DNA.  We all have it and we know it’s important. It tells our bodies how to work. But what exactly is it and what is a double helix?  Come along with Desi DNA and learn how DNA is built and where it is found.  Make your own DNA model, act it out with your friends, and even learn how to extract DNA from fruit in your own kitchen.  With Discovering DNA, learning about this important topic becomes a piece of cake for elementary aged kids!

Mini-course is provided as a 26-page PDF including a separate Science Tool Kit PDF to collect your badges.

Prefer a printed mini-course? Discovering DNA is also available as a beautiful workbook here on Amazon.com.

Course Contents

  • Story: What is DNA? Learn about the DNA double helix, where it is found, and why it is so important for all living things.
  • Activity 1: Build Your Own DNA Model. Make your own double helix with candy, fruit, and toothpicks.
  • Activity 2: Base Pairing with Buddies. Can you and your friends (or stuffed animals) figure out who pairs with whom in this movement-based activity?
  • Activity 3: Help Watson and Crick. A DNA molecule is just like a puzzle—learn how all the pieces fit together.
  • Activity 4: See DNA for Yourself! Extract DNA from fruit in your own kitchen.  All you need is rubbing alcohol and ice.
  • Curiosity Connector. Use these links to see all kinds of neat DNA models and interactive games.
  • Tools for Your Tool Kit. See if you can answer all the questions about DNA to earn Tools for your Science Tool Kit.
  • Glossary. Learn the scientific terms used for this important biological molecule.


Materials Needed

Two thick pieces of licorice, toothpicks, mini marshmallows (four different colors) OR four different kinds of fruit, blender OR sealable plastic baggie, 1⁄2 cup
of one of the following (fresh or frozen strawberries, peas, spinach, broccoli, or banana), measuring spoons, table salt, water, liquid dish detergent, clear plastic or glass cups, coffee filter or small strainer, ice-cold rubbing alcohol, popsicle stick or plastic coffee stirrer, scissors, 2 pieces of yarn or string (each about 5 feet long), tape, 9 friends or stuffed animals


Concepts and Ideas

Discovering DNA includes the following Disciplinary Core Ideas as described in the Next Generation Science Standards:

Structure and Function (LS1.A), Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms (LS1.C)

Scientific Expert  Jennifer Burbank.

Illustrations by Charlie Alolkoy.