DNA Coloring


DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning, and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses. It consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix structure.

Each nucleotide is composed of a sugar molecule (deoxyribose), a phosphate group, and one of four nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).

In this activity, students color a DNA molecule according to directions that describe the base-pair rule and how the backbone of the molecule is composed of deoxyribose and phosphate arranged in a double helix. 

Students also color individual nucleotides, showing the phosphate, deoxyribose, and the attached base, either A, T, G, or C.

Messenger RNA

In addition, students are introduced to the concept of messenger RNA and how the sequence of bases determine and amino acid chain and the traits of the organism.

The activity ends with a description of how replication occurs and explains why it is called semi-conservative, showing how one strand from the original is saved during the process.

Students  will color DNA, RNA, amino acids and the process of replication. They also must answer questions about DNA from the reading.

This worksheet can be used as an introduction to DNA and molecular biology or as a reinforcement for topics already discussed in class.

Time Required:  35-45 minutes
Grade Level: 9-12

HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.