Do Certain Physical and Mental Traits Run in the Family?

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Updated on Mar 25, 2014

Grade Level: 7th - 8th; Type: Behavioral Science & Other (Genetics)


Students will learn whether certain physical and mental traits run in the family.

Research Questions:

  • What is the 'law of segregation'?
  • What is the 'law of independent assortment'?

Genes are passed down from parent to offspring. However, the characteristics of these genes may or may not be expressed in the offspring. Offspring can instead act as carriers of the gene, therefore passing it down (and skipping) generations in the family. This explains why you may have your grandmother's nose, but your mom does not.


  • Test subjects of the same families
  • Pen and paper for notes

Experimental Procedure

  1. Study the features of people in the same family. Are any distinct? Do you see widow's peaks? Attached earlobes? Free earlobes?
  2. After study the physical features, move on to ask about personality. Ask for different opinions about this. Do you see any similarities between personality and intelligence?
  3. Record your results.

Terms/Concepts: Genes (dominant and recessive); DNA; Hereditary; Gregor Mendel; Alleles; Purebred & Hybrid


Sofia PC is currently a college student with a deep interest in science who is aspiring to become a writer. She writes about all sorts of things across all subjects including, but not limited to; science, crafts, and fashion. She hopes to become a good writer so she can share her thoughts and experiences with the world and future generations.

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