I love blasting relevant music for a lesson whenever something “fits.” Thus, playing I WILL SURVIVE by Gloria Gaynor or STAYIN’ ALIVE by the Bee Gees sets the stage for an awesome lesson in genetics. Add some cackle after you say some Hunger Games quote like, “May the odds ever be in your favor,” and your students are hooked.
One of my favorite activities I do with my students while teaching genetics is some FANTASTICALLY creative game about acquired and learned traits using imaginary creatives known as the narfs. Author is unknown to me. The activity is on the last few pages of the document found here. I introduce survival of the fittest in a mini-lesson as well as several lessons on learned or inherited traits first. Then I introduce the narfs and have my students pretend they are furry little creatures….although that is up for debate since they ARE 5th grade creatures. This is a highly imaginative activity where students randomly receive different traits and may or may not survive four different scenarios. You may want to tweak the handout, but this is a highly rated activity when it comes to genetics. Love this!