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In this Unit, students will learn about how traits are inherited by building two different parent bunnies and choosing traits that a baby bunny would inherit. Students will also compare the different baby bunnies to see how variation occurs in a species.

What are traits?

Traits are physical characteristics which are passed from parent to offspring through genetics. Traits make us who we are. Many traits are complex, but some are easy for students to see such as hair color, eye color, freckles, etc. Rabbits are a great example to show different traits such as fur color, eye color, ear length, and more.

What is inheritance?

Inheritance is when a trait is passed from parent to offspring (babies). When parents have different traits, their offspring will have some combination of each of their traits. In this Lab, students will get to choose what traits the baby bunny will inherit from the parent bunnies.

If this gray bunny and white bunny are the parent bunnies, the baby might inherit a combination of their traits, such as both gray and white fur.

Inheriting Traits in a Bunny Family
Inheriting Traits in a Bunny Family

What is variation in a species?

All species need variation in order to survive. If an entire species was exactly the same, they would be vulnerable to disease or extinction. As offspring inherit different traits from their parents, they create variation for the species. Two parent bunnies can pass on different traits to each baby bunny, and when this happens across the species, there is variation.

For example, gray and white bunny parents may have many baby bunnies. Each baby bunny inherits different combinations of traits. Some babies might have all gray fur, all white fur, or a mix of gray and white fur. Some bunnies might have brown eyes or blue eyes. These different combinations of traits create diversity in a species.

Variation in a Bunny Family
Variation in a Bunny Family