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Bee a DNA detective

Suitable age range: 7 - 14yrs

Curriculum topics: Plants, living things and their habitats, seasonal changes; evolution and inheritance; structure and function of living organisms, interactions and interdependencies, relationships in an ecosystem, genetics and evolution.

Specific workshop information

Planning and preparation

This workshop requires two worksheets: Bee trail DNA Activity sheet (PDF) and Bee trail DNA pieces (PDF)
This will need to be printed, the activity pieces cut up and placed in envelopes - one per student.

Session details

  • Video introducing bee & pollination biology (10 minutes) - covering what an insect is, why bees and plants are so closely linked, basics of pollination.
  • Guided discussion (5 minutes) - three questions will be posed at the end of the introductory video. Teacher will guide the class to answer these questions.
  • Video about how we use DNA to find out what a bees’ favourite flower is (10 minutes) - starting with questions and answers, then introduce basics of DNA and the science and scientists of Earlham Institute.
  • DNA alignment activity - instructional video provided (15 minutes) - this will allow students to emulate some of the work described in the previous video:
    - ‘Pollen’ envelopes will be opened by each student.
    - Inside will be fragmented paper ‘DNA’.
    - This will be matched to one of three plant DNA sequences on the printed worksheet provided.
    - The ‘pollen DNA’ will only match one plant and allow each student to find what flower their bee had visited.
    - Activity sheet will have space for a drawing activity - each student can draw their bee visiting the plant.
  • Summary video (5 minutes) - Earlham Institute researcher will reinforce take home points with focus on biology as well as inclusivity in science.
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