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A key concept of biology is that genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next. This genetic information varies among individuals and even more so among populations or species. The SALSA! program therefore begins with four activities to explain what genetics and inheritance are and why they are important to make the natural world the way it is. The goals of the Module 1 activities are for kids to understand on a basic and intuitive level what genes are and that they are inherited, and then tie that knowledge into the big picture, that of “descent with modification” that makes the core of biological evolution. The following four activities employ many applications to “real life,” like observing variation in animal and human phenotypes, in order to accomplish these goals. Post-activity discussion questions are intended to contextualize these concepts and to lead kids to the big conclusion – that heritable genetic variation is widespread and that it is the substrate of evolution. This is the foundation on which the next three SALSA! Modules build to explain other important aspects of biology.
Module 1: Genetics and Inheritance contains four activities: