A Monster of a Project

In seventh grade Life Science, students analyze and interpret data, and utilize mathematical and computational thinking as they study living organisms. Students incorporate the scientific method and engineering design process and engage in a wide variety of hands-on labs, projects, and activities.

Recently, our seventh grade scientists applied their knowledge of simple and complex genetic traits as they designed and built their own monsters. Along the way, students conducted research and analyzed the risks and benefits of several genetic technologies including genetic modifications, selective breeding, and gene therapy.

For their project, each student designed a monster using information collected in Punnett squares, a chart that allows you to easily model and predict the inheritance traits of the offspring of two parents.

Then, they crossed their monster with a monster created by a classmate. After considering the background genetic information of their monster-to-be’s parents including skin color, ears, eyes, teeth, dorsal spikes, claws, and scales, students again used Punnett squares to chart the potential genetic outcomes of the monsters’ offspring. Using their knowledge of dominant and recessive traits, students drew four monster offspring according to the outcome of the genetic crosses. After randomly selecting one of the offspring, students used Tinkercad to create and print a 3D model.