the definition of "ballin" is "Living the good life" in and out of work. This is what makes me love life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

3c: Engaging Students in Learning with a model of DNA, chromosomes, genes, and nucleus

     Often teachers find everyday materials and find a new way to use them in the classroom. It's a part of the job that sticks with you and even in the summer I see items in a new way and try to find new ways to help my students learn difficult concepts.  I have noticed that even retired teachers can't turn their brains off and even though they may not have a class anymore they still continue to look for new materials for the classroom.

Here is one of my examples from my classroom:

skein of yarn (AKA: Chromosome)

it might look like a skein of yarn to you...but to a biology teacher (like myself) and to my students it represents a chromosome. Because it is just like DNA that has been all coiled up and packaged so that it is easy to move in the cell.

     Could you imagine if they sold yarn uncoiled in the store like this?

Uncoiled yarn (AKA: DNA in the cell in Interphase)
Yarn uncolied and in a skein (AKA: DNA in Interphase and Prophase)
this is a model of what your DNA looks like inside the cell when it is resting (in Interphase), but when it is in Prophase it colis up into easy to move packages like the skein of yarn.

      I like to use this yarn because it has several different colors running through it so I point out to my stdents that those colors represent different important parts of the DNA called genes.

Different colored sections in the Yarn (AKA: a gene)
So I will show my students the DNA (yarn) uncoiled (like in Interphase) and the DNA coiled up into a chromosome (like in Prophase)


     One of my students even pointed out that the ziplock bag I store it in represents the nuclear membrane...so now to review all I have to do is hold up a part of the demo and ask them what it represents and why.

Yarn inside a plastic bag (AKA: DNA inside of the nuclear membrane)
You can buy multicolored yarn here:

     What household item do you use to demonstrate a concept to your students?

This post was originally posted on www.ballinwithballing.blogspot.com


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