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Free Printable: DNA Science Activity & Christmas Ornament Craft

Rachael Yunis|December 15, 2017

Here is a DNA science activity and Christmas ornament craft to enjoy during the Christmas season as your family enjoys some extra time together.  And, you can even turn this into a science lesson if you choose to do so; we’ll show you how.
What you’ll need to gather for this DNA science activity and Christmas ornament craft:img_3318
• 2 chenille sticks of a color of choice (red, green, silver, or gold)
• 2 chenille sticks of a second color of choice
• 20 mini jingle bells. 5 bells, 4 different colors for a total of 20 mini jingle bells
You can download a free printable of this Christmas ornament activity and lesson here.
Directions for this DNA Science Activity and Christmas ornament craft:

  1. Choose 2 chenille sticks to be the backbone of your DNA strand (we chose gold).
  2. Choose 2 chenille sticks to attach your nucleotide bases (we chose silver).
  3. Choose 4 colors of jingle bells (5 of each color) to pair up for your nucleotide bases (we chose red/green & silver/gold).
  4. Thread a pair of bells onto the chenille stick you chose and then start
    Christmas Ornament DNA
    Example 1

    creating a “ladder” by alternating jingle bell pairs and twisting the chenille stick around the outer backbone che-nille sticks. You can put the bells in any order, but you cannot mix the pair colors. In our DNA Christmas ornament, red will always be paired with green and silver will always be paired with gold. See example 1.
  5. When you are done creating your DNA “ladder,” trim off any extra chenille stick.
  6. To create the signature twist of DNA, find a household object to wrap your DNA strand around. See example 2.
  7. Attach a string to hang your ornament. See example 3.


Christmas Ornament
Example 2

Example 3
Example 3

The Science Behind This DNA Science Activity & Christmas Ornament Craft

Deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA, is a molecule which forms the basis of all life. It provides the information necessary to take a bunch of lifeless chemicals and turn them into a living system. DNA represents the most efficient way of storing data in all of creation! And if that isn’t amazing enough, it does all of this by just using a code stored in the sequence of only four bases called adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. That’s what your four dif-ferently colored bells represented. These four bases are the same in all life, such as plants and animals. The sequence set by God determines what makes a bird, a tree, or a human. Human DNA decides if a cell will become a heart cell, a blood cell, a muscle cell, or any of the multiple cell types in the human body! At Apologia, we think DNA is a pretty amazing molecule, and we hope that you will marvel at the beauty of it too this Christmas.
You can download a free printable of this activity and lesson here.
yunis-headshotRachael Yunis is the Director of Apologia Science. She has advanced degrees in molecular genetics/developmental biology and biomedical ethics, over ten years’ experience in molecular genetic research, and publication in multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals. Rachael is co-author of the Apologia textbook, Advanced Biology, 2nd edition: The Human Body and creator of Apologia’s Field Trip Journal. She has worked as an ethicist and science writer for the American Medical Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and other national publications such as Association News. She has been a volunteer member of local hospital ethics committees, is a speaker on science, ethics, and homeschooling topics, is an on-call foster parent to infants waiting to be adopted into their forever families, and works globally to support orphaned children. Together with her husband, Sam, a PhD. in mechanical and aerospace engineering and NASA engineer, they have always homeschooled their children and been active in their Virginia homeschool community. Their oldest two now attend Virginia Tech, pursuing degrees in astrophysics and AI computer science.
DNA Science Activity and Christmas ornament craft the whole family can enjoy as you spend more time together this Christmas season. Gather some simple materials and enjoy time together learning and creating!

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