Fun, engaging, and hits the standard perfectly without being too complicated!
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.
Also check out our other popular MIDDLE SCHOOL resources:
DNA Fingerprinting Activity
Boy/Girl Karyotype Activity
DNA/Chromosomes Test for Middle School
Create a Simple Paper DNA Model
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