Creating a Pedigree to Understand Heredity
Steven’s Family Tree
II. Lesson Outline #2
a. Lesson Title
Steven’s Family Tree Pedigree
b. Lesson Author
c. Grade Level / Subject Area
This lesson is part of an underclass, high school Biology course.
d. Time Allotted for Lesson
The lesson requires approximately three hours of contact time.
e. Short Description of Lesson
Students discuss the story of Steven’s family and a rare trait (two thumbs) evident
in his family, record data from the story and discussion, and create a visual
representation of Steven’s family tree.
f. Classroom Layout and Grouping of Students
The discussion will take place in an open group at tables and the creation of a
visual will take place in a computer lab.
g. Grade Level Content Expectations
The following standards are based on the Michigan High School Content
B1 Inquiry, Reflection, and Social Implications
B1.1 Scientific Inquiry
B1.1D Identify patterns in data and relate them to theoretical
B1.1E Describe a reason for a given conclusion using evidence
from an investigation.
B4.1 Genetics and Inherited Traits
B4.1c Differentiate between dominant, recessive, co-dominant,
polygenic, and sex-linked traits.
B4.1d Explain the genetic basis for Mendel’s laws of segregation
and independent assortment.
B4.1e Determine the genotype and phenotype of monohybrid
crosses using a Punnett Square.
B4.4x Genetic Variation
B4.4c Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may
be silent or result in phenotypic change in an organism and in its
h. NETS•S (2007) Performance Indicators for the Grade Level
The following standards are based on the International Society for Technology in
Education/National Technology Standards (ISTE/NETS) for all grade levels.
1. Standard 1 - Creativity and Innovation
a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or
2. Standard 3 - Research and Information Fluency
c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based
on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
d. Process data and report results.
3. Standard 4 - Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
c. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make
i. Instructional Objectives
Upon completion of the Steven’s Family Tree Pedigree lesson, students will be
1. Recognize patterns and variations in data after an investigation to make
inferences of the causes of these patterns and variations,
2. Create a visual exhibit to present data and demonstrate the reasons for
patterns and variations, and
3. Explain the effects of genetic variations within a family.
j. Materials, Resources, and Technology
1. One copy per student of the story about Steven’s Family.
2. A concept-mapping tool, such as Inspiration or Microsoft Word.
3. A classroom set of computers to run this necessary software.
k. Students’ Present Level of Performance and Skills
Prior to the lesson, the students will have completed the aforementioned Fruit Fly
experiment and should have a working knowledge of how traits are passed on
from one organism to another organism.
l. Instructional Procedures
To engage students, the concept of mutations is extended to those found in
humans. A discussion then centers on a fictitious family and the appearance of a
mutation in various family members. At first, a pattern is not obvious as some
exhibit the trait but others do not. Before the students begin to create a family
tree of traits, the concept of pedigrees is modeled and practiced with several other
species. The students then take the knowledge of pedigrees and apply it to their
family trees to reveal the genes underlying the apparent traits. The students create
their pedigrees using the aforementioned concept-mapping software, Inspiration,
to later discuss with peers. The assessment comes in the process of students
m. Supplemental Activities: Extensions and Remediation
Practice exercises with the class or on paper usually remedy this need, if
n. Adaptations for Special Learners
Students with special needs may participate in the discussion of Steven’s Family
Tree. Special care must be taken to discuss the social importance of diversity in
humans. Students needing assistance using the Inspiration software may pair up
with another student. The relatively difficult part of this lesson is creating a
Formative assessments involve the accuracy pf practice pedigrees as a group or on
paper. Students’ digital pedigrees will be assessed for accuracy and creativity in
p. Student products
Here is an example of a student’s pedigree created using Microsoft Word.
III. TPACK Analysis of Lesson #2
a. TPACK Components
1. Content (C)
The principles of dominant, recessive, co-dominant, polygenic, and
The genetic basis for Mendel’s laws of segregation and independent
Determining genotypes and phenotypes of monohybrid crosses using a
Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may be silent
or result in phenotypic change in an organism and in its offspring.
2. Pedagogy (P)
Modeling and Answer Questions - The teacher performs the steps in
creating a pedigree. Then, students practice answering questions and
Group Discussion - The teacher engages learners and gauges their
preconceived notions by prompting a discussion on mutations in a
Create a Concept Map – The teacher facilitates the students to create a
pedigree using concept-mapping software.
3. Technology (T)
Students utilize Inspiration concept-mapping software to create a pedigree
of Steven’s family tree.
4. Content Knowledge (CK)
Having a major in Biology and teaching genetics for several years, I am
confident in presenting the concepts and lessons.
5. Pedagogy Knowledge (PK)
Most Biology concepts, including genetics, are initially abstract and
difficult to understand. Beginning a lesson with a motivating discussion
and modeling of a concept, students can create their own pedigree. The
learning from these exercises becomes concrete when a tangible pedigree
is produced via Inspiration. The highly visual representation of the
pedigree stimulates sharing of knowledge.
6. Technology Knowledge (TK)
In this particular lesson, Inspiration is being used but any concept-
mapping tool may work. I am more familiar with using Microsoft Office
applications for this task. Using Inspiration will be a learning experience
for myself, as well as for many students.
b. Complex Interplay Between PCK, TCK, TPK, and TPACK
7. Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)
The complexity of extracting relationships from reading and discussing
the apparent genetic traits of a family requires the use of discussion-based
pedagogical strategies for students to construct knowledge. Through this
group discussion, students can note key facts to later aide in creating a
concept map to include the less obvious, underlying genetic factors.
8. Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)
The Steven’s Family Tree lesson requires the creation of a visual
representation of understanding (i.e. a concept map). Instead of drawing a
concept map, students can harness the power of software to create visually
appealing maps that may be distributed easily online.
9. Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK)
Using concept-mapping software relies on an appropriate approach to
teaching pedigrees. In this case, the discussion, modeling, and practice of
creating pedigrees prepare students for using Inspiration to demonstrate
understanding. Without a foundational knowledge, the use of the software
10. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)
Group discussion and rigor create a pathway for students to construct the
complex pedigree representing Steven’s family. Concept mapping
engages students to create an exhibit of understanding to display to others.
The choice to use a technological concept-mapping tool for students to
demonstrate learning is also an effective mode of assessment. Concept
mapping helps educators understand what students know by the process of
externalizing this knowledge; it provides an observable and assessable
record of the student’s conceptual schemata and starting knowledge points
(Angelo and Cross, 1993).