A GIF animation image shows a small house turtle mouth-chomping on the tip of a red strawberry held by a human hand.

Did you know that you can extract the DNA from strawberries with basic household items, like dish soap?

A GIF animation image of an otter swimming in a lake with trees in the background. The otter has two hands up facing camera.

Or that otter poop has DNA that can be used to understand their populations?

The DNA world is exciting and all around us. In 4 steps, you'll learn how to help high school students learn about DNA structure!

Step 1. Become the DNA expert

3-dimensional DNA fragment model spinning continuously in a 360-degree loop.

Don't forget to review all the base-ics of DNA, such as:

  • DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid

  • It is made-up of bases, such as Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine,and Guanine

  • It gives instructions on how all living beings are built

A woman-presenting woman with glasses, lab coat, and black long hair is holding a tablet while scrolling holographic tabs. Image by storyset on Freekpik

Like DNA's sugar-phosphate backbone, make sure to build your own foundation by:

Step 2. Try pairing a new activity with your lesson

A woman-presenting BIPOC teenager and a man-presenting BIPOC teenager are jumping with joy in the air at a park.

Image by storyset on Freekpik

Complement your great lesson with one of the following:

A man-presenting person with business casual clothes is floating in the air while selecting an app on big phone screen. Image by storyset on Freekpik

Replicate real-life experiences by letting your class:


Ahmad (he/him) needs to teach about DNA high school freshman students. He doesn't have funds to buy class materials, but his classroom has laptops available and high-speed internet. What are some activities that he can use? Select all that apply.

Step 3. Encourage study tips that takes off pressure

A study group of college students are at a table reading papers and one person has a laptop open.

Image by storyset on Freekpik

Be like a topoisomeraseenzyme and help relax supercoiled anxiety by:

  • Using mnemonicdevices, such as "Cars in the Garage" to show the base-pairing of Cytosine and Guanine and "Apples in the Trees" for Adenine and Thymine

  • Creating flashcards related to DNA

  • Sharing ways tostay focusedduring your info-packed lectures

  • Talking about how to manage anxietyduring exams

  • Making appropriate biology jokes that are memorable

Step 4. Show DNA examples

Two otters are swimming underwater. Both otters seem relaxed and happy with bubbles around them. Image by storyset on Freekpik

DNA from otter poop can be used to map the population size and diversity of threatened species, such as the European Lutra lutra otter. 💩

A woman-person with bangs haircut and dress is taking a picture of a plant under two light lamps in a greenhouse.

Image by storyset on Freekpik

Intense ultra violet (UV) radiation from light is known to stress plants out and damage their DNA, causing parts of the plants to grow out-of-the-norm. 🌱

A person with full-body PPE and mask is taking the forehead temperature of male-presenting person luggage at an airport. Image by storyset on Freekpik

The first DNA vaccine was approved in India in August 2020, a few months after the first mRNA vaccine; both act as protection against COVID-19. 💉

Take Action

A GIF animation image of a blueprint book opening, showing DNA letters A, C, T, G while those letters dance above it.

Help high school students learn about DNA structure by:


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