The project’s goal is to introduce the concept of DNA as a language. The “alphabet” of the genetic language is not commonly taught until high school and beyond. Younger children often acquire languages much more readily than older children and adolescents. Therefore, introducing DNA to younger students will help K-12 students become fluent in the language of DNA.
The DNA is Elementary teaching module presently consists of weekly visits during which students are actively engaged in various activities involving DNA concepts.
DNA Day 1
During The first visit, students are introduced to basic concepts of heredity: DNA and traits. They engage in hands-on activities including making a crafty DNA model! Students also learn about traits and are able to list some of their own.
DNA Day 2
Day 2 revolves around students understanding the basic concepts of genes and how they work. They will engage in hands-on activities including making a DNA “bag baby”!
DNA Day 3
Students will be engaging in hands-on activities that will help them retain information learned in the previous days. Students will also be introduced to the special coding of DNA and will act as real scientists by setting up and running an experiment.
DNA Day 4
Students will be engaged in hands-on activities that will help them retain information learned in previous visits. Students will also have the opportunity to observe and analyze results from their squash seed planting experiment.
DNA Day 5
Students will be engaged in hands-on activities that will help them retain information learned in previous visits. Students will have the opportunity to analyze DNA sequences in order to resolve the riddle of the Giant Panda.
DNA Day 6
Students will be engaged in hands-on activities that will help them retain information learned in previous visits. Students will have the opportunity to learn where DNA is found within an organism. Also, students will extract DNA from split peas.
DNA Day 7
Students will explore the topic of heredity by learning in more detail about how genes are passed down through generations. With a “hands-on” activity, the students will be able to distinguish the difference between genotype and phenotype.
DNA Day 8
The journey into the nucleus continues as the students explore various components of the cell which will lead into the introduction of the central dogma theory.