Middle School Program

Our program of genetics laboratory experiences includes a variety of hands-on experiments to introduce elementary and middle school students to molecular biology. Instructors encourage an interactive approach linking the process of discovery to learning and offer cutting-edge experiences inspired by techniques and tools used by research scientists.

Suggested for Grades 5-8:

Our Human Inheritance, featuring Ötzi the Iceman

Explore our newly remodeled exhibit, which now includes an exact replica of a 5,300 year-old man found frozen in the Ötztal Alps in 1991–Ötzi the Iceman.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5 and above
  • Offered only at CSH DNALC location

DNA Extraction from Wheat Germ

Learn how to extract DNA from wheat germ, one of the first crops humans domesticated.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5, 6, 7, & 8

Pollen Tells a Story

Investigate the mystery surrounding the last few days of Ötzi's life through the microscopic analysis of pollen.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5, 6, 7, & 8

The Mystery of Anastasia (computer lab)

Students solve a forensic mystery by collecting and analyzing various types of physical and DNA evidence. Conducting DNA sequence comparisons, participants ultimately decide the validity of the claim of Anna Anderson, who presented herself to the world in 1922 as Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the last Russian Tsar.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5, 6, 7, & 8

Human Family Tree

Tour the Our Human Inheritance exhibit, then go to the lab to further explore the fossil record. Using skull casts, students examine a series of traits to investigate evolutionary relationships among early humans and construct phylogenetic trees that reflect their findings.

  • Lab time: 2 hours
  • Grades 6–8
  • Offered only at CSH DNALC location

Suggested for Grades 5 & 6:

Baggie Cell Model

Learn about the structure and function of the cell and make a cell model.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5 & 6

Mutant Organisms

Observe mutations in fruit flies and/or nematodes using stereo-microscopes.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5 & 6
  • Not currently available at DNALC NYC in Brooklyn

Diversity of Life

Investigate taxonomy using compound microscopes.

  • Lab time: 1 or 2 hours
  • Grades 5 & 6
  • Not currently available at DNALC NYC in Brooklyn

Mendelian Inheritance

Use corn as a model to investigate the laws of inheritance.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5 & 6

DNA Models

Learn about the genetic code and build a 3-D model of the double helix.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 5 & 6

Suggested for Grades 6 & 7:

Molecular Models and Bubbling Liver

Observe the metabolic enzyme catalase as it reacts with hydrogen peroxide and learn about the factors that affect enzyme activity.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Genetically engineer bacteria to become antibiotic resistant.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Enzymatic Food Production

Use enzymes to make cheese and apple juice.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Viral Infection

Infect bacteria with a virus and observe the result.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Better Milk for Cats

Build a bioreactor to convert regular milk into lactose-free milk.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Bacteria and Antibiotics

Observe the effect of antibiotics on bacteria.

  • Lab time: 1 hour
  • Grades 6 & 7

Glowing Genes

Genetically engineer bacteria with the GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) gene for bioluminescence.

  • Lab time: 1 or 2 hours
  • Grades 6, 7, & 8

Suggested for Grade 8:

Protein Purification

Collect and purify green fluorescent protein from glowing bacteria.

  • Lab time: 1 or 2 hours
  • Grades 8

Gene Therapy

Genetically engineer "lactose intolerant" bacteria to become "lactose tolerant."

  • Lab time: 1 or 2 hours
  • Grades 8

DNA Fingerprint

Use gel electrophoresis to analyze and compare amplified human DNA samples.

  • Lab time: 1 or 2 hours
  • Grades 8 & 9

Reservation Details

In-school Programs

Teachers can select one, or a sequence of several of the above labs.

  • In-school instruction is $1,375/day (for up to 5 classes)
  • To make a reservation please find contact information on the Field Trip Reservation page.

DNA Learning Center Location Field Trips

Teachers can select one, or a sequence of several of the above labs.

  • DNALC classrooms are limited to 24 or 32 students, and are reserved on a first come, first served basis.
  • For most field trips, we can accomodate two classes (64 total students) at the same time (9:30-11:30 am or 12:00-2:00 pm).
  • Two-hour wet lab/museum tour field trips are $350 per class.
  • Two-hour wet lab/computer lab and two-hour lab trips are $400 per class.

Two-hour field trip options include:

  • 1 hour hands-on laboratory and 1 hour tour of the Our Human Inheritance museum exhibition.
  • 1 hour hands-on laboratory and 1 hour computer lab, The Mystery of Anastasia.
  • One two-hour hands-on laboratory, such as Glowing Genes or DNA Fingerprint.
  • Two one-hour hands-on laboratories such as DNA Models and DNA Extraction.

Extended day field trips

CSI: Learning Center Grades 6–8 $750/class
  • 9:30–11:30 DNA Extraction & Mystery of Anastasia
  • 11:30–12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00–2:00 DNA Fingerprint (recommended for 8th Grade)
    OR
  • 12:00–2:00 Fingerprint Analysis: Dusting for Prints (learn how to collect and analyze human fingerprints, recommended for 6th/7th Grades)
Survival of the Fittest Grades 5–8 $750/class
  • 9:30–11:30 Exhibit Tour & Mutant Organisms
  • 11:30–12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00-2:00 DNA Extraction & Better Milk for Cats
DNA Basics Grades 5–8 $750/class
  • 9:30–11:30 Exhibit Tour & DNA Extraction
  • 11:30–12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00–2:00 Chromosome Splats (prepare and view human chromosomes with microscopes) & DNA Models (hands-on)
Ötzi the Iceman
(CSH location only)
Grades 5–8 $750/class
  • 9:30–11:30 Exhibit Tour & Pollen Tells a Story
  • 11:30–12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00–2:00 DNA Extraction from Wheat Germ & Better Milk for Cats
Human Evolution
(CSH location only)
Grades 6–8 $750/class
  • 9:30–11:30 Human Family Tree
  • 11:30–12:00 Lunch
  • 12:00–2:00 Mutant Organisms & DNA Extraction