Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
DNA Extraction from fruits
Name of the teacher
Chiara Cheti
Country where it took place
School typology
Vocational School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Teaching in class, Laboratory, Online Learning
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
All students have heard about DNA and know that it is part of the cell. However, things get much more complicated with DNA chemical structure or DNA role in the life of living organisms (encoding the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of living organisms).
Online researches are very useful because they provide the tridimensional image of the DNA double helix structure, of the different nucleotides and their chemical bonds. Moreover, students are able to exactly localize the DNA position in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.
However, even if the use of technology is crucial in order to appeal students, it is equally true that students remain hands-off spectators. On the contrary, experiences made in the laboratory help the students to understand each of the necessary steps to reach the DNA molecule: for example mushing up the flesh of a fruit helps reaching the cell membrane and the nucleus. Furthermore, students understand that, since we are dealing with eukaryotic cells, chromosomal DNA is packaged by proteins: therefore we will have to extract proteins too. The experiment requires pear, banana and olive pulp, Sodium chloride, dishwashing liquid and cold ethanol. Students learn how to break down the cell membrane and how to separate DNA from proteins. A few hours after the experiment, the result is a visible filament that could be analyzed with an optical microscope. When we carried out the experience, the microscope was connected with a computer so that everyone could observe the filament. However, the tridimensional structure and all the single DNA components could not be observed, since this would have required an electronic microscope.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.11.06

Posted by M. Reyes Llácer (Spain)

The proposed practice seems very interesting because shows the real DNA to students.
Along the experience the students apply the steps need to reach the DNA structure and improve the understanding of this structure.
To have the opportunity of viewing the DNA under a microscope improves the knowledge of this molecule.

Date: 2014.10.16

Posted by Darina Tatarlieva (Bulgaria)

For me this is the most interesting product that I would use in my teaching practice. The study of the structure of DNA is one of the biggest challenges for students from 9th grade. Significant share of the study topics are also the topics related to nucleic acids in the biology exam. The use of three-dimensional image of DNA would facilitate substantially the study of its structure and localization in the cell.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.