Does the kit provide for discovery opportunities for students of different ages?
The beauty of LEGO DNA models is that they have universal appeal, regardless of age. In fact, our LEGO DNA kits are a smash hit with elementary school children as well as middle and secondary school students. For example, third graders can learn about the basic ladder shape of DNA and they enjoy building it themselves from the smaller LEGO DNA subunits.
Discovery is used frequently as the teaching method in the lessons. For example. in the first lesson the correct DNA base pairs are not shown to the students, they must be discovered and the LEGO models themselves provide the clues. The hydrogen bond representations are helpful and so are the purine and pyrimidine size differences. The learner can puzzle out the right combination of AT and CG for his or herself! Moreover, we have found that these and other kinesthetic experiences can produce an engagement level which helps to foster a curiosity about how different molecules work.
The LEGO models and the lesson materials were designed with many ages in mind. Appropriate teacher instructions are currently provided at three levels: middle school science, high school biology and AP biology. Of the two student instructional booklets, basic and advanced, the advanced was created for the AP biology or college student. Note that DNA and Protein Sets are currently in use at the following universities: UMASS Boston, Bridgewater State University (MA), Husson University School of Pharmacy (ME) and Suffolk University (MA).