Estimated Lesson Duration:

2-3 class periods


Students learn how genes are passed down from parents to child; how genes determine traits, and how environmental factors affect the expression of the genome.  This lesson begins with the Desert Vista High School Genotype to Phenotype Simulation Booklet and once the students have selected their baby’s genome they will add a layer of epigenetics onto their baby’s DNA and draw the resulting adult.

Background: The epigenome is a layer of markers that are placed on, or taken off of, your DNA when you’re exposed to certain environmental factors. Your DNA is set at birth and does not change unless mutated but your epigenome is more fluid and affects the way your DNA is expressed. (For more information, see Online Resources and Teacher References at the end of this lesson)

Key Concepts and Standards:

Key Concepts

Genome, epigenome, epigenetics, DNA, genotype, phenotype


Download the summary sheet about how this lesson meets standards

The standards listed were identified using key concepts from each individual lesson. These key concepts were aligned with the specific Oregon State Standards, Common Core Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards that apply specifically to each individual lesson.

Teachers may consult the Oregon Department of Education’s website for additional terms related to each lesson.


Preparations/ Materials



Lesson Worksheets

  • Your Baby’s Genotype, Phenotype and More, Oh My! Table
  • Epigenetic Scenarios Sheet
  • Scenario Cards (print one-sided)
  • Your Baby’s Environment and Epigenome
  • Drawing of Adult


1)      Students use ‘Genotype to Phenotype Simulation Booklet’ from Desert Vista High School site to create their baby’s genome.

2)      (Optional) Each student fills in the ‘Your Baby’s Genotype, Phenotype and More, Oh My!’ table and calculates the probability of each genotype and phenotype.  It can also be used as a table to draw all of the baby’s individual phenotypes in order to facilitate the final drawing of the baby.

3)      In groups, students read the Epigenetic Scenario sheet and underline the environmental factors that caused the child’s epigenetic result.

4)      Cut the Scenario Cards along the solid lines and fold them along the dotted line.  Drop each card 3 times and record the number of times each card fell on the Negative scenario in the ‘Your Baby’s Environment and Epigenome’ .  Complete the chart by circling the resulting epigenetic result.

5)      Each student draws their baby’s adult body based on what they have learned about its genetics and epigenetics.  Organs and body shape should be included in order to show the epigenetics effects.

Reflection (optional): Student can write a biography of their child’s life and how it was impacted by genetics, lifestyle choices and other environmental factors.


Downloadable Lesson and Supporting Materials

Lesson Plans