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Cell Lab


Looking for great activities to engage young scientists at home or in the classroom? We've got detailed directions for a number of fun and educational activities that explore the science of cells and DNA using basic materials. We've also included the protocols for a number of experiments similar to those performed in the Cell Lab. These experiments may require materials such as chemicals and live bacteria. We strongly recommend that you be familiar with all safety procedures regarding the handling of these materials and that you perform these experiments using the proper protective gear, in a controlled environment, and under the supervision of an adult. The Science Museum of Minnesota claims no responsibility for injury or damages that may result from the misuse or mishandling of materials performed during the execution of these experiments.

DNA Spooling
Isolate DNA from onion cells using a simple extraction procedure.

DNA Extraction from Wheat Germ
Extract long strands of DNA from wheat germ.

DNA Extraction from Cheek Cells
See what you're made of, literally, by extracting DNA from your own cheek cells. DNA samples can be collected and stored.

Testing Antimicrobials
Learn about different kinds of bacteria while testing the effectiveness of various antibacterial products. This experiment covers important concepts related to bacteria, including the helpful roles bacteria play in our ecosystem.

Giant Chromosomes
Stain and examine the DNA of fruit fly salivary glands packed into chromosomes in this experiment. Learn about genetics and how scientists analyze DNA to determine changes in genetic traits.

DNA Modeling Activity
Create a model of DNA out of pipe cleaners, straws, and beads. This activity provides a great introduction to learning about the structure of DNA and the relationships between the four chemical bases—adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine.