Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding The Central Dogma (#1 of 6): Genetic Material - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


One of the significant challenges for students trying to master biology (especially in the 9th and 10th grades) is the relative obscurity of the microscopic world. The concept of DNA is well known thanks to modern media (Science and Forensic TV shows, film, news outlets, etc.). But to really understand DNA and its amazing properties and functions requires that students tangibly interact with it as a model. These two students have shown (to greater or lesser degrees) that they understand how it is built, how the variety of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) are similar and different.

Student "DNA Model" #1: This student scored 4/4 (100%) due to the fact that all answers were correct, all colors were added according to the prompt, and the craftsmanship was done with care.

Student "DNA Model" #2: This student scored 2.75/4 (83%) due to the fact that a section of nucleotide drawings were not completed and the color code used in DNA replication section were not the same as used previously (p. 5). That being said, this student answered all of the content questions accurately.

Knowing the structure of these important molecules will help unlock the resulting functions very much like Drs. Watson and Crick had done in the early 1950s!

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Helping to Make the Unseen, Crystal Clear
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The Central Dogma (#1 of 6): Genetic Material

Unit 3: 4) DNA & RNA ("Instructions for Life")
Lesson 4 of 10

Objective: Systems of specialized cells within organisms help them perform the essential functions of life. (HS-LS1-1) All cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA molecules. Genes are regions in the DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins, which carry out most of the work of cells. (HS-LS1-1 & HS-LS3-1)

Big Idea: The structure of DNA is a double helix. Its shape explains how hereditary information is stored and passed along to offspring.

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