Genomics Field Trips Aimed at Grade 9 Students

Summary of Activities

Two hosts will meet you & your class in the main floor lobby of the Michael Smith Laboratories at your pre-arranged start time. Your class will be guided through a hands-on exploration of the basic physical and chemical properties of DNA, the type of information that is carried by DNA, and the controversies surrounding the Human Genome Project. Students will carry out an experiment by isolating their own DNA. Students will have a chance to “be a cell” and transcribe and translate a genetic sequence. We will explore the type of information that can be gained by studying the human genome and the controversies that ensue. Students will be provided with all background information necessary to explore these topics. Your graduate student hosts will talk about what it’s like to be a university student and a scientist. Games, activities, and discussion will challenge and engage your students. All of this will be followed up with a wrap-up Jeopardy game at the end of the day – it’s a student favorite!

Teacher Resources

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1.1 – Properties of DNA and DNA Isolation
Lesson Plan 1.2 – Information in DNA and Genomes
Lesson Plan 1.3 – Human Genomic Controversies

Answer Key 1.2 – Sequence Alignment, Transcription/Translation

Share Your Feedback – Download Teacher Survey
Share Your Feedback – Your students will be provided a link to this survey

Key Concepts Covered

Key Concepts mapped to Activities, MSL Genomics Field Trip

List of Websites Explored

Michael Smith Laboratories Science Outreach Programs,

Genome Sequencing, National Human Genome Research Institute,

PBS- DNA: Secret of Life, Windfall Films Production for Thirteen/ WNET New York in association with Channel Four,

Human Genome Project- Ethical, Legal, & Social Implications, Produced by the National Institute of Health,

A natural selection. Produced for Gene Screen BC 2011,

Vocabulary Covered

DNA, Genome, Protein, Chromosome, Base Pair, Phenotype, Allele, Gene,
Deletion, Insertion, Mutation, Polypeptide, Amino Acid, Genomics
Additional Vocabulary Resources

Ideas for Post-Trip Activities (Suggestions from Teachers)

  1. Students list of all the things they learned, discuss with parents for 15 min, parent signature
  2. Discuss ethics in Science/DNA
  3. Follow up on status of the Human Genome Project


2185 EAST MALL, Vancouver, BC
Michael Smith Laboratories, AMBL Teaching Lab, Rm 105
Running late? Please call the AMBL lab at

This MSL outreach program is funded, in part, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.