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DNA Mutations Activity Worksheet for Middle School Students NGSS MS-LS3-1

Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
3 pages
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DNA mutation simulation simplified to a middle school level - fun, engaging, and standards-based. And, no supplies needed!

This activity simplifies the DNA code and DNA mutations to a very basic level while illustrating that it just takes one little change to make a really different message. No knowledge of transcription, translation, or proteins is required. The instructions are clear and the explanations are simple - perfect for middle school students.

In this activity, students will:

  • "Decode" a non-mutated message into an English phrase. (The phrase itself is a clever saying about DNA.)
  • "Decode" a mutated segment of DNA. The new message says something entirely different, even though only a few DNA bases were off. (The mutated phrase pertains to mutations in DNA.)

Consider pairing this activity with our Mutant DNA Informational Text.

NGSS Standard: MS-LS3-1

NGSS Science & Engineering Practice: Developing and using models

Teacher Notes:

A Note About Color Printing: Color copies of the codon keys will be necessary. To limit the number of color copies need, we make one class set and then have pairs of students share the codon key and reuse them class-to-class and year-to-year. If you do not have color printing available to you, an alternative would be to project the codon key from your computer using a SmartBoard or a similar arrangement. The student sheets - the sheets students do their work on - DO NOT need to be color copied.

Find more in the DNA/Chromosomes Section of Our Store.

From DNA to Proteins Simplified Activity

Mutant DNA Informational Text

DNA/Chromosome Test (middle level)

DNA Fingerprinting Activity

Create a Paper Model of DNA

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Total Pages
3 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding that changes in genetic material may result in making different proteins. Assessment does not include specific changes at the molecular level, mechanisms for protein synthesis, or specific types of mutations.


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