Inherited Traits and Learned Behaviors

S5L2. Students will recognize that offspring can resemble parents in inherited traits and learned behaviors.

a. Compare and contrast the characteristics of learned behaviors and of inherited traits.

S5L1. Students will classify organisms into groups and relate how they determined the groups with how and why scientists use classification.

a. Demonstrate how animals are sorted into groups (vertebrate and invertebrate) and how vertebrates are sorted into groups (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal).

S5CS1. Students will be aware of the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science and will exhibit these traits in their own efforts to understand how the world works.

a. Keep records of investigations and observations and do not alter the records later.

S5CS3. Students will use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulating objects in scientific activities.

c. Use computers, cameras and recording devices for capturing information.

S5CS5. Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.

a. Write instructions that others can follow in carrying out a scientific procedure.

b. Make sketches to aid in explaining scientific procedures or ideas.

c. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects and events.

d. Locate scientific information in reference books, back issues of newspapers and magazines, CD-ROMs, and computer databases.

S5CS7. Students will be familiar with the character of scientific knowledge and how it is achieved.

Students will recognize that:

a. Similar scientific investigations seldom produce exactly the same results, which may differ due to unexpected differences in whatever is being investigated, unrecognized differences in the methods or circumstances of the investigation, or observational uncertainties.

S5CS8. Students will understand important features of the process of scientific inquiry.

Students will apply the following to inquiry learning practices:

a. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.

b. Clear and active communication is an essential part of doing science. It enables scientists to inform others about their work, expose their ideas to criticism by other scientists, and stay informed about scientific discoveries around the world.

c. Scientists use technology to increase their power to observe things and to measure and compare things accurately.

d. Science involves many different kinds of work and engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds.

Discuss the Learning Target



Enter this question in your science notebook: "How do earthworms react to various stimuli?"

With your group brainstorm 2 BIG QUESTIONS that you would like to discover the answer to.


Animals respond to different stimuli with certain behaviors.

Innate or inherited behaviors are behaviors that animals have when they are born or hatch.

For example: spiders do not need to teach their young to spin webs. Young fish swim at birth. Cats do not need to be taught how to climb. Babies are born with a natural nursing instinct. For humans, we blink our eyes naturally. A snake naturally knows to strike in order to defend itself. Salmon have the natural instinct to swim back upstream to the place they were born to spawn.

Animals also learn behaviors as a result of a stimulus in the environment.

For example: raccoons have learned that garbage cans often contain food. Bears heave learned that food is in a campground. Deer have learned to walk into a field and look up to scan the area instead of keeping their head down in search of food. Dolphins and birds both have learned to swim and fly behind boats because they know there is food there for them.

What groups of invertebrates do they belong to?

You will be observing earthworm's reactions to moisture, light, touch, and you will identify their reactions as lean red or inherited behaviors.


  1. Follow the directions on your "Wondering About Worms Reaction to Light" activity page. You will conduct three trials. Record your data. Document your results. Write your conclusions in complete sentences.
  2. Follow the directions on your "Wondering About Worms Reaction to Touch" activity page. You will conduct three trials. Record your data. Document your results. Write your conclusions in complete sentences.
  3. Follow the directions on your "Wondering About Worms Reaction to Moisture" activity page. You will conduct three trials. Record your data. Document your results. Write your conclusions in complete sentences.
  4. Discuss your discoveries with the class
  5. Review the learning target and discuss vocabulary meanings.


  1. Review and use the digital microscopes
  2. Measure the length of your worms.
  3. Record your data.
  4. Take Pictures of the earthworm
  5. Illustrate and write about your earthworm.

VERTEBRATES - animals with backbones

INVERTEBRATES - animals with NO backbones

GENES – Every thing has genes. Genes contain instructions that control the growth of the plant or animal People have 20,000 to 30,000 different kinds of genes.

CHARACTERISTIC - a feature passed from parent to offspring

BEHAVIOR - a way of acting

LEARNED BEHAVIOR - we learn many behaviors every day. Like, how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how to play football, how to twirl a baton.

INHERITED TRAITS - instincts…many animals are born with instincts to help them survive.

TRAIT - a distinguishing feature in a person.

An earthworm’s head is a bit more pointed than the tail end.

The band around the middle of the earthworm is called the clitellum.

They do not have eyes, nor ears.

They cannot hear, but they can feel vibrations.

They are neither male nor female.

They are hermaphroditic.

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