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May 2004

DNA Interactive
Super site on DNA science.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12, Advanced, Professional


The Dolan DNA Learning Center's DNA Interactive explores the principles of genetic material, "how we bend it to our own service, and what it can tell us about who we are." It includes teacher guides, student activities, video clips, and animations.
This Flash based site is well designed and highly interactive. Visitors can choose viewing options for the videos to suit the speed of their connection. Video transcripts are also included to make the information accessible to everyone.
The top menu bar provides a preview of each section of the site by rolling the mouse over the topics. There is also a left side menu that lists the major sections, a site map, and a tutorial for navigating the site. Each of the sections has a menu bar for choosing the modules. Roll over the topic title at the top of the page and a menu for the other topics is displayed for moving between topics at any time.

This is a comprehensive site on the study of DNA for secondary biology teachers and students. The site is divided into six main sections. The Timeline offers a trip through time to chart the history of the discovery of DNA. Each of the other five topics: Code, Manipulation, Genome, Applications and Chronicle, provides up to four interactive modules. Modules cover such topics as finding the structure of DNA, reading the code, genome mining, human identification, genes, and medicine, and living with eugenics. Each of the modules contain a problem to solve, the players (people who made important discoveries in the field), pieces of the puzzle that include animations and video clips of interviews with the scientists, and putting it all together solves the problem and offers and interactive game. By registering for free at the site, teachers gain access to teacher guides with student activities, the Lesson Builder Tool, and the online teaching community.


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