Use of Hypercard to Create an
Interactive Tutorial on Inheritance Patterns

Tom Manerchia and Cynthia Mannix
1994 Woodrow Wilson Collection


This is an interactive tutorial program designed to allow students to directly observe a variety of inheritance patterns. It is a dynamic way for students to develop mastery over the variety of genetics problems presented. This simulation is designed to promote the acquisition of skill in performing genetic crosses. Student choose the type of problem that they will do from a menu and the order in which they will do them. They may spend as little or as long a time as they wish on one type of problem. They can return to a problem over and over again until they are confident they have mastered it. Students are not limited to a linear approach; they can jump from one problem type to another depending on their own personal style of learning. The activity invites the students to participate and think. They perform a calculation and get immediate feedback that provides constant, effective reinforcement of the skill! They receive a visual display of the result that creatively employs graphics and sound and enhances their understanding of inheritance. In summary, it is a self-paced tutorial that encourages students to take the most efficient path to mastery. This particular tutorial is designed to be expanded so that other types of genetics problems not included here can be added. See the main menu card.


What are the advantages of students using this type of interactive tutorial over simply doing assigned genetic problems on paper and then correcting them later in class?

  • Students can develop mastery before moving on. They are assured a strong foundation in one type of problem before moving on to another.

  • Immediate feedback and individual participation provide a strong reinforcement that increases retention.

  • The learner takes control and is engaged. This experience develops motivation.

  • The tutorial provides privacy for the student's work; it never loses patience.

  • The tutorial is available at times when the teacher is busy elsewhere.

  • Using the interactive tutorial is fun and increases interest in the class.
  • Target Age/ Ability Group:

    This HyperCard tutorial is designed for students in an introductory biology course who have had instruction in performing Mendelian genetic crosses.

    Note to the Teacher:

    This interactive tutorial is offered as a model of what any teacher can create using HyperCard 2.2. Any teacher can assess what type of interactive tutorial might benefit their students. A stack can be created on any subject. A tutorial of practice cards can be designed that is custom-tailored for a student population or ability level. It can be as simple or as complex as one wishes. It is a very effective tool for mastering skills.


    This HyperCard activity is designed to be used on a Macintosh color computer running System 7.0 that has a HyperCard 2.2 with color resources installed. Because of the extensive color graphics this tutorial will not run on any earlier version of HyperCard.

    To obtain a copy of this program for classroom use send an HD disc and a self-addressed, stamped mailer to one of the following:

    Tom Manerchia Cynthia Mannix
    216 Dakota Avenue 7745 Ivanhoe Avenue
    Wilmington, DE 19803 La Jolla, CA 92037

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