We’ve been studying biology this year, and we are spending some time learning about DNA. In addition to adding sketches to their science notebooks, I wanted my boys to have a hands-on project for some learning fun. We looked at a diagram of DNA, and the boys learned the names of its parts (sugar phosphate backbone, base pairs: Adenine/Thymine, Guanine/Cytosine).
Using a kit from Wikki Stix, my boys chose the colors they wanted to use for their DNA models and began to discover more about DNA.
First, they constructed the sugar backbone, then they snipped the Wikki Stix to size for the base pairs, and they even considered what different super heroes’ DNA would look like. It was decided that Hulk’s would be green, and Captain America’s would be red, white, and blue, of course!
Creating models to illustrate science concepts is a great way to make learning “stick,” especially if your children are visual or kinesthetic learners. Hands on projects that demonstrate the makeup of the DNA molecule are fun supplements to life science or biology curriculum.
With the kit, the boys built a three dimensional DNA double helix by pressing different colored stix together in a certain pattern without needing glue or any other materials, except scissors. Using specific colors to represent the bases, the kids learned the sequence that makes up the genetic code.
My kids and I understand more about DNA now that we have built it and seen it for ourselves.
Even my teens benefit greatly from hands-on activities, and they had just as much fun with this project as my third grader. Don’t underestimate the rewards of projects and experiments in your homeschool! A little extra effort every now and then is really worth it. This simple project led to a dinner time discussion about DNA, and my youngest remembers the parts of DNA now.Share this: