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  • In this activity, students work through a series of slides to learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime.

    The activity provides experience with several of the science capabilities:

    • gather and interpret data
    • use evidence
    • critique evidence
    • interpret representations.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • describe where DNA is found in the body and how DNA may be ‘left behind’ at a crime scene
    • describe the basic structure of DNA
    • explain the process of DNA profiling.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what to do
    • teacher notes
    • extension activity.

    Related content

    Read these articles to learn more about DNA profiling and New Zealand’s DNA databank.

    Find out more about teaching ethics.

    Activity ideas

    The Ethics thinking toolkit uses common ethical frameworks to help you explore ethical decision-making and judgements with your students. You may want to use a ‘consequentialism’ or ‘rights and responsibilities’ approach to explore the issue of a national DNA databank. If you register as a teacher, you can customise the tool to suit your ethical question and chosen approaches.

    This activity helps students conceptualise DNA by extracting it from tomatoes.

    Useful links

    ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) is the home of New Zealand forensic science. Visit their website for detailed information on DNA and forensic biology.

    Visit the New Zealand Police website to find out more about their forensic services.

    This RNZ audio looks at the false expectations and impression of forensic science created by TV dramas compared to reality.

    The New Zealand Police Museum has some great forensic-related events. If you are in the Wellington area, check them out.

      Published 28 March 2012, Updated 4 March 2021 Referencing Hub articles
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