Time Required

40 minutes (Class time)
15 minutes (Prep)

Prior Knowledge Needed

Traits are inherited from parents; familiarity with traits listed on the bingo card is helpful


Copies of student pages, pen, pencil or crayon, PTC paper and hard candies if you haven't tested for this trait previously

Targeted Standards

U.S. National Science Education Standards
Grades 5-8:
Content Standard C: Life Science - Reproduction and Heredity
  • Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits. Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another.
AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy

Grades 3-5: The Living Environment: Heredity - Some likenesses between children and parents, such as eye color in human beings, or fruit or flower color in plants, are inherited.
For offspring to resemble their parents, there must be a reliable way to transfer information from one generation to the next.

Grades 6-8: The Human Organism: Human Identity - human beings have many similarities and differences.

Traits Bingo

Students cross off or color bingo squares in response to questions about their traits. This
activity is designed to be used as a review following An Inventory of My Traits, Generations of Traits, and A Tree of Genetic Traits.

Download both of these files...

Learning Objectives

  • Students will inventory their own inherited traits.
  • Students will compare traits to determine which are most and least common in the class.

Classroom Implementation

Note: One of the traits in this activity is the ability to taste PTC. If you have not already tested for this trait in a previous activity follow these steps before beginning:

1. Give each student a piece of PTC paper and instruct them to place the paper on the tip of their tongue to see if they can taste the chemical. (PTC paper can be ordered inexpensively from: Ward's Natural Science (http://www.wardsci.com), Sargent Welch (www.sargentwelch.com), or Carolina Math and Science (www.carolina.com))

2. Hand out a hard candy to each student, as the taste of PTC is bitter and
slightly unpleasant.


1. Distribute a Bingo card (above) to each student and instruct them not to mark any squares until told to do so.

2. Read the Bingo questions (above) one by one (in order or randomly), instructing students to mark the squares with an X or color them in.

3. Continue to read Bingo questions until a student obtains a bingo.

Common Misconceptions

Students may think that they inherit physical traits from aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings because family members point out resemblances among relatives. In fact, physical traits are only inherited from parents, and, by extension, grandparents. Questions #5 and #6 aim to clear up this misconception should it exist.