:

Athro Limited says it is a high school/college level site, but I found a lot of helpful things here, such as these Punnett Square examples.

And, though we did lots of Punnett squares on paper, the girls also enjoyed punching in some possibilities on this square calculator.

We had fun, learned a lot, and had great discussions (such as the one I wrote about here. And, my girls now have a better understanding of why they all have Atticus's brown eyes.

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