4. DNA Models

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DNA structure: click on the image to see it rotateDNA structure: click on the image to see it rotateIn this activity, students “discover” the structure of DNA by playing with puzzle pieces representing the component pieces of the DNA molecule: the sugar deoxyribose, phosphate groups, and the 4 nucleic acids (adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine). The process the students go through in putting the puzzle together resembles the way James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the molecular structure of DNA by manipulating molecular models of the component pieces (and a heavy reliance on the prior experimental work of Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, and Erwin Chargaff). The model created by the students makes a lovely classroom decoration and reference for discussing DNA replication, transcription and translation.

Can model and describe the general structure of DNA.
Can apply base pairing rules to assemble a DNA molecule.
Can infer that the sequence of the nucleic acids in DNA is the key to how DNA provides instructions to the cell.
Can relate this DNA puzzle activity to Watson and Crick’s original discovery of the structure of DNA.

Assembling the DNA puzzleAssembling the DNA puzzleVocabulary
Nucleic acid
Base pairs

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4dna_models.doc 59.5 KB
dna_pieces.pdf 1.09 MB