Exploring DNA at Nassakeag

Exploring DNA at Nassakeag photo

In preparation for a field trip to the DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and in conjunction with their science curriculum, Nassakeag Elementary School sixth-grade students recently participated in a two-day DNA workshop.

The program featured five different interactive stations, each designed to provide students with an enhanced understanding of the complex subject matter. Students replicated DNA models using K’nex, fashioned double helixes using licorice and candy gum drops, and used a trait wheel to understand different traits that are determined through an individual’s DNA, as well as the difference between genotypes and phenotypes. 

With the assistance of their Chromebooks, students researched two facts associated with DNA, including genetics, cloning, genetic mutations and RNA, and then completed a jigsaw activity to share their findings. 

Within the school’s science lab, students completed a strawberry DNA extraction. After placing a strawberry in a plastic bag, they added water, dish soap and salt, mixing the ingredients together to create a mushy liquid. When combined in a test tube with rubbing alcohol, the DNA from the strawberry floated to the surface, enabling the students to separate strands for analysis.