Cell Unit Study - Week 6 - DNA

Week 6: We made DNA.

Our DNA contains all the instructions for creating us. Just like a cookbook contains directions for many different dishes, our DNA contains directions for all of our parts. It contains instructions for creating skin, hair, heart, kidney and other kinds of cells. From hair color, to ear shape, to whether or not we will have pointy toes; the directions are included in our DNA.

DNA is made up of building blocks called genes. Each gene contains a sugar and a phosphate as well as one of four types of base molecules; adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine.

We are continuing to follow chapter 1 in The Way We Work by David Macaulay to learn about cells.

First the kids selected a large bead color to represent their sugar molecules, and a smaller bead color to represent their phosphate molecules.

  Their sugar and phosphate molecules were strung onto a pipe cleaner to create the DNA backbone.

Next they selected four different color beads to represent the adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, and sewed the beads onto their backbones. A base molecule was sewed onto each sugar molecule for the first pipe cleaner. At this point, the base color didn't matter. In other words, they could sew any of the four colors onto each sugar molecule.

The base color for the second pipe cleaner was determined by the bases which were attached to the first backbone. Adenine must pair up with thymine and guanine must pair up with cytosine.

They laid out the required beads and sewed them on to the second pipe cleaner. Then they sewed them together to complete their short DNA strands.

  To see our other science activities please visit our science page.

Tuesday Tots One Artsy Mama Science Sunday The Chicken Chick


  1. Oh I love the pipe cleaner DNA strands, what a clever way to do it!

  2. I LOVE this idea. Easy, accessible, inexpensive and creative - it's perfect! Well done, you!

  3. We made these, too. I have found that they work even better if you have really long pipe cleaners. I have never heard of sewing them together before.

  4. These are very attractive DNA strands. Your children are beautiful. Thank you for sharing, God Bless!

  5. cute! I found you on the Clever Chicks Hop and I would love to have you join the fun on my Creative HomeAcre Hop!

    Hope to see you there!


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