March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

It’s “(DNA for) Dinner” Time

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

by Peggy G. Lemaux and Barbara Alonso

Update as of January 27, 2014. There has been a change since this article was published in May 2011. In order to download the free curricular materials you are now asked to complete a request form. Please visit http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner/ for details.

The creation of this 4-H/afterschool curriculum, “DNA for Dinner”, was sparked by development of the national 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) initiative. The 4-H program, which currently involves nearly 6 million youth in urban, suburban and rural communities, created the new SET initiative to try to reach another 1 million young people. The SET initiative encouraged curriculum development in wide topic areas, but biotechnology curricula were noticeably absent!

The five lessons in the “DNA for Dinner” curriculum, designed for fifth through eighth graders, include the following.

  • Dare to Be Different, focusing on organisms and genetic diversity
  • Language of Life, covering genomes and the genetic code
  • DNA for Dinner, focusing on genes, DNA, and reproduction
  • Building Blocks to Organisms covering amino acids, proteins and enzymes and
  • From Bread to Biotech, focused on classical breeding, genetic engineering, and restriction enzymes.

Each lesson has an introduction, open-ended discussion questions, math puzzles and three to five hands-on, computer-based or physical activities to demonstrate key points of the lesson. All lessons are available for download as PDFs at http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner. Lesson content was designed to meet the National Science Education Standards and can be used in whole or in part in various after-school and during-school venues.

An example of the learning goals, an activity and a math puzzle from Lesson 1, “Dare to Be Different”, is shown below.

What We Learn in Lesson 1. That all living things, organisms, are made up of cells. That the variation in organisms reflects their diversity. That the variety comes from the different genes and the characteristics they encode. And that organisms with many similar traits, and thus with similar genetic information, may be related.

An Activity from Lesson 1. Fruit and Vegi Hunt

DIRECTIONS:

Remind participants that fruits and vegetables have different characteristics and also different names. Challenge them to find in the word search a fruit or vegetable that has the characteristics given in the hint.


A Math Activity from the Math Menu of Lesson 1.

If there are 3,500 species of mammals and 350,000 different species of plants, how many times more plant species are there?

For more information, please visit http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner.

Peggy G. Lemaux is the cooperative extension specialist at University of California, Berkeley and Barbara Alonso is the communications specialist at University of California, Berkeley.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2 Responses

  1. When I click on the printable version of the word search, it is not found….so more searching I guess, unless you have some different directions.

  2. Dear Mary Ann,
    Thank you for your comment! I did some digging and found that since we published the article, they have changed their download procedure. The information is still free, but you now have to fill out a form to obtain access to it. Please visit http://ucbiotech.org/dnafordinner/ from there you will see information about how to access the curriculum.

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CSTA Endorses March for Science

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

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Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

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Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.