Scientists isolate DNA for genetic testing, body identification and analysis of forensic evidence. This virtual lab from Genetics Science Learning Center features a tutorial and an interactive simulation that teaches students how to extract DNA from a human cheek cell. The simulation takes students step by step through the process of extraction and isolation using a variety of equipment in a virtual lab. The interactive features of the simulation make this a great alternative to a traditional DNA extraction lab or it can be used as a review or introduction to a live lab. It is most appropriate for high school biology or introductory college biology.
Type of Material:
This material is presented as a simulation/tutorial to teach users about DNA extraction and analysis.
This site can be used for homework, preparation for lab exercise, or as part of an online course. The material can be used as an in-class demonstration or even an alternative to a live lab.
Technical requirements include an Internet browser such as Chrome or Firefox and the Flash plugin.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Major learning goals for this site include:
Learning about techniques and equipment used in biology labs
Use of a simple hands-on experience about DNA isolation
Visualize and understand DNA
Understanding the basic principles of DNA extraction
Target Student Population:
The target student population includes Middle and High School, General Biology Courses, and even lower division Biology Majors Courses.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
While the procedures are self explanatory, the students would benefit from some background knowledge about DNA. Knowledge of some lab equipment will be useful, but not absolutely necessary.
Information is accurate and clearly presented
Animations are visually appealing
Interactive and enganing
The protocol is clear and follows proven techniques for DNA extraction
Each step is explained and further information is available through links
Suggestions for further exploration are provided
This site is very well done, although, at this time, the animation does not enable users to skip ahead to practice certain techniques or review parts of the material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The exercise provides an effective experience in working with DNA at a very basic level
No specific assessment is provided; however, whether the extraction was successful will be obvious to the students/instructor
Links to additional information are provided in several places
All material and equipment used in the virtual lab are clearly labeled and easy to identify
A thorough explanation is given at each step
Some of the concerns about effectiveness as a teaching tool include the following:
A glossary of terms would be helpful, especially for a novice
More background information would enhance this lesson
No learning objectives are given
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The exercise is clearly written in language understandable at the high school level
Basic laboratory techniques are clearly presented
The lab can be done at home as well as in the classroom
The figures are clear and helpful
Easy to use and navigate
Engaging and interactive
Self-contained with clear instructions
Some of the concerns about ease of use include the following:
Text is a little hard to read - consider switching to a different font
Add audio narration to enhance accessibility
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.