Ursuline College Visits Memorial for DNA Day Activity with 8th Grade Students
8th Grade science students in Mrs. Erin Tisdale’s classroom took part in an engaging learning activity about DNA with the assistance of five undergraduate Biology majors from Ursuline College on Tuesday, April 18th. The activity was a special way to mark the upcoming celebration of DNA Day on April 25th, which commemorates the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, as well as the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953.
The special presentation began with a brief PowerPoint presentation, which included a short video clip from “Bill Nye the Science Guy” on the structure and function of DNA. Students then participated in a class discussion and review of the important points. In addition, many students shared prior knowledge about DNA learned during a previous classroom lesson. The second part of the activity involved extracting the actual DNA of a strawberry using common household ingredients! After explaining and modeling the entire experiment, the students from Ursuline College assisted the 8th graders in completing each step of the extraction, which involved mashing a single strawberry in a Ziploc bag, gently mixing it with a buffer solution of water, soap and salt, and pouring it through a coffee filter into a cup. After slowly adding a precipitating solution and mixing well, the students isolated the actual DNA of the strawberry! Afterwards, students discussed the results and shared their reactions to the experiment.
The fun learning activity was organized by Lynn Ulatowski, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Ursuline College. Professor Ulatowski has a personal connection with the district, as her daughter graduated from Brush High School last year. The SEL Schools wish to thank Professor Lynn Ulatowski and the students at Ursuline College for providing our 8th graders an exciting learning experience and highlighting the importance of STEM education!