Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding DNA, part 1-Structure and Function - Section 2: Introduce New Material


Students can gain a conceptual understanding about scientific concepts using non-scientific books, movies, games, etc...  In this lesson, I use The Da Vinci Code storyline because it allows me to help students develop a basic understanding that DNA is a coded message that builds unique organisms. What better way to convey this understanding than using a spy thriller that involves a priceless masterpiece that has a coded message embedded in it?

The movie trailer is intriguing and it captures the attention of students immediately.  Without explaining DNA and its function, I build a basis of understanding by explaining the plot.  After telling students about the plot, I challenge to listen to what I have to teach about DNA and then see if they can make a connection between the movie and DNA.

While some students will struggle to make the connection, most of them will be able to associate the coded message in the Mona Lisa with the coded message in DNA that when read, explains how unique organisms are made.  Building understanding using non-scientific movies or books helps all my different learner types learn science concepts.

  Non-Science metaphors
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Non-Science metaphors
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DNA, part 1-Structure and Function

Unit 2: Unit 3- Growth and Heredity
Lesson 2 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to identify the structure and functions of DNA, and explain the role of DNA in storing and transmitting cellular information.

Big Idea: DNA contains a coded message that must be replicated.

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