This workshop will introduce STEM teachers to a hands-on DNA activity that can be incorporated into their classroom curriculum. The workshop will simulate human forensic testing, and participants will take DNA from a hypothetical crime scene and match it with the DNA of five potential “suspects”. Participants will learn how to use restriction enzymes to cut DNA, and gel electrophoresis to separate the resulting DNA fragments by size, thereby generating a DNA fingerprint.
Prior experience with nucleic acid chemistry or molecular biology techniques is not required, and teachers will be provided with the necessary instructions and handouts to perform this exercise in their classrooms with commercially available kits. All the equipment needed to perform this activity will be available for teachers to “check out” from the MSU St. Andrews facility.
A later DNA workshop will allow participants to explore genetic diversity in plants by comparing the DNA fingerprints of a variety of common herbs and vegetables.
The workshop is recommended for STEM subject teachers who work with students from eighth grade and above. Workshops are free to area teachers and include lunch. Class size is limited to eight.