Life Cycles

This lesson plan focuses on genes and heredity by relating it to each individual student's life. Students will document physical characteristics of their family members as a way of understanding how traits are passed on from one generation to the next. There is a section for vocabulary and assessment suggestions. This source also includes supplemental links to help facilitate background knowledge on genetics. Students will understand how traits are passed down from parents to offspring by looking at their own families for reference. This will also give an opportunity for students to discuss what is NOT passed through genes. For example, the teacher could include a section that talks about how environmental factors instead of genetics can influence favorite school subject or favorite sport.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0007.4.2
Observe that offspring resemble their parents.
GLE 0107.4.2
Describe ways in which animals closely resemble their parents.
GLE 0207.4.2
Realize that parents pass along physical characteristics to their offspring.
GLE 0307.4.2
Recognize common human characteristics that are transmitted from parents to offspring.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 


Students will:

  • define the terms "genes" and "heredity"
  • identify learned and inherited behaviors
  • describe and compare family traits and characteristics

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints


  • Paper and pencils
  • Computer with Internet access (optional)