This investigative activity asks students to create a model of DNA using the information that Watson and Crick used. Rather than carrying out new experiments in the lab, Watson and Crick collected and analyzed existing pieces of data, putting them together in new and insightful ways. In this activity, students act as Watson and Crick, using the discoveries of Levene, Chargaff and Franklin to come up with a model of DNA.
After reading each scientist's discoveries, students are prompted to stop and add more information to, or modify their model. Students will struggle with their designs, but using the "clues" to work through the process is the goal. Analysis questions at the end prompt students to discuss and compare their models. I use this as an introduction to "DNA structure and function," and have students work with partners so they can bounce ideas around when creating their models.
I have uploaded this in both a .docx and a PDF format, so you can feel free to use "as is" or modify and differentiate to meet your classroom and students' needs. Enjoy!
NGSS HS: LS1.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.
You can save money by purchasing this product as part of a larger DNA Unit Bundle. You can check it out here:
DNA and Protein Synthesis Bundle