SAVY 2019: Session 5, Day 1 – Dabbling with DNA (Rising 3rd/4th)
It was a busy and energetic day in Dabbling with DNA. The children expressed a lot of enthusiasm for the topic and immediately started with many questions and comments about DNA. After providing a few answers, Madeline (the TA) and I had the class brainstorm about the proper way to behave in class so that we can respect other’s opinions and ideas and have a productive time together. Each day we do a Getting To Know You (GTKY) activity and today’s was bingo. This is when you have a bingo sheet with various statements – I have a cat – and you go around the room asking your classmates it that statement applies to them.
We began the official lesson by comparing/contrasting living vs. non-living things. With some help, they generated a list of what differentiates organisms from inanimate matter – made of cells, metabolism, grow/develop, reproduce, adapt/evolve. This led to a debate about whether movement is a characteristic of all living things and whether plants move. The Venus flytrap was brought up as an example of plant movement. Next, we made wet mounts of Elodea leaves and cheek cells and talked about the differences between plant and animal cells. We talked about the basic parts of cells with an emphasis on the nucleus and several students were able to recall that the DNA resides in the nucleus. Lastly, we extracted DNA from strawberries and started looking at the detailed structure of the molecule. The day went by quickly and they are looking forward to tomorrow’s exploration of Mendelian genetics.