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Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, this fun lab asks students to examine the same information that scientists Watson and Crick had available in order to solve DNA's structure. Students work cooperatively, and compete to be the first to solve the double helix.
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This product is part of a Unit Bundle, which offers all you need to teach a Unit on DNA for students grades 7-12.
Get it here: DNA Unit Bundle
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Details for the Race For DNA Lab below.
A. NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS HEREIN
DCI’s: LS1.A: Structure and Function
ETS1.B Developing Possible Solutions
Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns, Structure and Function
Scientific and Engineering Practices:
Asking Questions and Defining Problems
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Developing and Using Models
B. SUGGESTED USES
Prior Knowledge: DON'T SHOW STUDENTS THE STRUCTURE OF DNA BEFORE THIS ACTIVITY. This activity works very well as an introduction to DNA. Students should have a knowledge of the basic function of DNA.
Implementing the Lesson:
Materials and Setup: All materials (other than a tape or glue) are included in this packet. There is no setup for the teacher (other than printing).
As you know, the story of how DNA's structure was solved is interesting, and involved many players. This activity gives students the chance to play the role of scientists, like Watson and Crick, in order to solve the structure of DNA. Looking at some images, and interpreting information, students will synthesize the information they have in front of them to solve the structure of DNA, and answer some questions about nucleotides, base-pair rules, and the helix, while learning about the scientists who made it possible. This lab incorporates some misconception alerts as well.
Students enjoy this lab because they get to work cooperatively in a fun, lightly competitive environment. Like Watson and Crick, lab groups will compete with one another to be the first to so solve the structure.
1. In lab groups, students are to work through packet, in order.
2. Equipped with some basic knowledge from the first two pages, students will cut out the nucleotides, and attempt to
arrange them in the space provided. (the sequence of base pairs doesn't matter; just the overall structure)
3. Once a lab group thinks they have solved it, they should call you over, and can glue it down if they are right.
4. The first team to neatly glue (or tape) the DNA in the space provided wins
5. Watson and Crick got the Nobel Prize, so I suggest awarding candy or extra credit to the first group (or tier it)
6. Finally, students answer the summary questions. From there, teacher can further explore structure (hydrogen bonds, antiparallel, 3' and 5' ends, pyrimidine and purine) or discuss women in science, ethics of scientists, etc.
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