We have a range of activities and resources that can be used in secondary schools on our website www.yourgenome.org. There is an extensive range of fact pages with easily accessible information for students and teachers on topics ranging from DNA, genes and genomes, cell biology, human disease, genetic modification and DNA sequencing.
Below is a selection of resources that we recommend to introduce the basic concepts of DNA, genes and genomes, DNA sequencing as well as the applications of genomics.
Introducing DNA, genes, and genomes
The following hands-on activities can be used to introduce DNA and discuss its structure and function.
Zoom in on your genome – This animation shows where and how the human genome is stored within our cells.
DNA origami – This hands-on activity allows you to create your own paper model of a DNA double helix.
From DNA to protein – This 3D animation shows how proteins are made in the cell from the information in the DNA code.
Function Finder BLAST – Decode DNA sequences and discover the proteins they code for using online scientific databases.
The following resources can be used to introduce the topic of DNA sequencing in the classroom:
DNA sequencing – This 3D animation shows the basic steps in the method of DNA sequencing that was used during the Human Genome Project.
Sequencing at speed – this animation shows the steps in massively parallel sequencing, one of the methods used to sequence genomes at the Wellcome Genome Campus.
Demonstrating the applications of genetics and genomics
MRSA gene hunt – Explore antibiotic resistance by taking a closer look at the genomes of two strains of the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus.
BRAF: From gene to cancer therapy – Take on the role of a genome researcher and look at real cancer DNA datasets, taken from cancer patients, to find areas of mutation in the BRAF gene.
Direct to consumer testing – a film that explores direct-to-consumer genetic testing through the stories of people who have considered taking this type of genetic test.
Debating genomics and its applications
The activity below enables students to discuss and debate the social and ethical issues of the application of genomics.
Genome generation – Debate current and potential issues in genetics and genomics with this card-based discussion activity.
Debate pages – YourGenome has a selection of debate pages that can be used by students to help them frame arguments for and against topics such as “is germline gene therapy ethical?”, “Should animals be used in research?” and “is it ethical to have a DNA database?”