Genetics is the study of heredity, the passing on of physical characteristics from parents to their children through genes.

Theory behind the hook

We inherit many characteristics from our parents. These characteristics are controlled by genes. The genetics hook focuses on this fact and looks at interesting traits students themselves may possess.

How this hook works

This hook involves introducing students to different physical characteristics that humans possess. This is an activity that sees students checking whether they posses various physical characteristics. These physical characteristics are explained as inherited characteristics. The term genetics is then introduced as the study of these characteristics.

Questions & Answers

  • Can you list a trait that you share with your brothers and sisters?
    Hair colour, eye colour, height.
  • Non-inherited characteristics are learned, can you list three different learned characteristics?
    The ability to speak one or more languages, the ability to cycle, an interest in sport, the ability to read/write etc.

Cross Curricular Links

Links can be made to Junior Certificate Home Economics and S.P.H.E.


CensusAtSchool is an on-line international annual project that collects real data relevant to students. It provides a snapshot of the characteristics, attitudes and opinions of those students who have completed questionnaires. Students can take part, inputting their own data or data can be downloaded on characteristics (inherited and non-inherited) which can be used in class for numerous calculations e.g. to calculate the percentage of people within the class possessing a certain inherited characteristic e.g. brown eyes.