Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Fun Day 17 - Punnett Square Cookies




I fielded a question in Sunday school on Sunday morning, that had me teaching a quick sidebar lesson on genetics, and then running home to do a panicked fact check.  After being reassured by Answers in Genesis that my rusty high school biology had sufficed, I showed the video clip to my own children, and then decided to turn it into a lesson on Punnett squares.

I remembered Phyllis over at All Things Beautiful using an M&M lesson from Access Excellence to teach the same thing, but the Answer's in Genesis video uses skin pigment to fill in their Punnett's square, as a possible explanation of how so many different "races" of people could come from two original people (which was basically the question I had fielded in Sunday school), and all those squares filled with browns, and tans, and whites made me think of sugar cookie dough - naturally.  Besides, we had used up all our M&Ms playing Sudoku.

Sooo, I mixed up a batch of half and half, chocolate/vanilla sugar cookie dough (click here for the recipe), and started out with a super simple genetics lesson for the younger children.

First, I had them take small, but equal globs of each dough...


...and mix them together...


...to explain the concept of dominance.  The chocolate dough was dominant in our scenario.


Then, we used a small Punnett square to explore what sort of cookie combinations might be produced from various "parent" cookies...


...squishing the dough together...


...to hide the "recessive", vanilla dough.


The older children (ages 12-15) completed a larger square of all the possible dough combinations, using 1/2 squares of dough...


...and allowing for each combining pair to contribute two alleles (combinations of dough).


Moving from apologetics...


...to genetics...


...to snack time...


...sounds like summer fun to me.


It's great to be a homeschooler.

A note about apologetics - or "defending" the faith:  When teaching, or exploring, "How do we know the Bible is true?" type questions with science, I like to remind the children, that while the answers might seem plausible, and might even fit with what we know of science, and how we interpret the Bible, if it isn't written in Scripture, it might not be true.  A God who can create the universe out of nothing at all, is certainly capable of accomplishing His purposes in ways that might confound our understanding.  It's always a good idea to keep in mind, "the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God." (I Cor. 3:19a, NIV) and from Proverbs 30:5-6, "Every word of God proves true...do not add to His words, or He may rebuke you, and prove you a liar" (NLT).

9 comments:

Amber Hockman said...

Oh how I LOVE learning with your cookie lessons! Especially when you discussing the Bible...

Bible + Cookies = Love :0)

Cristy said...

As I say so frequently of things you come up with, "This is AWESOME." I love it. Now I want to make sugar cookies so I can explain this to my kids.

Raising a Happy Child said...

So... umm... one of the original couple was dark skinned and one was white? This is not how they are usually pictured in the works of art :)

Phyllis said...

I. LOVE. THIS. Very much.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Raising a Happy Child - I think the main idea is they could have contained whatever necessary genetic material to pass down a plethora of traits. But, whatever color they where, given their original wardrobe, I'm sure they were well tanned :)

Kari said...

The cookies look yummy. The lesson is an amazing visual.

But what I really liked best was your note on apologetics at the end. What a perfect way to explain the discrepancy between various scientific theories (that the world sometimes forgets ARE theories) and Scripture to our confused children.

Beautiful!

Caytw: Homeschool Mom said...

My mom has done this with paints, but I like cookies much better!

Kirsty said...

Raising a Happy Child - Jane Ray's beautiful "The Story of the Creation" and "Adam & Eve and the Garden of Eden" have Adam black and Eve white.

I'm an illustrator, and I used to do that (or vice versa, when the mood took me); I now tend to do them both mid-brown, with a mix of racial features.

I always think it's crazy how most illustrations show them as both white - particularly when these illustrations are done by people who take Genesis literally!

Kirsty said...

"I like to remind the children, that while the answers might seem plausible, and might even fit with what we know of science, and how we interpret the Bible, if it isn't written in Scripture, it might not be true"

This is important. I came across a creationist picture book recently which stated as a fact that Adam & Eve were mid brown colour. Not 'probably' or 'maybe' or 'it seems likely'. This is dishonest; speculation should never be statedc as fact - especially not to children.