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Administration Procedures
Grades 9-12 Performance Task
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


In this activity students will observe and analyze genetic data and use the data to predict outcomes.

Each pair of students will observe and record genetic traits, using a description of traits and a chart provided. Based on their observations, the students will predict how selected traits could be passed on to an offspring.

This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes to complete. Up to 20 minutes may be spent working together in small groups (2 or 4 students), and at least 25 minutes to complete the individual work.

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

The molecular basis of heredity

Performance Expertations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • formulating conclusions from investigational data
  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

National Science Education Standards:

8 C LS 2: Reproduction and heredity: Grades 5-8
2.4 Hereditary information is contained in genes, located in the chromosomes of each cell. Each gene carries a single unit of information. An inherited trait of an individual can be determined by one or by many genes, and a single gene can influence more than one trait. A human cell contains many thousands of different genes.

2.5 The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.

12 A SI 1: Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 9-12
1.4 Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence. Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence from their investigation.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

DAP3: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data:
Grades 9-12 g. understand how sample statistics reflect the values of population parameters and use sampling distributions as the basis for informal inference

DAP4: Understand and apply basic concepts of probability:
Grades 9-12 j. understand the concepts of conditional probability and independent events

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades 9-12

CNX3: Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics:
Grades 9-12


At this station students should have:
One Student Response Form for each student
One set of alleles per student pair
One cup per student pair
One information sheet per student pair
One calculator for each student
Sharpened pencils


The total time for this task is 45 minutes. Student work together for up to 20 minutes performing the task and recording data in the data table provided. At this point students should be instructed to complete Questions #2-6 on the Student Response Formworking alone.

Advance Preparation:

Each pair of students will need model alleles to use in this activity. Each pair of students will need two round alleles labed "D", and two round alleles labeled "d". They will also need two square alleles labeled "D", and two squares alleles labed "d".

Visually impaired blind students should not participate in this task.


  • Be careful.
  • Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures and equipment when working on science performance tasks.


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