Design Brief: Engineering DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid): This Activity Integrates Technology (Genetic, Manufacturing, Material, Mechanical, and Biomedical Engineering) Art, and Science, for Students in Grades K to 12

By Goel, Lisa | The Technology Teacher, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Design Brief: Engineering DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid): This Activity Integrates Technology (Genetic, Manufacturing, Material, Mechanical, and Biomedical Engineering) Art, and Science, for Students in Grades K to 12


Goel, Lisa, The Technology Teacher


Context

What is DNA? What is its purpose? DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the basic unit of our physical and genetic makeup. It houses information expressed through our physical attributes, such as the color of our eyes, hair, skin, our height, etc. The design challenge presented here is to engineer DNA. In order to do this, students must first understand the basics of DNA. (Figure 1.) DNA is made up of two strands (refer to Figure 1) that are attached by base pairs. The structure of DNA looks like a spiral or coiled ladder. There are four bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). Amongst these base pairs, adenine (A) bonds to thymine (T), and guanine (G) bonds to cytosine (C). The bonding character between AT and GC differs in that A and T bonding consists of two long bonds and G and C has three shorter bonds.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The goal of this activity is to reconstruct DNA by investigating its structure and components. Students will be able to appreciate our genetic building blocks. Students will design, construct, and test various DNA structures. Using the engineering design process, students will be able to awaken their creativity and design ability towards understanding the genetic makeup of human beings.

Challenge

The engineering challenge here is to design, create, and test engineered DNA. Students should focus their efforts and creativity towards understanding the interactions between the bond strengths, the coiling of the DNA, and the different base pair matchups of the DNA. Students will have to utilize their creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills when designing and constructing their own DNA. It is recommended that students do this activity individually.

Materials

Students should be encouraged to bring household items for constructing their DNA. Necessary items are as follows: wire-based materials that have the ability to bend and fold easily (pipe cleaners, wire hangers, copper wire, etc), glue, tape, Velcro, string, scissors--virtually anything that has adhesive or sticky properties. The adhesive material will serve as bonds. For constructing the base pairs, students should use their creativity and pick materials that are distinguishable in four different ways. For example, construction paper of four different colors, or different types of fabrics, rubber, and cardboard. Each student will need a cylindrical rod, no smaller than 0.5 inches in diameter.

Procedure

Teachers should begin the design challenge with an open discussion with students by introducing DNA to the class. Describe the basic characteristics of DNA. Teachers should encourage students to question the properties of DNA and the role it plays in our lives. Once the foundation of DNA has been laid out, students should begin their design challenge: to engineer their own DNA. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Design Brief: Engineering DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid): This Activity Integrates Technology (Genetic, Manufacturing, Material, Mechanical, and Biomedical Engineering) Art, and Science, for Students in Grades K to 12
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.