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THE SCIENCEBIG QUESTIONSQUIZDISCUSSION FORUMTEACHERS' NOTES
Structure
TEACHERS' NOTES
 

'discover... DNA' is based upon DNA: the molecule of life, an afternoon of lectures held at the Royal Institution to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the determination of the structure of DNA, The aim of the site is to provide an interactive resource for young people which complements the GCSE syllabus and enhances your school's visit to the Royal Institution. It covers specific topics in the GCSE Biology and Double Science syllabus, notably Life Processes and Livings. The specific educational targets are detailed below.

'discover... DNA' is divided into 4 main areas: the science, quiz, big questions and discussion forum.

THE SCIENCE

the science is intended as a resource area for pupils to access from school or at home, and can be used either for learning prior to attending the lectures, or for further study and exploration after attending the lecture. the science is where the majority of the GCSE content lies, and serves to complement topics raised in the lecture. It covers the structure of DNA, the role DNA plays in cell division and growth, nature and nurture and the laws of inheritance, and discusses some of the ways that DNA is used in the world today. Each topic has an interactive activity that is intended to explain the more complex areas of the science. did you know...? facts are scattered throughout the site.

The 4 areas of the science are as follows:

1.

the recipe for life: what is DNA and how is it structured? This section provides the background information, and describes how the sequence of units along the DNA chain provides the code that determines what an organism is, and what makes it different to another organism.
This section includes the following activity:

  • DNA focus - zoom in on a DNA strand. View the various levels, from the human body through the nucleus of a cell, down to chromosomes and even further, down to a single gene. Includes information about each stage.

GCSE syllabus

GCSE Science KS4 Double, Life Processes and Living Things: Cell Activity Pupils should be taught:
c) that the nucleus contains chromosomes that carry the genes.
GCSE Biology, Life Processes and Living Things: Cell Activity

2.

how do we grow?: This section takes a look at replication and cell division, describing the cell cycle, from interphase through to telophase. It also clarifies the difference between meiosis and mitosis.
This section includes the following activity:

  • cell cycle - test knowledge of the cell cycle in this activity. Identify the diagram and description to complete the full process of cell division.

GCSE syllabus

  • GCSE Science KS4 Double, Life Processes and Living Things: Cell Activity
    Pupils should be taught:
    d) how cells divide by mitosis during growth, and by meiosis to produce gametes.
    Inheritance
    Pupils should be taught:
    d) how sex is determined in humans
    e) the mechanism of monohybrid inheritance where there are dominant and recessive alleles
    f) about mechanisms by which some diseases are inherited
    g) that the gene is a section of DNA
  • GCSE Biology, Life Processes and Living Things: Cell Activity, Cell Division
3.

nature or nurture?: in the context of DNA, what is nature and nurture? This section goes into detail about the laws of inheritance, including a passage about Gregor Mendel and his peas. It also looks at the idea of inheritance in terms of dominant and recessive alleles, and disease.
This section includes the following activity:

  • Mutation man - see if you can identify which character is most susceptible to mutation in this fun interactive game.

National Curriculum / GSCE syllabus

  • GCSE Science KS4 Double, Life Processes and Living Things: Variation, inheritance and evolution Pupils should be taught:
    a) how variation arises from genetic causes, environmental causes, and a combination of both
    b) that sexual reproduction is a source of genetic variation, while asexual reproduction produces clones
    c) that mutation is a source of genetic variation and has a number of causes
  • GCSE Biology, Life Processes and Living Things: Variation, inheritance and evolution, Variation and Genetics and DNA
4.

how we use DNA: what is cloning and what are its practical uses in the world today? This section also deals with the subject of genetic engineering, and how this is more prevalent in the world than we might at first think.
This section includes the following activity:

  • DNA detectives - play the part of a forensic scientist and see the various stages that are necessary for creating a DNA profile. If you are successful you may be able to help the police in their identification of the suspects in a heinous crime.

GCSE syllabus

  • GCSE Science KS4 Double, Life Processes and Living Things: Variation, inheritance and evolution. Pupils should be taught:
    Inheritance
    h) the basic principles of cloning, selective breeding and genetic engineering
  • GCSE Biology, Life Processes and Living Things: Variation, inheritance and evolution, Variation and Genetics and DNA
QUIZ

The quiz is intended to be a follow-up activity, for students to test their absorption of the information in the science area, or after attending one of the lectures. All of the answers can be found in the science or big questions, but it is assumed that by taking on the quiz challenge the science student is already prepared. The aim is to answer all of the questions in the shortest possible time, and the fastest will receive a prize from the Ri.

BIG QUESTIONS

big questions are intended as a 'further research' resource for use at home or at school. It is aimed to stimulate current DNA research. You may wish to use these questions in the classroom to start wider discussion or individual study. The topic areas covered are:

  • In the future, will we be able to choose what our children will be like?
  • Will scientists be able to create new life forms?
  • Does the human genome have the answers to conditions such as diabetes or Alzheimer's Disease?
  • Can the human genome predict your personality?
  • Can we use stem cells to treat disease?
DISCUSSION FORUM

The discussion forum is intended to create an online community of learning, where pupils can discuss the topics that have been raised in the site with other science students. The discussion forum can be accessed by clicking on any of the 'Discuss it…' links in the science, or via the discussion forum link on the menu bar.

Useful Links

General information
The Human Genome Project
http://www.sanger.ac.uk/HGP/

General Information about DNA
http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/dna/dna.htm

THE RECIPE FOR LIFE
Cells Alive
http://www.cellsalive.com/cells/animcell.htm

Molecular Biology Notebook
http://www.rothamsted.bbsrc.ac.uk/notebook/courses/guide/

HOW DO WE GROW?
DNA and Nuclear Division
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/webwise/spinneret/genes/dna.htm

NATURE OR NURTURE
The Seed Site - information about Mendel
http://theseedsite.co.uk/hybrids.html

HOW WE USE DNA
DNA forensic information
http://www.dnalc.org/resources/dnadetective.html

DNA Gene Testing - Links and Resources
http://www.dnagenetesting.com/DNA_Links.php

UK Centre for Tissue Engineering
http://www.ukcte.org

Teachers' experiences
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