Extracting the Max From a DNA Extraction by: Edmund Marek, Charlotte Mulvihill, and Don Bell

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Students of all ages get a thrill out of actually seeing clumps or strands of DNA. The Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery! Project, a professional development workshop offered to science teachers, has always included a DNA-extraction activity. Over the course of four years, as the authors conducted these workshops for scores of teachers, they extended and refined the DNA-extraction activity to make it relevant to middle school students. Although the protocol for this exercise is on their project website along with teaching tips, they describe here the use of oral directions to give teachers many opportunities to interact with their students, and to assess how well students can follow directions and stay focused on the task.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:25 PM

This article/activity was helpful because I can incorperate it into my classsroom. I am always looking for interactive activities that help draw the students into the lesson. It also will allow students to work cooperatively with each other. Applicable for middle school students with set up completed by the teacher.

Michelle L
Michelle L

  • on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:59 PM

This article has the simplest method of extracting DNA that I have seen. No blender needed! Instructions are explained thoroughly.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:44 PM

While it is not vital for middle school students to be able to talk about DNA in depth, students need to know that DNA is in cells. The activity shows how to extract the DNA using fairly simple materials (substitutions are given for some of the materials that may be too difficult to get). While high school students would be expected to know more about the process, middle school students could have a viusal for the molecule they know is in the cell but cannot see.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

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