Grade Range
9th-12th
Group Size
2
Total Time
45 minutes
Area of Science
Genetic Engineering
Biotechnology
Key Concepts
genes, bacterial transformation, modified organisms, DNA, plasmid
Credits
TeachEngineering logo

Overview

Students construct paper recombinant plasmids to simulate the methods genetic engineers use to create modified bacteria. They learn what role enzymes, DNA and genes play in the modification of organisms. For the particular model they work on, they isolate a mammal insulin gene and combine it with a bacteria's gene sequence (plasmid DNA) for production of the protein insulin.

Engineering Connection

Bacteria are the most common organisms modified by genetic engineers due to the simple structures of bacteria cells compared to those of eukaryotic cells. Engineers are able to add genes to bacteria using recombinant plasmids, which enable the bacteria to produce the desired beneficial proteins. Students use a paper model to simulate this real-life process used by bio-technicians.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • HS-LS1-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students' own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
LS1.A: Structure and Function. Systems of specialized cells within organisms help them perform the essential functions of life.

All cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA molecules. Genes are regions in the DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins, which carry out most of the work of cells.
Structure and Function. Investigating or designing new systems or structures requires a detailed examination of the properties of different materials, the structures of different components, and connections of components to reveal its function and/or solve a problem.

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Grade Range
9th-12th
Group Size
2
Total Time
45 minutes
Area of Science
Genetic Engineering
Biotechnology
Key Concepts
genes, bacterial transformation, modified organisms, DNA, plasmid
Credits
TeachEngineering logo
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