Grade Levels: 9-12

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic DNA, and supports the standard of understanding the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students:

  • What traits have you seen passed down in families?
  • What do you already know about how living things inherit different traits? What do you hope to learn?


  • Read the description on the DNA topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Did You Know?” or “Discoveries and Inventions” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign DNA Challenge and Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about DNA while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs and/or interests.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a tutorial explaining the role of DNA in the inheritance of traits.
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map that describes the relationship between base pairs, DNA, genes, and the human genome.
  • Creative Coding: Code digital museum exhibit featuring artifacts and figures to represent advances and discoveries in the study of DNA. 

More to Explore 

Related BrainPOP Topics: Deepen understanding of DNA with these topics: Genetics, Genetic Mutations, and Heredity.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments