In 2017 we led a project to work with 500 Key Stage 2 pupils in our region, using a cross-curricular model to explore genomics and archaeology and what they can reveal about our past and our present. We worked with Oxford Archaeology East and The Little Story Telling Company to devise and deliver outreach workshops at schools in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Teachers then had the opportunity to devise a classroom project based on the topic of “what can DNA and archaeology tell us about people and animals from the past?” by using resources and activities that we devised. These are all free to download and use in your classroom from the links below. The classroom activities are:
Extracting DNA: A practical science activity to extract DNA from strawberries using household items.
DNA double helix: Create a DNA model using jelly babies and cocktail sticks.
Code crackers: Pupils will be code crackers and crack a DNA code to find out what it does.
Ancient belongings: Explore some ancient artefacts found at the Wellcome Genome Campus to think about what objects can tell us about people from the past.
Fantastic flints: Pupils will make their own flint tool from a bar of soap and use reasoning skills to identify different flint tools.
Recreate a face: Become a DNA detective and recreate the faces of some of the past residents of Hinxton by deciphering their genetic code.
Think it through: Encourage pupils to discuss their ideas about what we can learn from the past through archaeology and DNA. For example, what can we learn about our ancestors and ourselves? Does finding ancient DNA enable us to bring animals back from the past?