Modeling Selective Breeding with Starburst®
In this activity students will model the process of selective breeding using Starburst® candies to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this breeding technique.
Time to Complete
- Selective Breeding student worksheet, 1 copy per student
- Starburst® candies* in red, yellow and orange; 3 per student
- Opaque cups (foam cups or colored plastic that students cannot see through); 1 per every 2 students
- Selective Breeding slide deck
- Electronic device for researching information
- Teacher Guide for reference
*Each candy represents a trait or phenotype. This activity does not intend to model allele combinations. Starburst® candies were chosen for the activity because they have no allergens and are individually wrapped.
- Give each student one copy of the Selective Breeding handout and 1 cup with 3 Starburst® candies.
- Instruct students to begin by reading page 1 of their handout. Explain that they will be learning more about corn and some of the genetic traits that improve the productiveness of the plant.
- Guide students to begin following the step-by-step instructions beginning on page 2 of the handout. If desired, you can use the Selective Breeding slide deck to help guide students through the activity.
- Once students have completed the activity, check for understanding. Refer to page 3 of the teacher key for clarification if needed. Review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Selective breeding is more effective than random crossing to obtain specific traits in offspring.
- Some traits are controlled by multiple genes.