Jane Lind presents ...
The Secret Code of DNA
Theme: Science / Health, Ages 5 to 8<
The Secret Code of DNA
This book focuses on some of the kinds of questions children often have
about ordinary things. Why don't carrots grow on trees? Why don't dogs
In simple language, the author explains that the secret code of DNA holds
the answers to these questions. She describes briefly how scientists
discovered DNA, and what part it plays in our bodies.
The book also includes a glossary at the end which explains these terms:
cell, DNA, gene, helix.
Jars, one litre size
Small pots with potting soil in them
Avocado pit or sweet potato
1. Write "deoxyribonucleic acid" on the chalk board and make up a chant or
sing-song way of pronouncing it and have the children join in the chant.
Most children enjoy the sound of a long word, and experience a sense of
pride if they can learn how to say it. Though it may seem a mere game to
many adults, this kind of language experience gives children a sense of
pleasure that extends into their other literacy experiences.
2. This book is an excellent resource to use as a stimulation for children's
questions about things that are a mystery to them, and to speculate on "what
if?" and turn it into a game.
Let the children draw "what if?" pictures on large sheets of paper (any
impossible thing such as flowers growing on a clothes line; rocks dangling
from the moon).
3. Let the children make "what if?" animals of plasticene, as a take off
from the page about the elephant growing a trunk. Make a display of the
4. As a science project, bring into the classroom different kinds of seeds
to sprout and plant.
Alfalfa seeds sprout very easily on a moist paper towel inside a lidded jar
at room temperature. The towel must be kept moist, but not so wet that the
seeds rot. Keep the lid somewhat loose to allow a bit of air into the jar.
When the seeds have sprouted, the children can sample the sprouts.
Let the children help plant the beans in soil. They can take responsibility
for keeping the soil moist.
Sweet potatoes can be grown in water--they sprout easily. When both he
beans and sweet potatoes have started growing, have the children compare the
leaves--each grows its own kind of leaves.
As an alternative to sweet potatoes, set an avocado pit half-way into a
glass of water. Insert three tooth picks into the seed to suspend it on the
edge of a glass or jar so that the bottom part is sitting in the water. The
avocado takes longer to sprout than the sweet potato.
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind