Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab

Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
Race to Solve DNA's Structure Lab
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1 MB|9 pages
Product Description
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

If you like this product, you may like "Testing Mixtures for Use as a Bio- armor", where students use STEM skills to design a biological armor; my students love it.

Buy it here: NGSS Aligned: Testing Mixtures for Use as a Biological Armor

If you like this product, you may like "Proteins and Homeostasis", where students use STEM skills to design an experiment to test the stability of egg protein. All you need is household materials.

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Details for the Race For DNA Lab below.

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


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.

Terms of Use
• This packet is 1 classroom/teacher use only. Do not make copies or
email it to your colleagues. This was designed by me and is for your
personal (one user)use. You may
not share it or claim it as your own. You may not redistribute it.
If colleagues are interested in it, please send them the link to my store:
• You are not permitted to use any part of this work to
create products for sharing or selling.
• You are permitted to share the cover image of the packet
on your website when referring to it in a post, as long as
you link back to my store.
All rights reserved by author.
Total Pages
9 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
40 minutes
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