It’s In the Genes

Scripture: Genesis 31-33

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the story of Jacob leaving Laban focusing especially on the sheep and their appearance.
  • Students will learn that although the sheep were a miracle of God, generally appearance and some abilities of animals and people are determined by genetics.
  • Students will learn some genes are more common than others.
  • Students will participate in an activity to help them begin to understand the concept of common and rare genes.

Guiding Question: What do genes have to do with our appearance and some of our abilities?

Materials: none (optional: paper and markers if you would like student to create graphs on paper)

Procedure: Review the story of Jacob, focusing especially on how the appearance of the sheep changed to favor Jacob. Explain to the students, that although this was a miracle the way we look and some of the things our bodies can do are because of the genes we get from our birth parents. Most sheep are normally solid color. This means that this solid color gene is more common than the speckled or striped gene.

Tell students they will be trying to determine which genes are more common in their class and if that matches how common the gene is in all people. Call students to separate into groups by their various traits below. Record the number of students in each group. So for example, if the trait is “hair color” you would have a group for black, one for brown, one for blond and one for red. For some traits you may have one or more empty groups.

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Dimples
  • Need glasses (myopia)
  • Bent little finger (flat on table little finger bends toward 4th finger)
  • Ear lobe – attached or free
  • Hair on one or more fingers
  • Clasp hands – which thumb is on top – right or left
  • Right or left handed
  • Hairline shape – straight or window’s peak
  • Freckles

Additional Questions:

  • What medical conditions are genetic?

Supplemental Activity: Have more advanced students research and find several medical conditions which are genetic.

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