Human DNA modeling

Beth Smith teaches 10th grade biology classes at Fayetteville Perry High School. After attending the Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored Ag Biotech Academy summer workshop for teachers, she had some great activities to use with her students!

They made a human model of DNA (matched base pairs) then “cut” them with a restriction enzyme. The DNA fragments (students) navigated through the “gel” (my classroom) to simulate gel electrophoresis. The larger “fragments” had a harder time moving through the “gel” than the smaller fragments. Smith said, “The students really liked acting it out. My principal even came to watch the activity—I am not sure he understood it but he liked it!”

She also had her students construct a timeline of genetic engineering from the cards she received at the workshop, which really helped the students to put everything in perspective.

Smith’s class utilized other GMO resources on the website, including the e-learning course “What do you know about GMOs?” She said, “Our school has recently purchased laptops for every student. Every time I can incorporate technology and use the student laptops, my administration is happy.”

“This workshop was very helpful to me,” Smith said. “My textbooks and teacher resources are 18 years old. I did not have much previous knowledge about GMOs or genetic engineering. The information and free material were very informative.”