Teacher Resources

Teachers, the purpose of this website is to get students really excited about science! Sure, the information necessary for the curriculum is important, but so is the process of scientific exploration and inquiry! The goal in building this particular module was to engage students in more of a research narrative--knowing what sparks research, why we research on the molecular level and build up to disease level, and then providing students with examples of actual research and how it is being applied in modern disease research endeavors.

Feel free to modify any of the text content to adapt to your own classroom and teaching style. Also, don't be afraid to provide students with the link to the website! They might have questions about some of the more complex material, but having students explore the website will directly engage them with research and the nature of science, itself.

Below I have included some activities that might make DNA more tangible for students, as well as help them get a sense of the scale within a cell:

  • DNA Extraction from a Strawberry

    This lab, though a little messy, gives students first-hand experience with DNA. Without using fancy or expensive equipment, you can provide students with visual evidence of DNA. Bananas make a good substitute if you can't find strawberries in season.

    Strawberry DNA Extraction Lab Procedure, courtesy of the University of Washington.

    Supplemental Questions and Analysis

  • DNA Coiling and Condensation

    Progression from DNA to Chromosome
    This activity allows students to experience the amount of coiling and condensation required for DNA to fit into the nucleus.In EACH of the cells in our bodies, there is approximately 6ft. of DNA (if you were to stretch it from end to end). This activity gives each student their own "DNA" and gives them the opportunity to explore how and why DNA condenses.

    Activity Procedure


This website was created by UNC Senior, Brooke Sauer, as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Future Teachers Internship. The website is intended for use by biology students and teachers to inspire students to become engaged in science and to supplement their classroom knowledge.

I would like to thank the following people for the wonderful guidance and knowledge they provided me with this summer:

  • The HHMI-Future Teacher program was supported in part by a grant to UNC-Chapel Hill from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program.
  • Dr. Jennifer Coble (UNC-BEST) and Dr. Patricia Pukkila, for writing our grant and providing us with fantastic advice
  • The UNC Baccalaureate Education in Science and Teaching (UNC-BEST) Program is a collaboration between the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences. The Program allows science and mathematics majors to earn their high school science teaching license and their science degree in four years.
  • Dr. Stacie Meaux, for being patient with me as I learned the ins and outs of the lab, and for providing wonderful advice for my module
  • Dr. Miranda Thomas, for ensuring that my module was amenable to high school students
  • Amanda Foster and Sarah Dooley, for providing us all with superb technical knowledge and guiding us as we built our websites
  • The Marzluff Lab for allowing me to get involved with current research endeavors
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