Teaching Science

Feb 2020

Genotype Game

Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game is a worker placement, dice-drafting game set in St. Thomas' Abbey, where Gregor Mendel performed his paradigm-shifting experiments. 1-5 players take the roles of research scientists competing to collect and validate experimental data on pea plants. Players will spend time working on the monastery grounds, simulate plant breeding with dice and Punnett Squares, and use funding to further their research opportunities.

Plan your research wisely, demonstrate your knowledge of genetics, and use the harvest schedule to your advantage to excel among your colleagues.

In Genotype, players collect experimental data on pea plants by observing how the plants inherit key traits from their parents: seed shape, flower color, pod color, and plant height. Throughout the game, players collect Pea Plant Cards that show a set of traits they are studying. Each round, the players will roll and select Offspring Dice to represent these traits. The Dice are keyed to a grid of genetic options (a Punnett Square) which will determine the distribution of available traits.

This looks like a fun little game. I backed it on Kickstarter, but it will be available for general sale later this year.

Linked in the grade 11 biology page.

In Our Time: Hybrids

In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what happens when parents from different species have offspring, despite their genetic differences. In some cases, such as the zebra/donkey hybrid in the image above, the offspring are usually infertile but in others the genetic change can lead to new species with evolutionary advantages. Hybrids can occur naturally, yet most arise from human manipulation and Darwin's study of plant and animal domestication informed his ideas on natural selection.

Linked in the grade 11 biology page.

In Our Time: Solar Wind

In Our Time is a wonderful series on BBC Radio 4.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the flow of particles from the outer region of the Sun which we observe in the Northern and Southern Lights, interacting with Earth's magnetosphere, and in comet tails that stream away from the Sun regardless of their own direction. One way of defining the boundary of the solar system is where the pressure from the solar wind is balanced by that from the region between the stars, the interstellar medium. Its existence was suggested from the C19th and Eugene Parker developed the theory of it in the 1950s and it has been examined and tested by a series of probes in C20th up to today, with more planned.

Linked in the grade 9 space unit.