DNA Discovery Kit© Teacher Resources

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Armed with the nitrogenous bases, deoxyribose groups and phosphate groups, and the same facts that Watson and Crick had in 1953, your students will be able discover the structure of DNA for themselves. As your students manipulate the A-T and G-C base pairs in the magnetic DNA model, they will feel the simulated hydrogen bonding between the nucleotides and see the double helix emerge. The DNA Discovery Kit© also reinforces the concept that the practice of science is a dynamic, creative process, in which groups of people work together – or in competition – to construct an understanding of the natural world. 

DNA Discovery Kit© Contents and Assembly Directions

The DNA model kit’s 12 Base-Pair Set contains 6 A-T and 6 G-C base pairs, display stand and 2 mini toobers. The 2 Base Pair Set includes 1 A-T and 1 G-C base pair. Find assembly instructions, directions for 3 ways to display the DNA Discovery Kit©, and instructions for assembling mini toober DNA in this document.


DNA Discovery Kit© Introduction

In the introduction, you will find background information on the development of the DNA Discovery Kit©, general information on using the kit and a description of all of the DNA Discovery Kit© documents available to you.


DNA Discovery Kit© The DNA Discovery Approach

The Discovery Approach to investigating the structure of DNA allows students to discover the double helix in much the same way as Watson and Crick did with their cut-out pieces in 1953. In addition to gaining an understanding of the structure, this approach enables your students to experience science as a dynamic, creative process, in which groups of people work together — or in competition — to construct an understanding of the natural world.


DNA Discovery Kit© The DNA Guided Discovery Approach

The Guided Discovery Approach requires that students manipulate the DNA Discovery Kit© model pieces to discover the structure of DNA, but in a series of lessons that are more structured than those described in the Discovery Approach. The blue italic text in yellow boxes provides questions you can use to stimulate your student’s exploration of the structure of DNA. Each question is followed by a brief description of the concepts that students should discover in their exploration and the ensuing discussion.


DNA Discovery Kit© Student Handout

Your students’ challenge is to use this DNA model kit’s nucleotide functional groups to see if they can discover the correct structure of double-stranded DNA, just as Watson and Crick did over 50 years ago.


DNA Discovery Kit© 3 Frequently Asked Questions

How do these magnetic DNA models compare with the chemical drawings of nucleotides in my textbook? How does the model show that the 2 strands of DNA are anti-parallel? Can incorrect base pairs be formed with the model pieces?


DNA Discovery Kit© Watson and Crick Articles

"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acids" by James Watson and Francis Crick, published in the April 25, 1953 issue of Nature, describes the structure of double-stranded DNA. "Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid", published in the May 30, 1953 issue of Nature, describes the importance of DNA within living cells.


DNA Discovery Kit© Additional DNA Resources

A list of some excellent DNA-related websites to help you make the most of the DNA Discovery Kit’s© lessons and activities.


Molecule of the Month on DNA

The Molecule of the Month by scientist, author and artist Dr. David Goodsell includes an introduction to the structure and function of the chosen molecule and a discussion of its relevance to human health and welfare. Molecule of the Month articles are frequently referred to by teachers, students and researchers.


DNA Discovery Kit© Next Generation Science Standards

Connections to: A Framework for K-12 Science Education Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas