Monday, 30 January 2012

Teaching DNA and fun experiments

This week my friend and I did such a cool science experiment with our children!! We are using the Real Science 4 Kids program and the last chapter is DNA. So for the last two weeks we have been working with the children on understanding polymers, DNA, and genetics. We decided to veered from the experiments in the book and do a few different ones. 2 weeks ago we had the kids build polymers using tooth picks, gum drops and marshmallows. We also built DNA and RNA strand with K'nex and explained genetics.

We used cake decorating pens to label the marshmallows

Kids had fun assembling various molecules

Then the best part-- they could eat them:)

Building DNA with K'nex

Making a double Helix

Next the kids made edible DNA strands. Again we had the children label the bases with cake writing pens. Explaining only certain bases can link up with other bases.

They kids had fun playing with them and then they ate them. Class is always better when you can eat what you just created.

This week we found a fun video explaining how to extracting DNA from strawberries. We decided to give it a try and had wonderful results. First the kids watched a video on YouTube.

Next we got out our supplies and tried to replicate the was pretty neat to see.

Need strawberries and a plastic bag

Add a teaspoon or so of water and mushed up the strawberries.

Carefully pour only the liquid of the strawberries into a test tube. Try to avoid clumps of strawberries. Parent help was required for this.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of dish washing soap. Stir it up with a wooden skewer.

Very carefully add ice cold rubbing alcohol to the test tube. You want the alcohol to remain on top of the strawberry juice.

Now just watch and see something amazing happen in just minutes.

We have DNA. The little white strands are what you are looking for.

Looking at the test tube about an hour later.

How cool was that:)!!! The kids really had fun. I must admit I was quite impressed myself.


  1. Very cool science activities! Looks like your kids had fun, too! Will have to try these!

  2. That's so cool. I am definitely going to look up Real Science 4 kids.

  3. Very cool! I am pinning this idea to use with my girls. We started RS4K Biology Level 1 a while back.

  4. I love this experiment. You can also use cheek cells and do their own DNA!

  5. Great experiment!

    We're using Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry this year. Glad to hear the other RS4K levels are good, too!

  6. I am very impressed. I am sending your link to my daughter who homeschools. I always learn new things when I visit your blog. I feel like I am being homeschooled along with enjoying your adventures.
    Blessings to you for this great tutorial.

  7. wow....wonderful. i studied DNA last week with my son...nothing can compare to your classroom...fabulous..he would have liked science a whole lot more if you were the teacher!!
    i am your nest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  8. What great science activities! I like the edible DNA.

  9. Fun extraction experiment! I wrote about a similar experiment (and tried it out with the kids) in a book I worker on a few years ago. We extracted DNA from romaine lettuce using a blender, sieve, and dish soap. The kids really got into it.

  10. That is very cool! I was thinking making DNA with food was fun and then you extracted some from strawberries, how super cool is that?

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  11. I'm so glad you linked this post up to "Look What We Did!" Thanks :)

  12. We have been using marshmallows and gum drops in our chemistry this year. They make great models of molecules, and elements. I LOVE your edible DNA! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us at NOBH!

  13. That is very cool! Thanks for sharing and linking up with Brag Time Thursday!

  14. Love these fun and yummy experiments on DNA! That is awesome! I will be referring back to this post if/when I get to a genetics unit with my kids :) Clicked a vote for you!

    1. That is SO awesome!!! The best thing is that I have strawberries at home and we are totally doing this tomorrow!!!! How cool is that that you found DNA strands!!

      Thanks for linking to "Look What We Did"

  15. I don't know how I missed this!! This is awesome!!! I will have to mark this for a future lesson!!

  16. That looks like lots of fun...I'll have to do that when mine are a little older :).

  17. That was amazing!!! I never would have thought it possible. You've proved me wrong!!!

  18. Can't wait to try this out with my students!!!