Alien Population: Game Notes

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1 The Geneticons: An Alien Population Game Populate Your Alien Planet Breed the Next Generation Migration to New Places Who Will Survive? Dr Gail Davies London IDEAS Education

2 Alien Population: Game Notes The game is intended to be a fun way of introducing some basic ideas of genetics. It is not a formal lesson for recall, and if the students take away some understanding of the concepts that is a bonus. The main ideas being introduced are Genes, Inheritance and Adaptation. Making Starting Population & Geneticon Babies This game will show the basic way in which genes are inherited, passed on, from mothers and fathers to their children Genes coding for different characteristics will be used to create an individual race of Aliens, the Geneticons (Starting population Founders) Then these Geneticons will have babies. Who will they be like? Will they have their mother s nose or their father s eyes? Will there be more boys or girls? There are no winners at this stage. Unless you wish to hold a Genesville Cutest or Ugliest Baby Competition

3 Alien Population: Game Notes Migration The next level of the game follows the migration of the Geneticons to distant parts of their planet. This will show how some genes and the characteristics they produce are better than others in different surroundings. Will your Geneticons survive? Do your Geneticons have the best genes for their surroundings? The winner at this level is declared after the reading of the migration fate card. Points are awarded for every Geneticon survivor, with extra points for advantageous characteristics. The winner is the player with the most points. What happens to the next generation? This can be discussed in theory or the Geneticons that have survived in their new surroundings can be allowed to breed the next generation. Have some characteristics become more common? Have some characteristics disappeared?

4 Alien Population: Game Notes How to Play There are 2 different stages to the game and they should be played in order. You can finish the game at the end of any stage. Typically, one and a half hours are needed to complete the whole game, but this can vary with numbers and ability. To play it is best to divide the class into groups of about 4. This makes it easier to share equipment and Characteristic Keys You will need Paper and Coloured pencils Dice Coins Colours Dice or a means of determining the migration destination (There are 3 options) Making Starting Population & Geneticon Babies Follow the creation rules given and use dice to make a starting (Founder) population. A minimum of 4 Geneticons should be made by each student, preferably on separate pieces of paper. Follow instructions to select a happy couple to be parents. Then Follow instructions and use a coin to determine the inheritance of characteristics by their babies. A minimum of 6 babies should be made by each student and drawn on a single piece of paper. Migration Follow instructions given to migrate Geneticon families to new surroundings and see if they survive.

5 Alien Population: In the Beginning Many years ago, and many light years away, there was a lesser known planet in our Solar system called Geneticus. This planet was inhabited by small Alien creatures known as the Geneticons. They suffered a terrible fate, a disaster equivalent to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. The Geneticons were extinct. But then an Alien Geneticist, discovered the DNA that made up the original Geneticons and using spectacular Alien technology decided to re create the Geneticons. But he is very busy and this is very labour intensive so he has asked for some help. He needs you to create the first population, the first generation of Geneticons.

6 Alien Population: Creation Rules 5 main characteristics make up a Geneticon Body Shape Eyes Nose Feet or something similar to allow movement Antennae Whether they are Male or female is determined by the antennae Within each of these there are 6 possibilities 6 different genes determining a characteristic These are conveniently numbered 1 6 for ease of creation by the role of a die

7 Geneticon Creation Guidelines Start with Body type Roll the die, see which body gene you have. Draw your Geneticon s body. How will your Geneticon Move? Roll the die, see which movement gene you have. How fine a looking specimen do you have? Roll the die a couple of more times to add eyes and a nose. The final touch is an antenna. Remember that this also tells you whether you have a boy or a girl. If you wish you can name your Geneticon..

8 Characteristics Key Body 1 Round 4 Square 2 Triangular 5 Heart 3 Blob 6 Spiked

9 Characteristics Key Movement 1 Wings 4 Flippers 2 Spring 5 Feet 3 Wheels 6 Ski

10 Characteristics Key Eyes 1 Round single 4 Two on stalks 2 Round double 5 Round single with lashes 3 Round triple 6 Round double with lashes

11 Characteristics Key Nose 1 Red blob 4 Orange blob 2 Blue blob 5 Yellow blob 3 Green blob 6 Purple blob

12 Characteristics Key Antennae 1 Red triangle (girl) 4 Green triangle (boy) 2 Red coil (girl) 5 Green coil (boy) 3 Red cross (girl) 6 Green cross (boy)

13 Alien Population: Founder Generation You have now created your starting population, your founder generation. They have all grown up and are now ready to find their ideal partner to settle down and have their own little Geneticons. The Alien dating agency is not that sophisticated. Pool your Geneticon females and pool your Geneticon males. Pool as a group or a class Now select a random card from each pool. These are your happy couple. If your happy couple share too many characteristics then select another couple

14 Making Geneticon Babies Take your Geneticon pair. What do you think their baby will look like? Who s eyes will it have? Who s body shape? This will be decided by the genes for those characteristics. Will it get its Mum s or Dad s gene? For every characteristic you will flip a coin Heads It will inherit Mum s gene Tails It will inherit Dad s gene The Geneticons have large families. Each couple have a minimum of 6 babies Draw the babies from each couple on a separate piece of paper.

15 Baby Competition The local Mayor of Genesville has decided to hold a baby competition. He can t decide whether to make it the Cutest or Ugliest. So he s holding both You may like to have regional heats within your groups Each group can enter one baby into each competition Make sure that your babies get entered for the right category! You never know your cute one might win the Ugly baby competition! You may use the official entry forms if you wish Time to vote and announce a winner Congratulations or should it be commiserations?

16 Alien Population: Migration The Geneticons have been so successful at breeding that they are becoming overcrowded and the new generation are restless. A few intrepid explorers venture out and chart the whole of the planet. The stories of these beautiful far off places are tempting. It is time to move from the overcrowded Metropolis of Genesville Chartered Regions of Geneticus

17 Migration Where to? The Geneticons are very family orientated and will only migrate as a family unit of brothers and sisters. Say goodbye to the parents who remain in Genesville. For each family migrating you must roll the colours die. Alternatively you can randomly select the region by another method. Blue or Yellow means migration to the Mountains Green or Red means migration to the Marshlands Purple or Black means migration to the Lowlands

18 To Determine Your Geneticons Fate Look at your Geneticon Families and read carefully which characteristics are suited to the environment and which ones are not. Use the regions Fate cards Some characteristics give you a 50:50, or a 1in 2 chance of surviving and you need to flip a coin to determine your Geneticons fate Alternatively, you can ignore this chance element and take all these characteristics as straight deaths Say goodbye to those who die and remove them from the game All others are survivors. These score 5 points each Give a tick for each advantageous or ideal characteristic that your Geneticon survivors have. These score 2 points

19 Migration Fate Card: Blue Yellow Mountains The scenery is beautiful in the Mountains and there is a feeling of tranquilly. The Geneticons do well in this environment, but the temperatures drop at night and the terrain is steep and mountainous. Look at your Geneticons and see which characteristics are suited to the mountain environment and which ones are not Body shape The ideal body shape is round and compact Give them a tick. There is just one body shape that is unable to survive, Spiked. The surface area is too great and these poor Geneticons lose all their body heat and die in the night. Remove all family members with a spiked body. Movement The ideal way to travel in the mountains is by flying, skiing or using feet to climb. Give them all a tick. Wheels may prove difficult and half the Geneticons with wheels suffer a fatal accident. If they land on their head they die, if they land on their bottom they survive. Flip a coin to see if your Geneticons with wheels survive. If it lands on heads, it is curtains! You may think it is unfortunate to have wheels, but not as unfortunate as flippers. These poor creatures cannot climb at all, they are destined to die at the foot of the steep slopes. Remove all family members with flippers.

20 Migration Fate Card: Blue Yellow Mountains continued Eyes To see over the craggy terrain, eyes on stalks are ideal. Give them a tick. However most eyes are suitable with one exception. So that the Geneticons can judge distance they need at least two eyes. Those poor individuals with just one eye keep falling off the Mountain and die. Remove all family members with just one eye. Noses The ideal noses are those which blend in with the scenery, the blue and yellow noses are best. Give them both a tick. All the other noses are fine. Antennae There are no problems with any of the antennae on the mountainside Remember: Give a tick for each ideal or advantageous characteristic that your Geneticon survivors have. Say goodbye to those who die and remove them from the game.

21 Migration Fate Card: Green Red Marshlands These lands have an abundance of water and plenty of beautiful water plants. Many of the Geneticons love the warm wet climate here. Though these conditions suit all sorts of other creatures, and not all are friendly. Look at your Geneticons and read carefully which characteristics are suited to the marshland environment and which ones are not. Body shape There is no ideal body shape here and most body shapes survive well. However, the Geneticons are a tasty delicacy for the Marshland water snakes and they particularly like the plump juicy ones. The round bodies are liked best and they are more likely to be eaten than any of the others. Flip a coin, if it is heads then they have just entered the snakes mouth. Remove them from the game. If it is tails, they have had a lucky escape. Movement The ideal way to travel in the wet marshlands is by flying, water skiing or swimming with flippers. Give them all a tick. While it is not ideal it is possible to swim with feet, but it is certainly not possible to swim with springs or wheels. These poor creatures cannot swim at all, they just flounder and drown. Remove all family members with wheels or springs.

22 Migration Fate Card: Green Red Marshlands continued Eyes All eyes are acceptable in the Marshlands, but triple eyes may be advantageous, allowing the Geneticon to keep a lookout for those nasty water snakes. Give them a tick. Those individuals with just one eye are less likely to see the water snake creeping up and are going to be in more danger of being eaten. For all one eyed Geneticons flip a coin. If it is heads they have just been swallowed by the snake. Remove these individuals from the game. If it is tails they have just escaped. Noses The ideal noses are those which blend in with the scenery, the green and red noses are best. Give them both a tick. All the other noses are fine. Antennae There are no problems with any of the antennae in the marshlands Remember: Give a tick for each ideal or advantageous characteristic that your Geneticon survivors have. Say goodbye to those who die and remove them from the game.

23 Migration Fate Card: Purple Black Lowlands These lowlands seem harsh. They are flat, with lots of hard stone and few trees. But still many of the Geneticons like it here. There are rich mineral deposits for mining and excellent building materials. Look at your Geneticons and read carefully which characteristics are suited to the lowland environment and which ones are not. Body shape There is no ideal body shape for this environment. Most body shapes survive well. But the heart shaped Geneticons find this environment tough and pine for their home city of Genesville. Half of these die of a broken heart. Flip a coin, if it is heads then they are ruled by their head and survive. If it is tails they are ruled by their heart and die. Remove these individuals from the game. Movement The ideal way to travel in the hard lowlands is by wheels and springs. Give them both a tick. It may be fine to fly but the problem is landing. Many of these creatures manage to land badly on the hard stone or even worse down a mineshaft. Flip a coin, if it is heads, they have landed badly and die. Remove these individuals from the game. If it is tails they have just bruised their bottom, a narrow escape. Skis are useless on this terrain. These Geneticons are unable to move and die where they stand. Remove all family members with skis.

24 Migration Fate Card: Purple Black Lowlands continued Eyes All eyes are acceptable in the lowlands. But because of the dust from the mining it is advantageous to have lashes to keep the grit and dirt out. Give them a tick. Noses The ideal noses are those which blend in with the scenery, the purple noses are best. Give them a tick. All the other noses are fine. Antennae Most antennae are fine in the lowlands. But, there is one problem with the cross shaped antennae. This region has a lot of birds but very few trees. This means that the birds will perch and nest almost anywhere. Unfortunately, the cross shaped antennae look like an ideal resting place to a bird. It is not just the inconvenience of walking around with a bird on your head there are serious health problems for these Geneticons. The birds can transmit a nasty disease called antennae rot, and if they do these Geneticons become infertile, unable to breed. Flip a coin for every Geneticon that has a cross shaped antennae. If it is heads then they have caught antennae rot and can have no children Remember: Give a tick for each ideal or advantageous characteristic that your Geneticon survivors have. Say goodbye to those who die and remove them from the game.

25 Migration Survival Were your Geneticons successful in their migration? How many did you lose because they were not suited to their surroundings? Make sure that these have been removed from the game Did you have many with ideal or advantageous characteristics? Did you have many with one tick? Did you have any with more than two ticks? You can stop at this stage and see who has the most survivors. Give five points for a survivor. Give two points for every ideal characteristic. Who has the most points? They are the winner of this level

26 Migration The Next Generation The Geneticon Survivors have got used to their new home and want to settle down, find a partner and have a family. Pool all of the surviving Geneticons for each region and pair your Geneticons using the following rules The most desirable Geneticons are those that have advantageous characteristics for their environment. The ones with the most ticks These naturally stick together. Make piles of males and females with the same point value Make pairs starting with the highest point values first. Any odd males or females get the first pick of the next point value down. Keep making pairs moving to the next value down and so on until you have paired all them You are now ready to create your next generation of Geneticons.. Remember, for every feature you flip a coin Heads It will inherit Mum s gene Tails It will inherit Dad s gene What characteristics do this next generation of Geneticons have? What characteristics have been lost in your region? Have any characteristics become more common than before?

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