Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find the answer to your question below, post your question on the discussion forum or submit a support request.

What happened to Geniverse on June 29, 2015?

As of June 29th, the Journal of Drake Genetics is no longer offered in the format of a Wordpress blog. Do not fear! Students will still be able to enter arguments in the Claim/Evidence/Reasoning format when the “J” button is clicked. Entries will now appear in a second tab of the Star Report spreadsheet. In addition, the old Geniverse Portal will no longer serve the Geniverse software.  Instead, Geniverse will be accessed through the new Learn portal, which will require registering for a new account.  The good news is that the Learn portal will give you easy access to a growing library of free online activities developed by The Concord Consortium.

As of June 29, 2015, classes that were set up on the Geniversity Portal are no longer be accessible. This means that the old Geniverse Portal, your account, your students' accounts, Star Reports, and Journals are no longer available

These changes were necessary in order to continue offering access to Geniverse free of charge.

return to top

How do I open the Case Log and get started with challenges?

On the home screen of Geniverse, which we call "The Office," click the Case Log on the desk, or in the top left corner, to get started.

return to top

Where are the Punnett Squares?

There are no Punnett Squares in Geniverse.  That doesn't mean that you shouldn't use them.  We just prefer that you don't start with them.

Most teachers hold out until somewhere between Cases 4-6 to introduce Punnett Squares depending upon when students need to use them as a tool for solving challenges, or for understanding the connection between meiosis and inheritance. The Case 6 teacher guide gives more information about introducing Punnett Squares, which will also be important in Case 7 when students examine probabilities vs. outcomes of breeding experiments.

Why not introduce them earlier? Students become adept at solving Punnett square problems without having the slightest understanding of what they represent. Many students can solve all the challenges up through Case 6 without Punnett squares because they only need to recognize that a single offspring bearing a trait not seen in either parent resulted from crossing two parents having a recessive allele. Students tend to develop their own means of tracking the flow of alleles from parent to offspring until Punnett squares are introduced.  When Punnett squares are finally introduced, students will see them as a useful tool for solving Geniverse (and other genetics) challenges, and not as something they have to memorize how to do.

return to top

Where are my stars and quills?

If sudents come to you in distress, saying their stars and quills are missing, tell them to relax.  You may be able to fix it!  Some quick troubleshooting will help you resolve the problem.  There are three possible reasons for this issue.

Issue 1: If the students open the Demo Version of the software, their stars and quills will not be saved.  Students sometimes forget the Geniverse Lab URL ( and search for Geniverse on Google or on The Concord Consortium website.  When this happens, they will often find the Demo Version of Geniverse and run it by mistake. 

Issue 2: The student created mutliple accounts in your class and is using a secondary account.  Students sometimes forget their username and password and will try to register again on the Learn portal.  In this case, the portal will give the student a new username.  If they log in with the new name, they won't see the stars they earned under their original name.  You can check for multiple registrations in the portal when you view your class roster.  For example, if a student is named Susan Miller, their original username may be smiller.  If they register multiple times, you will see smiller2, smiller3, etc. listed on the roster.  If the student hasn't used the extra accounts, you can delete them.  If they have, you can keep them but ask the student to use just one account for the remainder of the challenges.  The Star Report will show every username and the stars and quills earned under that name.  You can consolidate the student data using the spreadsheet.

Issue 3: The student registered using the wrong class word and is not registered in the correct class. If you think this may be the issue, please email us at

To check student progress, download the Star Report.

return to top

When should I introduce vocabulary?

We recommend that you do not introduce vocabulary before starting Geniverse.  Words like allele, chromosome, dominant and recessive can be introduced as the need arises--these concepts tend to emerge naturally as students discuss the challenges.  After the first couples of cases in training, it is OK to give students the vocabulary that they need to describe the patterns of inheritance that they are seeing.  More vocabularly should be introduced as students move through the challenges.

See the Geniverse Glossary of terms.

return to top

What’s the difference between the Demo Version and the Full Version of Geniverse?

There is one main difference between the two versions but that difference has several implications.  The Full Version can only be accessed if you register to use the software on the Learn portal.  Your students will only see the Full Version if they also register on the Portal (which they can do on their own, or you can do for them).  When a person logs into the Full Version, their work is saved each time they use Geniverse.  In contrast, the Demo Version does not save work: it requires no username and password and does not remember who you are each time you play.  Therefore, stars earned in challenges are not saved.  In addition, the Demo Version does not have access to the online Journal of Drake Genetics and teachers using the Demo Version will not have access to their students’ work.  The Full Version provides reports on the number of stars earned by each student for each challenge.  The Full Version also allows teachers to read, comment on, and manage student Journal posts.

Demo Version

Full Version

  • Allows access to all Geniverse levels.

  • Does not require logging in with a username/password.

  • Does not save progress through game.

  • Does not save stars or quills earned in challenges.

  • Does not provide teacher reports of student work.


  • Allows access to all Geniverse levels.

  • Requires registration on the Learn portal.

  • Requires logging in with a username/password.

  • Saves progress through the game.

  • Saves stars and quills earned in each challenge.

  • Provides teacher reports of student work.

We recommend using the Demo Version if you want to check out Geniverse for yourself or if you plan to use only one or two cases with students.  If you plan to do more--many teachers like using the entire Training and Apprentice levels--we recommend registering on and using the Full Version.  

return to top

What's the least I can do to use Geniverse?

Try the Demo Version of Geniverse and the Meiosis Lab activities which you can use without registering or creating a class. (Note that your data will not be saved.)

return to top

What is the difference between male and female drakes?

In certain challenges, you are asked to match a male or female drake.  How do you know if your drake is a boy or a girl?  Make drakes have neck waddles (like a turkey) and females do not.  The difference in the neck looks like this:

Male Female
Male drake Female drake

To change the sex of a drake, use these toggle buttons.  The one that is highlighted in green is the sex of the current drake.

Male toggle  When this button is green, it shows that the drake is male.

Female toggle The this button is green, it shows that the drake is female.

return to top

Missing drakes?

If drake images are missing or you see broken image files, you may need to reload the page.  To reload, hold the SHIFT key down on your keyboard while you press the reload button in your browser.  The missing drake images should reappear.

return to top

Is the Case 10 Certification Exam working correctly?

Many students, and even experienced teachers, get tripped up on the Case 10 certification exam.  Usually it is because they forget that horns (the horns on the back of the head, not the nose spike) are a recessive trait.  Unlike wings, forelimbs and hindlimbs, which are all examples of simple dominance, the presence of horns only occurs in drakes that are homozygous for the recessive “horns” allele.  Therefore, in order to get horns, a drake needs two "horns" alleles.  A drake with the genotype of horns/no horns will NOT have horns as horns are recessive.  In contrast, a drake with the genotype of wings/no wings will have wings as having wings is dominant to not having wings.

The inheritance of horns can lead to lively classroom argumentation!  See the lesson plan for Case 6.

return to top

Is Case 9 Challenge 1 impossible to solve?

Yes and no.  The question as stated in the instruction box asks students to determine if it is possible for these parents to have offspring that matches both target drakes, one male child and one female child.  In fact, it is NOT possible!  Because the nose spike is a sex-linked trait, students will only be able to produce one sex of drake with a nose spike.  Once students figure this out, they are to explain what they learned by posting a claim to the Journal of Drake Genetics.

The inheritance of a nose spike can lead to lively classroom argumentation!  See the lesson plan for Case 9.

return to top

I registered on the Learn portal but I did not receive a confirmation email. Help!

Make sure to look in your spam email folder.  The email should come from

return to top

I have questions that are not on this list. How do I get help?

First, start by searching for your question in the Forums section of Geniversity.  If your question is still not answered, please submit a support request.

return to top

How much should I teach before I start Geniverse?

Geniverse can be used to teach genetics from the start, or can be used as a review or as an extension to your traditional curriculum, depending on how much material you usually cover in your classes.

If your students are familiar with terms like genes, DNA, and chromosomes, even if their understanding of those terms is limited, they can start using and learning from Geniverse. The less students know at the start, the more Geniverse can be used as a replacement curriculum to help students learn the content and processes of genetics, guided and scaffolded by you.  We encourage you to supplement with other activities, readings, brief lectures and, of course, lots of whole-class and small-group discussion!

return to top

How do I clear my browser’s cache?

If Geniverse is updated, we may advise you to “clear your cache” in order to download the new version of the game and clear out the old one.  You may have received an email from us asking you to clear your cache.  To do this, follow the steps for your particular browser as outlined in this handy guide in Wikihow. 

How to Clear Your Browser's Cache

return to top

How do I change or reset a student's password?

Students forget their passwords all the time!  It is easy to change a student password in the Learn portal.  Click the student's class name on the left menu.  Then, select "Student Roster".  Click the "Change Password" link to the right of the student's username to reset their password.

return to top

Can Geniverse be used as an assessment tool?

Sure, why not?  See Assessment.

return to top

How do I track student progress/see how many stars they earned?

Download the Star Report to track student progress through the game. Instructions are here.

return to top

Where is the old Journal of Drake Genetics?

If you have used Geniverse since its inception, you might be wondering where the old Journal went.  Unfortunately, the software that we used for the Journal did not work well with multiple simultaneous users and it was removed. The good news is that students can still submit entries to the Journal of Drake Genetics.  Teachers can see these entries in the second tab of the Star Report. Instructions for downloading the Star Report.

return to top

Is the Portal different or am I imagining things?

Yes, it is different!  We have upgraded the Geniverse Portal to The Concord Consortium's new Learn portal.  On, teachers can not only assign Geniverse to their classes but also access many other free activities and simulations for students.

return to top