Sort the socks and answer the numbered questions below.

Materials Needed: Scissors, glue, and the picture below.

Guiding questions:
Why can your chromosomes be compared to socks?
How many pairs of chromosomes do you have?
Why do your chromosome pairs match?
What happens if a chromosome pair doesn't match?

Students know sexual reproduction produces offspring that inherit half their genes from each parent.
Students know cells contain many thousands of different genes and typically have two copies of every gene. (~35,000)

Chromosomes can be compared to socks because, like socks, they come in pairs.
Socks will be use to show how children get their chromosomes from their parents.
Use your knowledge of chromosomes as a guide when doing the activity below.

There is an organized set of socks and a disorganized set of socks below. Let's say your mother gave you the organized set and your father gave you the unorganized set. Your job is to make pairs of socks by gluing the disorganized set next to the organized set. Then answer the numbered questions below.

1. Based on the pairs of socks, how many chromosomes do you have?
2. How many chromosomes did you get from your mother?
3. How many chromosomes did you get from your father?
4. How many pairs of socks matched? How many pairs didn't match?
5. What is the result if two chromosomes of the last pair don't match?
6. On what cell structures are genes found? (DNA is a material.)
7. Why do you have two copies of each of your genes?
8. About how many genes are on each chromosome?


Useful Information:
What if some of your genes were defective? Plants and animals get their genetic material from two parents. These organism, produced by sexual reproduction, get half of their genetic material from each of their parents. Genetic material consists of long, delicate, strands of DNA within the nuclei of cells. The traits of plants and animals are produced from the genetic code in their DNA. A short section of code, on a long strand of DNA, that produces a specific trait is called a gene. Traits are produced by the interaction of gene pairs in these organisms because plants and animals get one gene for a trait from each of their parents. Because these organisms get a gene from each parent, one gene can be defective and the trait can still be produced from the good gene. In other words, having two copies of each gene, ensures that an organism has at least one working copy. (Organisms have thousands of traits, so they have thousands of genes.)

In what form do you get your genes from your parents and who gave you what? Genes are a section of genetic code, on a long strand of DNA, that produces a specific trait. DNA is a long, thin, strand of genetic material. DNA is wound around many special proteins giving it an organized structure called a chromosome. You have pairs of matching chromosomes. Each pair of your chromosomes came from your parents. For each of these pairs, one chromosome came from your mother and the other chromosome came from your father. (The process by which an organism gets pairs of chromosomes, half of each pair coming from a different parents, is called sexual reproduction.)

Sock source: