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Were you born with it or did you learn it?

Inherited Traits and Learned Behaviors (5.10B

Sonia Garcia

on 11 May 2012

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Transcript of Were you born with it or did you learn it?

Were you born with it or did you learn it?
In addition to the way an organism looks it behaves a certain way too.
It inherits those traits from its parents or ancestors.
are expressed and this gives the organism its outward appearance.
Organisms on earth are unique in many ways. The way an organism looks is no accident.
Depending on where an organism lives, it may exhibit certain behaviors. These are known as
learned characteristics.
Inherited Traits
Organisms can appear to have different characteristics depending on what ecosystem they live in and what traits are passed on from their parents or ancestors.
For example a coyote living in the desert will have a brownish black hide, helping to camouflage him within his ecosystem.
This trait is passed on to the
When the coyote offspring are born, they will also express the same brownish black hide.
Such traits that are passed on to the offspring from
or ancestors are known as
inherited traits.
Stripes on a tiger, or the color of our skin is another example of inherited traits. Organisms and plants can exhibit these traits.
While some traits are inherited, some behaviors are inherited as well. Behaviors that are inherited are called
instinctive behaviors.
No one has to teach a
puppy how to breathe
, or
spider to spin a web
, they are born with this instinct.
An adult blue jay knows not to eat a monarch butterfly, because it will make it sick. Baby blue jays do not know this and will eat a few monarch butterflies before they learn their lesson.
Lions don’t need to learn that they need to hunt for their food, but where to hunt and what to hunt for is taught to them by their parents.
So organisms in the wild inherit some of their characteristics from their parents or ancestors and they learn the rest.
Learned Characteristics
Some behaviors are learned.
This happens through experience.
These behaviors are called
learned behaviors.
This is important to their survival because if they do not continue to learn they will perish in their environment over time.
Does a person always look like his/her parents?
Questions to think about
What are some characteristics that plant offspring inherit from the parent?
If a dog knows how to play fetch, does it mean that the dog’s puppies will know how to play fetch, too?
How can behaviors help an animal to survive?
If you were raised in another country, how might you be different?
How might a plant change based on its environment?
Give an example of a trait that an animal might acquire from its environment but was not learned or inherited.
No. Even though many traits are inherited from parents, some traits are not always expressed in their parents. For example, a child may have red hair and the parents may have brown hair. Some traits are a combination of inheritance and environment. For example, a person's height depends both upon the parents’ genetics, as well as on nutrition.
Species of plant, sun or shade requirements, water requirements, color of blooms, shape of leaves, type of fruit, etc.
The puppies will only know how to play fetch if they are taught how to play fetch.
Answers vary, but two examples are bears survive harsh winters by hibernating, and humpback whales migrate from their warm water nurseries to feed in the cooler, krill-rich waters.
Answers vary, but may include that you would like different foods, like to play different games, you might be taller or heavier depending on the food you eat, your language could be different, etc.
Answers vary, but may include leaf position may change as the direction of light changes; parts of some plants undergo seasonal changes (like leaves changing colors in the fall); seed germination (seeds don’t germinate in seed packets at the store.).
Some examples might include propeller markings on a manatee, torn ear on a cat, and body fat stored as energy for hibernating bears.
Explain the difference between an inherited trait and a learned behavior.
An inherited trait is a physical characteristic that you are born with and that has been passed down from parent to offspring and cannot be changed or altered naturally. Learned behaviors are not physical characteristics but things that can be taught or learned through life experiences.
Name some inherited traits in humans.
Widow’s peak or hairline shape, tongue rolling, dimples, earlobe attachment, cleft chin, hair type, eye color.
You will work in pairs. After each pair has created a parent insect, they will merge with another paired group to have a set of two parents.
YOu will then use the remaining materials to create an offspring organism that shares traits of both parent insects.
Explore Activity
As you are working, remember to track your observations using the student journal. In the final component of the Explore activity you will be sorting cards. Ensure that you are putting the cards into two groups, and keeping track on the T-chart in your journal. If you run out of room, the back of the Explore page can be used.
As students are separating traits into inherited and learned categories, challenge them to defend why they think a particular trait is one or the other. This could be done in whole-group as part of the Explore debrief process. What makes something truly learned or inherited? If a child's parents are both musicians, is it possible for that child to be genetically predisposed for playing music? The questions might not be at this level, but students should be able to form their own opinions and listen to and learn from those of other students.
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