Everything you always wanted to know about DNA

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PLEASE NOTE: This guide was originally written in French. If you are using the English version of our site, you will see an automatic translation. You can change the language from the menu in the site header or see our English language guides here.

Did you know that April 25 is DNA Day? This day was created to celebrate the discovery, in April 1953, of the double helix structure of DNA. At that time, it was not yet known that exploring the information contained in DNA would radically transform our understanding of the living universe.

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Did you know that April 25 is DNA day? This day was created to celebrate the discovery, in April 1953, of the double helix structure of DNA. At that time, it was not yet known that exploring the information contained in DNA would radically transform our understanding of the living universe.

DNA is a molecule present in all living beings and which carries the genetic information necessary for the development and functioning of the organism. By exploring the genome, or all of the genetic information contained in our DNA, researchers in genetics and genomics are now able to propose solutions to various public health or environmental issues.


Are your students interested in this topic? Let them discover the game Colony B which contributes to the research on the human microbiome! In Colony B, they are in charge of growing a colony of bacteria. The bacteria accumulate to survive. Their goal is to identify these clusters of bacteria.

It can be downloaded here for mobile devices on iOS (iPad or iPhone) or by clicking here for a Chromebook or an Android device.


General presentation

Disciplines and levels targeted
Science and Technology (Secondary 1 to 4) : The Living Universe

Ethics and Religious Culture: Reflecting on Ethical Issues
Usable themes: the future of humanity, the ambivalence of the human being

Targeted dimensions of digital competence

  • Producing content with digital
  • Developing and mobilizing information literacy
  • Harnessing the potential of digital technology for learning
  • Communicate with digital
  • Collaborate with digital

Suggested digital tools

  • Edpuzzle
  • Mentimeter
  • Padlet or Middlespot

Educational intention of the guide

The following activities will allow your students to learn more about DNA, genetics and the applications of scientific discoveries in our society.

Objectives of the activities

  • Know the different constituents of a cell.
  • Understand the concept of genetic code.
  • Better understand the work of researchers in genetics and genomics.
  • Think about the repercussions of scientific advances.

ACTIVITY 1: Let's talk about genetics

First, ask the students if they know what DNA and genetics are.

Then watch as a whole class the 3D animation " From cell to DNA ".

Secondly, the students will have to comment on this same video:

  • Option 1: Using the Vocaroo. Very simply, it allows you to record voice notes and share them easily with the teacher. However, you will not see the video playing at the same time.
  • Option 2: Use a screen recording tool such as ScreencastifyLoom or VideoAnt (tutorial here).

Students will be asked to add audio information by recording their voice. They will be able to explain in more detail some of the concepts that are raised in the video. For example, they can define chromatin, nucleosomes or genes with short sentences. The option of narrating the entire video is also possible, describing in more general terms what is being presented.

ACTIVITY 2: The work of the genomics researcher

DNA consists of four different nitrogenous bases: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). The human genome consists of 3 billion base pairs (AT- GC). It is the succession of these nitrogenous bases (ACCATTCGCT...) that determines the information contained in the DNA, according to a code called the genetic code.

The job of genomics researchers is to understand the "text" of the genetic code. In a large group, watch this presentation which makes the parallel between the comprehension of a text and that of the genetic code. See the narration notes for each slide.

Then, with the help of the Mentimeter and the word cloud function, the teacher will ask students to summarize the genomics researcher's analysis in no more than three words. Learners will then go to LiedThe students will write the code provided by the teacher and will be able to write the words that best describe the work of the genomics researcher. By choosing the option to create a word cloud, the more often a word is used, the larger it will appear. This is a great way to summarize learning.

ACTIVITY 3: The genome, the body's recipe book

By exploring the genome, the “recipe book” of our body, researchers are able to better understand diseases and thus offer concrete solutions to improve diagnosis, better target treatments and prescribe the right medicine, to the right person, at the right time. good time.

Invite your students to read the article " Quickly detect germs using genomics ". Then ask the students to identify the advantages of the genomic technology developed by the team of Dr. Michel G. Bergeron from the Infectious Disease Research Center of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval. To do this, you can use a collaborative virtual wall such as Padlet or Middlespot and allow students to help each other find the answers.

ACTIVITY 4: True or False?

Several prejudices and false perceptions circulate about genetics and the work of genetic researchers. As a whole class, watch the video " The powers of genetics #Vraioufaux "by Dr. Nozman, a popular French science youtuber. Get the kids to react to the different topics presented in the video by asking them what surprised them the most. What did they learn that was new? Were there any facts they already knew? Do they have any questions they would like to ask Dr. Nozman? You can emphasize the importance of being well-informed by relying on credible sources and always reading beyond the title before forming an opinion on any topic.

For further


Do you know your genomics
La Presse +, May 1, 2018

The ego-portrait of your cells
La Presse +, February 21, 2016

SCOOP! this is...

Designed to fill short periods or inspire larger projects, the activities offered in the SCOOP! allow the teacher to approach the subject matter in the program in addition to developing the information literacy and digital skills of the students.

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