DNA Detectives! School Enrichment

*NEW* York County Enrichment 2022

Exploring DNA by Building, Eating, and Seeing!

This is a *NEW* program offering this year with the focus being on DNA and the individuality of everyone's genes! This new enrichment is geared towards 5th through 7th graders and is divided up into four-lesson visits. Each visit covers the basics of DNA, including the structure and makeup, then builds upon how everyone's DNA is different. See the layout of the lessons below.


The four-visit lessons can be run concurrently or spaced out however classrooms see fit. As always, thanks to a Corteva Agriscience grant, all school enrichment programs are free to classrooms. Please contact your local Extension Office to ask more about the program or to set up dates for classroom visits.

What does each visit entail?

Visit 1 -

During this classroom visit, we will begin by discussing, "What is DNA?" Youth will be able to explain what DNA is and where it is found, identify the function of DNA, and begin to assemble (edible) practice DNA strands. We will also learn about DNA sequencing and begin building up for the activity for visit 2.


Visit 2 -

Building upon knowledge from our first visit, youth will understand how their own personal traits are translated into DNA sequences. Youth will build another DNA strand based on their own genetic makeup. Using common traits (hair color, eye color, hand dominance, etc.), we will build and code our own genetic DNA strand. After all of the strands are created, we will compare the strands to visualize how, just like our phenotypes (outward appearances), our genes are just as unique as we are.


Visit 3 -

Over the last two visits, we have discussed and built our own DNA models. During the third visit, youth will partake in their own science experiment to extract DNA from Strawberries. Becoming our own Detectives, youth will walk through the process - and materials - used to see an actual DNA strand.


Visit 4 -

In our last visit, we will put our detective skills to the test. Just like our DNA, fingerprints are just as unique. Each fingerprint has specific patterns and specifications that can trace back to a specific individual. Youth will be able to learn about the specifics of fingerprints, examine their own fingerprints for any specific patterns, and become detectives by dusting and collecting their own fingerprint.

Please feel free to contact us!

Tanya Crawford - Extension Educator: tanya.crawford@unl.edu

Amanda Hackenkamp - Extension Assistant: amanda.hackenkamp@unl.edu