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ABPI Schools: Genes and Inheritance


Activity Description


DNA and Inheritance Lesson Segment
Source: (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

This resource explains and demonstrates with interactive graphics, what are genes, how they are formed, how they affect inheritance, what are chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis, fertilization, cloning, and studies a few inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis. The ability to see with graphics how genes work makes this biology topic a much more meaningful experience for students.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school and that the resources can be viewed.
  2. Review the site and identify graphics and animations that would enhance classroom instruction.
  3. Review the questions at the bottom of each page.
  4. Determine which pages you want to use.


There are a number of interactive features in this e-source, which you can use to enhance your classroom instruction.

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted. Moving the mouse over the highlighted word will show a definition of that word.
  • Quick questions: at the end of most pages or sections there is a question or set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full-screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed as one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations, and other content from the Resource Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.

Teacher Tips

There are many interactive processes in this resource. Even if you don't want to use the whole lesson, you can still use the interactive diagrams to demonstrate protein synthesis, mitosis, DNA replication, meiosis, fertilization, the inheritance of cystic fibrosis, genetic engineering to produce insulin, and more. Use the quiz at the end of each page to reaffirm understanding. There is also a quiz for the whole lesson on page 8. If you are printing from an Internet Explorer (IE) browser, please go to 'print preview' and adjust the preferred print zoom level to 85%. This will ensure that all content on the ABPI modules will print out correctly.

More Ways

Be sure to check out other topics

Program Areas

  • ASE: High School Diploma
  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation

Lesson Plan


Begin with a short discussion on traits that students believe are inherited from their parents. Prompt them to think about physical traits like eye color, hair texture, or height.
- Have students pair up and share one trait they think they have inherited and one they believe might be learned.


 Define genetics as the study of heredity and introduce key terms such as genes, alleles, dominant, and recessive using relatable examples like hair color or freckles.

- Explain that geneticists use diagrams to show how traits are passed down from parents to offspring.


- Use visual aids such as slides or the whiteboard to demonstrate how traits are inherited through genetic diagrams.

- Show simple examples of genetic diagrams and explain how to interpret them, emphasizing the role of dominant and recessive alleles.

- Engage students by asking them to identify dominant and recessive traits in the examples.

Introduce the ABPI website and demonstrate how to use it.


Divide the class into small groups and give them time to explore the website.

Provide each group with genetic diagrams handouts. 

- Instruct the groups to work together to analyze the diagrams and predict the possible traits of offspring based on the information provided.

- Circulate around the room to provide guidance and answer questions as needed.


Engagement Enhancement

Conduct a brief class discussion to review key concepts covered in the lesson, such as genes, alleles, and genetic diagrams.

- Ask students to share one thing they learned about genetics during the lesson.

- Provide positive feedback and address a



- Have students brainstorm real-life examples where understanding genetics could be useful, such as in breeding animals or predicting genetic disorders.

- Encourage students to think about how genetics might impact their own lives and the world around them.




  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Comprehension
  • Reading
    • Health
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Health and Life Science


  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
    • CCR Anchor 7 - Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
    • CCR Anchor 10 - Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.


cells, chromosome, cloning, DNA, fertilisation, gene, genes, genetic, genetics, meiosis, mitosis, mutation, protein, proteins, reproduction, allele, cell


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.