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The Odds of Being You: A zoomonster from planet PlanktoniaFeatured science projectScience project video

Procedure

For this science fair project, let's put on our jet packs and head to the planet "Planktonia" to perform some breeding experiments. Students, heed this warning: keep your breathing mask on at all times, and please, do not swim in the water!!

  1. Use the key provided ("Zoomonsters of planet Planktonia") to design your "zoomonster". To do this you are going to perform 10 coin tosses, one for each of the traits described by the key. If you get heads, you will choose the dominant trait under the heads column. If you get tails, you will choose the recessive trait under the tails column. As you perform the coin tosses, make a list of the traits that you get with each toss.
  2. You will use the list of traits that you made in step 1 to draw your zoomonster. Because there are ten traits each with two alleles, there are many possible outcomes for your zoomonster. Examples of what your zoomonster might look like are provided.
  3. Once you have designed your zoomonster, pair up with a friend who has designed his or her own zoomonster. If you are doing this activity alone, design two zoomonsters separately by following steps 1 and 2 twice.
  4. Now you are going to calculate the probability of getting certain phenotypes with your zoomonster pairing. The first step is to use the key to determine the genotypes of the two zoomonsters. The genotype is the sequence of letters used to represent the phenotypes of your zoomonsters. Refer to the table provided for the phenotypes and their corresponding genotypes. You may notice that the dominant traits have two possible genotypes, homozygous dominant (AA) or heterozygous (Aa). To simplify, you are going to choose the homozygous dominant genotype.
  5. Once you have determined your zoomonster's genotype, pick 4 traits that you will make predictions about using a punnett square for each trait separately. For example, you can choose body shape, antenna type, bioluminescence and appendage type. You will make four punnett squares, one for each of your four chosen traits. Refer to the example provided for assistance with setting up a punnett square.

As an example, let's say you have chosen to make predictions about possible antenna types in the offspring given your zoomonster pairing. Your zoomonster has whip antenna (genotype dd), while your partner's zoomonster has bugle antenna (genotype DD). To predict the genotype of the offspring, set your punnett square up like this:

 

Alleles from the father

(bugle antenna)

 D

D

Alleles from the mother
(whip antenna)


  d  




 Dd




Dd


  d  



 Dd



Dd

Welcome to the planet Planktonia!

It's time to create your Zoomonster planktonites!

All students heed this warning:

Do not swim in the water and please keep your breathing mask on at all times!!

 

Trait

Heads
(Dominant)

Tails
(Recessive)

Body shape

Sphere

Bell

Body type

Chitinous exoskeleton

Gelatinous

Appendage type

Cilia

Tentacles

Antennae type

Bugle

Whip

Antennae #

One

Two

Eyespot #

One

Two

Eyespot color

Red

Green

Locomotion

Spiraling

Jet propulsion

Behavior

Colonial

Solitary

Bioluminescence

Yes

No


Table 1. Coin toss traits.

 

   

Dominant

Recessive

Trait

Allele

Genotype

Phenotype

Genotype

Phenotype

Body shape

A,a

AA, Aa

Sphere

aa

Bell

Body type

B,b

BB, Bb

Chitinous exoskeleton

bb

Gelatinous

Appendage type

C,c

CC, Cc

Cilia

cc

Tentacles

Antennae type

D,d

DD, Dd

Bugle

dd

Whip

Antennae #

E,e

EE, Ee

One

ee

Two

Eyespot #

F,f

FF, Ff

One

ff

Two

Eyespot color

G,g

GG, Gg

Red

gg

Green

Locomotion

H,h

HH, Hh

Spiraling

hh

Jet propulsion

Behavior

I,i

II, Ii

Colonial

ii

Solitary

Bioluminescence

J,j

JJ, Jj

Yes

jj

No


Table 2. Genotype key.


You will notice that the dominant traits have two possible genotypes: a homozygous dominant (AA) and a heterozygous (Aa). To simplify, you are going to use the homozygous dominant genotype. The genotype for a zoomonster with the traits bell, gelatinous, cilia, one bugle antenna, two red eyespots, spiraling, solitary and non-bioluminescent is: aa/bb/CC /DD/ff/GG/HH/ii/jj

 

Figure 1. Some examples of zoomonsters


Zoomonsters dominant and recessive genes

 

Figure 2. Zoomonster traits, part 1


Heredity - Dominant and recessive traits

Figure 3. Zoomonster traits, part 2



 


 

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    Complexity level:
    7
    Project cost ($):
    Time required:
    The student needs to perform coin tosses and draw a creature using a key.
    Material availability:
    You will need some pennies, paper and colored pencils - all of these are easily found at home.
    Safety concerns: