DNA, adaptation and evolution.

Discover the structure, function & history of DNA to expand on core content about evolution and adaptation. These materials are aimed at year 6.

Video & Powerpoint

Extract DNA from fruit
I take you step-by-step through extracting DNA from strawberries, kiwi fruit and bananas, so that any allergies can be accommodated. Detailed instructions for adults are linked below.

History of DNA
An introduction to the history of this astounding molecule. What is DNA? How was its structure revealed? Discover the fascinating history of the scientists involved.

Supporting documents & activities

Adults’ Guide to the Practical
ESSENTIAL reading before embarking on the practical. Contains more details on equipment, the method, and relevant safety advice.

Revise all the technical vocabulary for after you’ve tried the practical.

Bumper crossword for lots of technical vocabulary after you’ve watched the videos. The clues are in different forms: code to break (A=1 B=2 C=3), mixed up letters to unscramble, fill in the words missing from the paragraph, and some words to just fit in & write your own clue. Page 1 is the blank grid. Page 2 has initial letters for a bit of extra help. Solution on p3.

Emoji Genetics
Using emojis instead of pea plants to understand what Mendel had begun to discover about dominance and recessiveness. Page 1: the Reference info to read first. Pages 2&3: the task. Pages 5&6: the solutions.

Vocab cardgames
A double set of key vocab from this topic, with suggested quick games that can be played using them.

Cross-curricular activities

SPAG – prefix & suffix
using prefixes to mean less/under/below (inspired by DEoxyribo …) and using the suffix /tion/ (evolve -> evolution). There isn’t an answer page for this one as there are hundreds of possible correct words.

Reading comprehension
A short piece about the work of Gregor Mendel.

Maths – permutations & ratios/fractions
Work out how many permutations there are for the 4 bases of A, T, C & G. Ratio & fraction questions are based on Mendel’s pea experiments.

For many more activities, I highly recommend the YourGenome pages – https://www.yourgenome.org/ Produced by the absolute experts in genomics at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge, there’s lots to do and discover here.

Do let me have any feedback, comments or corrections, and let me know how you get on. If you’re happy to send me photos, I’ll update this page to share them with others.

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