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Student Activity - Crime scene DNA

Activity idea

In this activity, students learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime. The activity is designed for use on an interactive whiteboard with the whole class, and it can also be used individually or in small groups at a computer or with a data projector and laptop.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • describe where DNA is found in the body and how DNA may be ‘left behind’ at a crime scene
  • describe the basic structure of DNA
  • explain the process of DNA profiling

Download the Word file (see link above) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • teacher notes
  • extension activity.

Download the zip file (see link above) to use the interactive offline. Unzip and then view by selecting/opening the html or swf file. The contents of the zip folder must be saved in the same location to use the interactive.

Note: Click the picture below to open Crime scene DNA in a popup. You will need the Adobe Flash Player to view it.

Useful links

Visit the Biotechnology Learning Hub to learn more about DNA profiling and New Zealand’s DNA databank.
www.biotechlearn.org.nz/focus_stories/forensics external link

ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) is the home of New Zealand forensic science. Visit their website for detailed information on DNA and forensic biology.
www.esr.cri.nz/competencies/forensicscience/.../DNAandForensicBiology.aspx external link

Visit the New Zealand Police website to find out more about their forensic services.
www.police.govt.nz/service/forensics/index.html external link

To find out more about ethical frameworks and using them in the classroom, visit the Biotechnology Learning Hub.
www.biotechlearn.org.nz/.../using_ethical_frameworks_in_the_classroomexternal link

Activity idea

The Ethics thinking tool uses common ethical frameworks to help you explore ethical decision-making and judgements with your students. You may want to use a ‘consequentialism’ or ‘rights and responsibilities’ approach to explore the issue of a national DNA databank. If you register as a teacher, you can customise the tool to suit your ethical question and chosen approaches.
Ethics thinking tool


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