This lesson plan was created based on a template developed for the Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment initiative sponsored by the Alliance for Catholic Education.


Number of Days:

3 days


Prior Knowledge:

SWBAT describe the basic structure of DNA and the process of DNA replication


Lesson Objective:

SWBAT explain the process of transcription and translation of a gene to create an amino acid chain


Lesson Assessment:



Benchmark or Standards:

B.1.21 Understand and explain that the information passed from parents to offspring is transmitted by means of genes which are coded in DNA molecules. B.1.26 Demonstrate how the genetic information in DNA molecules provides instructions for assembling protein molecules and that this is virtually the same mechanism for all life forms.


Materials Needed:

Projector, Laptop, internet access



Using three mediums (visual, literary, and lecture) to analyze the same topic



Role-play scenarios in which the process of transcription is acted out, manipulating models



TimeLearning TaskMethod or Procedure
5Write, in paragraph form, when and how DNA replicatesBellwork
10Define key terms: RNA, uracil, transcription, translation, geneRead 2 paragraphs on transcription/ translation, and define terms on the board
8Explain the differences between RNA and DNAlecture and questioning
10Describe the process of transcription, and relate to RNAlecture and guided reading
10Practice transcription: Write DNA sequence on the board, students come up and write the complementary RNA sequence. Teacher must be constantly asking about what molecules are performing what functions, where this is happening, etc.Board work
5What are similarities and differences between transcription and replication?Brainstorm
10Watch video on DNAi website showing the process of transcription. Teacher is continually probing students with questions about the molecules involved, etc.Video
Day 2  
3Review notes for the quizBellwork
20Quiz on DNA structure and replicationIndependent & individual
2Why is DNA called "the genetic code?"Brainstorm
10Watch video from DNAi website about "the problem" and "the players" in describing the genetic code.Video
2Define translationnotes
15Watch video of translation, making notes of the key steps in the processVideo and notes
2Closure: How is translation similar to transcription?Exit card
Day 3  
3Explain the relationship between amino acids and genesBellwork
15Act out the process of translation. Each student is an amino acid (some students may represent two amino acids). A genetic sequence is placed on the board. Mr. Hollowell acts as the ribosome, and the appropriate students must contribute their amino acid to a growing amino acid strand. Students critique the process, and teacher is constantly asking questions about when to move, what molecules are involved, etc.Class role-play
35Students are given 3 DNA strands. They must transcribe and then translate the sequence to get the amino acid strand. Finally, we reverse the process, where students are given an amino acid strand and must "decode" it to get the DNA strand from which it originated.Example problems
2Why is DNA called "the genetic code?"Closure


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