Decoding DNA

Course Overview


Become familiar with the structure of DNA and how it codes for proteins.


Before participating in DNA Detective or DNA Barcoding on-site programs at Ecolinc, it would be advantageous if students completed this pre-learning program to ensure their understanding of DNA structure and function. The course involves a detailed look at how nucleotides make up the DNA molecule. It also allows students to ensure they are familiar with the sequence of events during protein synthesis and have an understanding of the terms they will be using during the on-site visit.

Background information

DNA is the molecule of life. This double helix structure contains all the information necessary to build and maintain an organism. However, DNA does more than specify the structure and function of living things — it also serves as the primary unit of heredity in organisms of all types. In other words, whenever organisms reproduce, a portion of their DNA is passed along to their offspring. But what, exactly, is DNA? What smaller elements make up this complex molecule, how are these elements arranged, and how is information extracted from them? This course answers each of these questions.

Prior knowledge

It would be expected that the students would have some prior knowledge of cells and organelles.

Learning intentions

  1. Label a diagram of DNA showing the different parts that make up this molecule as well as showing specific pairing between nitrogen bases
  2. Sequence the events that occur during protein synthesis
  3. Match the glossary words with their meetings

Estimated Duration: 60 minutes

Victorian Curriculum Descriptors

Science Understanding (Year 9 & 10)

The transmission of heritable characteristics from one generation to the next involves DNA and genes(VCSSU119)

Science Understanding (VCE)

On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply an understanding of genetics to describe patterns of inheritance, analyse pedigree charts, predict outcomes of genetic crosses and identify the implications of the uses of genetic screening and decision making related to inheritance.

Course Development Team Leader

Carol-Anne Glynne