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Hand It to My Parents!


A trait sets one person or thing apart from another. A trait is an inherited characteristic.

The dog at the right inherited many traits from its parents. Look carefully. What traits can you identify? Drag through to highlight the box below to see some examples of traits it inherited.
Long hair, golden color, floppy ears, large size, four legs, slobbery tongue!

We have two hands. This is a trait of our species. A species is a set of organisms with common characteristics. Cats have four legs, mice have tails, lions have sharp teeth and claws, and flowers have petals. These traits identify members of a species as being the same.

Within a species however there can be variations, or slight differences. These parakeets have the same beaks, wings, and feet, but they are different colors.

In nature some variations give individuals an advantage. They survive better in their environment or physical surroundings.


Try it!
Measure and record the hand span from thumb to pinky in centimeters of ten of your friends. Use a separate sheet of paper. Are the numbers exactly the same? Probably not. This is a variation, or slight difference, among classmates.
Do the math and learn more!
Put your ten measurements in order from the smallest to the largest.

Subtract the largest hand span from the smallest. This is the range of your distribution.

Add all your numbers and divide by 10 (the number of measurements.) This is the mean or average hand span of your study!

Now use your data to create a graph! What kind is most appropriate for your data? Drag here to check your hunch.

pictograph or bar graph or line graph

Be sure to give your graph a title and label both axes.


Get the plug-ins: Get Adobe Acrobat Reader , and Get Quicktime Player. (The QuickTime plug-in is needed to play sounds and movies correctly.)

Want to share photos of you or your friends doing this activity? Send it in an e-mail with the following information:

  1. The title of the activity
  2. The URL (Internet address)
  3. Your name.
Remember that no pictures can be used that show student faces or student names on it. 

Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 5th grade science core.

Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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