DNA mutations simplified to a middle school level - fun, engaging, and standards-based.
Addresses NGSS perfectly without complicating it!
And, no supplies needed!
Any middle school science teacher will tell you that it is a challenge to teach middle school students about mutations in DNA without the background knowledge of transcription, translation, and proteins - none of which most middle school students have. 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
Using a provided key, students "decode" a non-mutated message into an English phrase. (The phrase itself is a clever saying about DNA.) Then, they "decode" a mutated segment of DNA, and the new message says something entirely different, even though only a few DNA bases were off. (The mutated phrase pertains to mutations in DNA.) The instructions are clear and the explanations are simple - perfect for middle school students.
NGSS MS-LS3-1: 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.
ANSWER KEY INCLUDED
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Also check out our popular DNA/Chromosome Test (middle level).
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Highlights of Our Related Resources:
DNA Fingerprinting Activity
Boy/Girl Karyotype Activity
Structure of DNA Quiz
Create a Paper Model of DNA
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