DNA Mutation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Learning about DNA mutations can be fun for your students. They will watch and discuss a video lesson, demonstrate causes of mutations, present characteristics or diseases caused by mutations and take a quiz in this lesson plan.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define mutation
  • Identify different types of mutations
  • Explain the cause of mutations


1-2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


  • Computer with projector
  • Student computers
  • Copies of the quiz (enough for each student)
  • Index cards with the name of a different disease or characteristic caused by mutations on each one (these should be faced down on a table or front desk)


  • Start the lesson by asking your students what they know about mutations. Ask them:
    • What is a mutation?
    • Are mutations good or bad?
    • Do you have any mutations in your body?
  • Allow them to give their answers whether they are accurate or not.
  • Now watch the video lesson: Mutations: When DNA is Copied Wrong.
  • Pause at 1:48, then ask your students:
    • What is a mutation?
    • What are alleles?
    • What are some different alleles created by mutations?
  • Continue the video, pausing at 3:16. Now ask your students:
    • What are somatic mutations?
    • How do they differ from germline mutations?
    • What is a gene-level mutation?
    • What is a chromosomal mutation?
  • Play the lesson pausing at 4:24. Ask these questions:
    • What is a codon?
    • What is a substitution DNA change?
    • What is an insertion DNA change?
    • What is a deletion DNA change?
  • Show the remainder of the video and make sure your students understand the words in bold.

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