With this Activity, simulate “RNA Transcription” and get the Templates for RNA and DNA nucleotides. These are suggestions for the order of DNA bases. They can be cut out and one given to each group. To have students go further, have them use their mRNA models to do the “RNA Translation” Activity.
“Have Your DNA and Eat It Too” (pdf) has students build a model from edible materials.
In “Reading DNA” (pdf) students use edible models of the DNA molecule to transcribe an mRNA sequence, then translate it into a protein.
With this “Gene Mutation” (doc) Activity, demonstrate the difference between frameshift and point mutations.
“DNA and Genes” Crossword Puzzle and solution. Or Matt H. contributed this cleaner pdf version of the crossword.
Have students watch the movie, Race for the Double Helix, (if you don’t have it, Amazon.com sells it) and use these notes (doc), discussion questions (doc), and quiz (doc) from Patricia Meyers, Science Department Chair, Twin Valley High School, Elverson, PA.
“The Cell Will Survive” (ppt) is a clever PowerPoint about protein synthesis. It has the music to the song “I Will Survive” in the background with the words that Annette M. Parrott, the creator of the PowerPoint, wrote. Students can sing along as the presentation plays. (You may need to download the presentation and save it on your own computer for the music to play.)
The “Do It Yourself DNA Kit” allows students to ultimately translate a DNA code-message by synthesizing a “protein” (amino acid sequence) in readable English, and encourages students to create and decipher new messages written in DNA language.
“Mutations: Changing the Genetic Code” requires Java 1.5 and is an interactive model. In this activity students can edit a DNA nucleotide sequence and observe how it will affect the sequence of amino acids in the protein and the shape of the resulting protein.
“Codon Analogy” (pdf) with key (pdf) and “DNA Sentences” (pdf) are both activities where words or letters are substituted for amino acids to make sentences and demonstrate how the DNA code works.
Rena Drezner of the NSTA Listserve contributed this “Biotechnolgy: a Multimedia Journey” Project (doc) that includes this rubric (doc).
Michael Wright of the NSTA Listserve contributed the “DNA Online” (doc) worksheet to go along with the “DNA Interactive” website.
“Connect the Dots . . . DNA to DISEASE” (doc) has students transcribe and translate a given sequence of DNA and perform a BLAST search against a database of known proteins to determine which protein their sequence encodes. The goal is to show students that genes encode proteins, which in turn can cause disease if mutated or functioning improperly.
Kathy Hallett of the NSTA Listserve contributed this “National Geographic: the Genographic Project” (doc) to go along with National Geographic’sGenographic Project.
In Tom Wanamaker of the NSTA Listserve’s “Restriction Enzymes: DNA Scissors” (doc) activity, students work to break up an ivory poaching ring. The ivory contains small, incomplete quantities of DNA that you can use to test whether or not this seller is telling the truth.
Kristie Akl provided “The Race to Discover DNA” (ppt) PowerPoint presentation with this accompanying worksheet.
Try the “Extracting DNA from Strawberries” Lab with Student Worksheet and Instructions (pdf) for Lab preparation or use this (pdf) file that includes student worksheets and instructions.
Simulate DNA Profiling with this “Crime Scene Investigation” Lab. These teacher notes will help you set the lab up.
“Case of the Crown Jewels” (pdf) is a classroom activity that allows students to explore how the unique sequence of bases in DNA can be used to identify individuals. It includes a pre-lab activity, a laboratory preparation guide, extension activities, and a post-lab activity.
“The Watson-Crick Model of DNA Structure” (pdf) is a unit with 5 inquiary type lab activities from NSTA.
Try this “Human Cheek Cell DNA Extraction” (pdf) lab from Michael Gatton.
Or try this “Protein Synthesis” (pdf) lab, also from Michael Gatton.
If you have ever shown Jurasic Park to your students, “How to Make a Dinosaur” will lead to discussions of the possibility of creating a dinosaur from DNA found in mosquitos trapped in amber: http://www.unmuseum.org/dnadino.htm