Introduction: 3D DNA Model and Video

My lesson is how I have my students create a Three-dimensional model of DNA. This lesson is used at the beginning of protein synthesis so students understand the structure of DNA before we talk about replication, transcription, and translation.

The students are encouraged to use any material that they want, but not food that can spoil as they sit in my room for a couple of weeks. Not only do I make students make the model I also make them record themselves describing the parts of the model and how they correspond to DNA structure. This helps me know if they truly understand the structure of DNA whereas before they wrote a key and paragraph describing and I realized that they didn't really understand what they had built or how the pieces go together.

The standards that are addressed by this lesson are the:


HS-LS1; From molecules to organisms, structures, and processes

HS-LS3-1; Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding instructions for characteristic traits passed from parent to offspring.

Ohio Science Standards:

B.H. 2 Structure and function of DNA in cells


Supplies can be anything that the student finds to use. some examples are paper towel rolls, pipe cleaners, beads, metal (students have welded models), construction paper, etc.

Step 1: Introduce New Unit: Central Dogma and Start With the Structure of DNA.

Step 2: Assign 3D Model for Homework, Depending on When Assigned Depends on the Amount of Time. (If Assigned on a Monday Make Due on Friday, However If Assigned Later in the Week, Make Due on Monday After the Weekend.)

Show students examples of previous students models. Discuss what they can use or not use and length of video along with details of the rubric.

Step 3: Give Students Doodle Notes With Structure of DNA and Have Them Complete on Own Using Textbook (Miller and Levine Biology Chapter 12) or Google.

These doodle notes are found on Teachers Pay Teachers. ( I also add my own parts to end for structure of DNA to have students do.

Step 4: Review the Doodle Notes With Students and Illustrate DNA Using Past Models and Parts. Be Sure Students Understand the Impact That DNA Structure Was Not Always Known.

Discussion Questions

How long ago was DNA structure discovered?

Can you order your DNA? ( Could I do that when I was in high school? Why not? How did the discovery of the structure of DNA contribute to the Human Genome project? What does the discovery of the structure of DNa help us do now? (identify genes, mutations, diseases, gene therapy)

Step 5: Grade 3D Model Using Rubric on Students Assignment.

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