Genetics Lesson Plan

Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Use this lesson on genetics to introduce students to chromosomes, alleles, genes, phenotypes and genotypes. Students will participate in two hands-on activities to illustrate the complex ideas associated with genetics.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain how genotype is related to phenotype
  • describe how a mutation can change the phenotype
  • define chromosome, allele, gene, homologous chromosomes and diploid
  • label an allele and homologous chromosomes


1.5 to 2 hours


  • Ingredients to make two ice cream sundaes (ice cream, bananas, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, cherries, a bowl, spoon and ice cream scoop), arranged at a sundae station
  • Instructions on how to build a sundae (see instruction portion in lesson plan)
  • Construction paper and scissors

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.


Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).


  • Play the video Overview of Genetics.
  • Pause at 1:46 and review concepts before beginning the first activity.


  • This activity is best conducted with a group of nine students. However, if working with an individual student, you can serve as their partner and complete the activity in that manner, achieving the same goal.
  • Have 9 students line up at the sundae station. Alternatively, take turns with your individual student to complete the process below. The goal is to build an ice cream sundae creature based on a genotype. You will need an instruction sheet that looks something like this (depending on how many students you have, you can lengthen or shorten it):
    • ATA: Get an ice cream scoop.
    • TGC: Scoop out ice cream and place it in the bowl.
    • GAG: Peel a banana and place it in the bowl next to the ice cream.
    • GGG: Get a spoon.
    • TGG: Use the spoon to take chocolate syrup out of a jar and place the syrup on the ice cream.
    • GTC: Open the whipped cream and place whipped cream on top of the ice cream.
    • TAA: Put nuts on top of the whipped cream.
    • GCA: Place sprinkles on top of the nuts.
    • TCA: Place a cherry on top.
  • Have each student complete a task (by 'reading' the three bases) and then passing the sundae down the line. Alternatively, you can serve as an individual student's partner and take turns completing the tasks. At the end, you should have a complete sundae. Take a moment to relate the video to the activity. For example, the three letters that code for a specific task are found on the DNA. Students were 'reading' the genotype, and the finished sundae is the phenotype. You can give the sundae a species name and pretend it is a living thing.

  • Continue the video, stopping at 2:30.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account