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DNA Curriculum

DNA and Phylogenetic Trees Activity

This activity uses a phylogenetic tree poster and seleted organisms from throughout the animal kingdom along with "barcodes" used to represent their genetic relationships with each other. Students participate in a classroom discussion of the phenotypic similarities and the genetic similarities between organisms.

Grade Level: 3-6

DNA Bracelets Activity

Students use beads and pipe cleaners in this activity to compare similarities and differences in their outwardly observable genetic traits like attached/unattached earlobes, right or left handedness, eye color, etc. Students learn what DNA is and how it impacts the way we look. Activity uses simple household craft items and supplementary materials are included in the lesson plan. Activity is complemented by classroom discussion.

Grade Level: 2-5

DNA Highway Repair Activity

Use toy trucks, road pieces, and signs to explore DNA replication and repair in this hands-on activity.Students will learn about the structure of DNA and its functions in the body. Discover how sunlight (UV radiation) can affect the process of DNA replication and the body's mechanisms to deal with this interruption. Activity is supplemented with class discussion, posters, and manipulatives.

Grade Level: 7-10

Evolution and Inheritance Activity

In this lesson, students will learn about flower reproduction through the use of colored water. A teacher demonstrates the differences between self and cross-fertilization and the resulting effects on the plant offspring. An introduction to dominant and recessive traits is provided and opportunities for student exploration are included. Activity uses simple household products like water, food coloring, and cups. Activity can be adapted to suit elementary age students through high school.

Grade Level: 4-12

Junk DNA Activity

This hands-on activity explores the concepts of introns, exons, and junk DNA. Students will learn about the process of transription and translation (protein synthesis). Students use toys (pop-together beads) to build DNA and RNA strands as well as proteins. Activity is supplemented with a classroom discussion with Q&A. Lesson can be adapted to old grade levels by introduction the concepts of relatedness.

Grade Level: 7-10


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