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DNA Replication Lesson Plan & Activity

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What happens during DNA replication? A video lesson provides detailed information and an activity allows students to create a simple model. Related lessons and additional activities will help you take instruction further.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • label components of DNA
  • explain the process of DNA replication
  • create a model simulating DNA replication

Length

  • 1 to 1.5 hours

Materials

  • White paper
  • Markers
  • Green yarn
  • Purple yarn
  • Gray yarn
  • Scissors

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.3

Follow precisely a complex multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.4

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 11-12 texts and topics.

Key Vocabulary

  • Leading strand
  • Lagging strand
  • Obazaki fragments

Instructions

NOTE: This lesson is designed for students who already have a solid grasp of the principals of DNA.

  • Begin by asking students to use the paper and markers to draw out the process of DNA replication. The caveat is that they need to try to demonstrate the process with images only, using no words.
  • Now have the students take turns sharing their drawings with the class. They should show them to the class without explanation, and then respond to any questions regarding what is happening in their drawing.
  • When all students have finished presenting their drawings, play the video lesson DNA Replication: The Leading Strand and DNA Polymerase Activities, allowing students to add to or revise their drawing along with the information presented in the video lesson.
  • Did any of the students correctly demonstrate the process of DNA replication with their sketches? Discuss this in light of the information gleaned from the video lesson.

Discussion Questions

  • Is Obazaki's theory on DNA replication the only possibility?
  • What things could potentially hinder DNA replication?

Activity

  • Have the class cut a strand of green yarn. This will represent the leading strand.
  • Now have them cut a strand of purple yarn. This will represent the lagging strand.
  • Next have them cut many smaller strands of gray yarn to represent the Okazaki fragments.
  • Students should assemble the strands to mirror the DNA replication process, placing (tying on) the Okazaki fragments in the appropriate places.

Extensions

  • Show the class video renderings of DNA replication in progress.
  • Have students make a step by step list of the process of DNA replication.

Related Lessons

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