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DNA Extraction Activity

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Double (Helix) the Fun with this DNA Extraction Activity + ward ' s science Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: Elementary and Middle School Time Requirements: Activity Time: Activity 20 minutes (set up time will take a few hours) Teaching Topics & Concepts: • Biology, DNA structure and function, cell structure, constructing explanations and using models Materials: • 2 teaspoons blue or lemon-lime sports drink (not sugar-free or G2) • 1 Small clear plastic cup with lid • 2 drops dishwashing liquid • 2 teaspoons isopropyl alcohol (at least 70%, the higher, the better) • 1 stir stick Set Up: • Chill the rubbing alcohol in the freezer for several hours or overnight (don't worry, it won't freeze). Background Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a molecule that contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, live, and reproduce. These instructions are found inside every cell and are passed down from parents to their children. The structure of a DNA molecule is too small to be seen with even the most powerful of microscopes. You might not be able to actually see individual A, C, T, and G nucleotides, but we can use some common kitchen ingredients to extract DNA from our own cells — DNA that you CAN see. Procedure: 1. Pour 2 teaspoons of sports drink into a clear plastic cup. 2. Pour the drink into your mouth and swish the solution vigorously for one minute. Use your teeth to scrape the insides of your cheeks (some gargling is okay too). 3. Spit the drink back into the cup. 4. Add 2 drops of dishwashing soap to the cup. 5. Stir the soap into the solution completely (try not to create too many bubbles). 6. Gently pour the 2 teaspoons of chilled isopropyl down the sides of the cup. 7. Place a lid on the container and gently swirl (don't shake). See the white stringy clumps forming where the alcohol and solution meet? That's DNA! 8. Gently twirl the stir stick in the cup to allow these strands to wind around it like thread around a spool. Safety • Adult assistance is advised when handling isopropyl alcohol. • Never consume isopropyl alcohol. • Safety gear, such as gloves and glasses, may be required. !

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