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Introduction to Wisconsin Fast Plants® Phenotypes

A Carolina Essentials™ Investigation

Overview

In this scientific inquiry activity, students investigate phenotypes using Wisconsin Fast Plants® seeds. After the seeds germinate, students identify the phenotypes and the possible associated genotype. Students can investigate possible Mendelian crosses by completing Punnett squares using the phenotypes they identified. If time permits, students can perform plant crosses of different phenotypes and determine if the predicted phenotypes from the Punnett squares appear in the F1 generations.

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Teacher Notes
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Student Worksheet
Grade & Discipline
9-12

Life Science—Mendelian Genetics, Variation of Traits. Recommended for grades 9-12.

Time Requirements
Prep30 min
Activity30 min

Teacher Prep: 30 min (Note: Seeds take 2 to 3 days to germinate.)
Student Activity: 30 min for germination setup on day 1; 10 min for days 2 to 4 for observation; 30 min on day 5 for observation and conclusions

Safety Requirements
Safety Goggles Recommended

Overview

In this scientific inquiry activity, students investigate phenotypes using Wisconsin Fast Plants® seeds. After the seeds germinate, students identify the phenotypes and the possible associated genotype. Students can investigate possible Mendelian crosses by completing Punnett squares using the phenotypes they identified. If time permits, students can perform plant crosses of different phenotypes and determine if the predicted phenotypes from the Punnett squares appear in the F1 generations.

Save & Print
Teacher Notes
Save & Print
Student Worksheet

Essential Question

What are the typical variations in traits, or phenotypes, found in Wisconsin Fast Plants®?

Investigation Objectives

  1. Observe differences in phenotypes in Wisconsin Fast Plants®.
  2. Predict the possible phenotypes resulting from various parent crosses.

Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS)

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

  • Students will develop a model of variation in traits for Wisconsin Fast Plants®. They will use their model to predict the phenotypes of F1 generation plants.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  • LS3.B: Variation of traits among Wisconsin Fast Plants® will be determined through seed germination investigations.

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns

  • Observed patterns of traits in Wisconsin Fast Plants® guide organization and classification of trait variation. Relationships among inherited traits can be traced.

Safety & Disposal

Ensure that students understand and adhere to safe laboratory practices when performing any activity in the classroom or lab. Use personal protective equipment such as safety glasses or goggles, gloves, and aprons when appropriate. Require students to adhere to all laboratory safety rules.

Dry plants out completely, place them in a resealable bag, and dispose of them in the trash. Plants may be allowed to continue to grow for additional investigations.

Procedures

If using paper towels instead of filter paper, cut circles to fit the bottom of the petri dishes.

Fill spray bottles for watering.

Student

Teacher

  1. Student: Place a filter paper or paper towel disk in the bottom of a petri dish. The paper should cover the bottom.
  1. Teacher: If you are using paper towels, cut them into disks to fit the bottom of the petri dishes prior to the activity. If the paper towels are thin, 2 layers may be necessary to keep the seeds moist.
  1. Space the 10 seeds out evenly on the filter paper.
  1. To save time, count out 10 seeds for each student or group before the activity.
  1. Use the spray bottle to moisten the seeds and paper. The paper should be damp, but not sitting in a puddle.
  1. Check the petri dishes. Make sure seeds are separated and moist, but not standing in water.
  1. Cover the petri dish and place it under a flexible lamp or plant light bank.
  1. Place all seeds under intense fluorescent light for the duration of the investigation.
  1. Observe the seeds daily for 4 or 5 days, or as directed by your teacher. Record your observations on the data sheet.
  1. Seeds should germinate in 2 to 3 days.
  1. Use the spray bottle to mist the seeds as needed. They should be kept moist, but not wet.
  1. Remind students to observe the seedlings carefully. They need to look at stem and leaf color. Color may change in intensity over time.

 

data and observations table

Data

Record the number of seeds germinated each day for 4 or 5 days, or as your teacher instructs. Identify the color of the stem and the color of the leaves for each seed germinated.

 

data and observations table

Data will vary by group depending on the mixture of seeds they selected.

Analysis & Discussion

  1. What are the 2 possible stem phenotypes?

    Purple, hairy
    Non-purple, hairless

  2. What are the 2 possible leaf phenotypes?

    Yellow-green leaves and green leaves

  3. Given your data, which phenotype appears to be dominant? Why?

    Answers may vary depending on data, but purple, hairy is the dominant stem color and green leaf is the dominant leaf color.

  4. How could you determine if a phenotype is inherited?

    Cross a green stem plant with another green stem plant. Harvest and plant the seeds. If the plants that grow from the seeds have green stems, the phenotype is inherited. If some plants have purple stems, the green stem phenotype may not be inherited, and more study is needed.

  5. Using the genotypes provided by your teacher, perform a dihybrid homozygous cross for purple stem color and green leaves with green stem color and yellow-green leaves. What are the phenotypes of the F1 generation?

    F1 are all purple stem and green leaf, heterozygous.

    ANL-YGR/ANL-YGR × anl-ygr/anl-ygr

    data and observations table

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, these products.

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