The Modules

MI DNA Day module list:

  • All About DNA
  • Forensics
  • Genomics and Inheritance
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Microbiology and Immunology
  • Evolutionary Biology

ALL ABOUT DNAdoublehelix

Students will review DNA structure and function, with an emphasis on DNA bases, the double helix structure, and the central dogma. Students will isolate DNA from strawberries to learn about molecular biology methods used to study DNA.

All About DNA Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

All About DNA Module Handout (doc, 2022)

All About DNA Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Strawberry Extraction Instructions (pdf, 2022)


Students will learn how forensic scientists analyze DNA in order to link a DNA sample to a particular individual. Students will learn about powerful molecular biology techniques such as PCR, restriction digests, and gel electrophoresis. To learn more about DNA and how it is used by forensic scientists, students will isolate DNA from strawberries! Using their newfound understanding of DNA and forensics techniques, students will help solve an interactive “Whodunit?” case.

Forensics Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

Forensics Module Flowchart (doc, 2022)

Forensics Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Forensics Module Skit (doc, 2022)

Strawberry Extraction Instructions (pdf, 2022)


Students will learn the ins and outs of the human genome – what makes us each unique and how traits are inherited. Hands on activities include DNA isolation from their own saliva and completing a Punnet square to determine inheritance in flowers. For longer or more advanced classes, students will learn how Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) help identify genes responsible for complex human disease.

Genomics Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

Genomics Module Flowchart (doc, 2022)

Genomics Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Genomics Module Handout (doc, 2022)

Strawberry Extraction Instructions (pdf, 2022)


Students will learn about the concept of “personalized” medicine, like how differences in our genes affect whether a drug treatment will be successful or have serious side effects, and how we can use this information to customize treatments for individual patients. Students will participate in a hands-on activity to further demonstrate how subtle differences affect a patient’s response to medication.

Pharmacogenomics Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

Pharmacogenomics Module Flowchart (doc, 2022)

Pharmacogenomics Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Pharmacogenomics Module Handout (doc, 2022)



Students will learn basic concepts in microbiology and immunology, including the difference between bacteria and viruses, and why treatments (such as antibiotics) work on one type of microbes, but not the other. Students will also learn about the immune system and be able to explain how vaccines work. Hands-on activities include an exercise to demonstrate how antibiotic resistance evolves. Extended topics for longer or advanced classes include cancer immunology, neuroinflammation, epidemiology, and microbes in the environment.

Micro/Immuno Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

Micro/Immuno Module Flowchart (doc, 2022)

Micro/Immuno Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Micro/Immuno Module Activity – Herd Immunity “Mafia” Instructions (pdf, 2022)

Micro/Immuno Module Activity – Herd Immunity “Mafia” 75 Deck (pdf, 2022)

Micro/Immuno Module Activity – Herd Immunity “Mafia” 25 Deck (pdf, 2022)

Strawberry Extraction Instructions (pdf, 2022)

Evolutionary Biology

EEB_module_website_iconStudents will learn about the genetic forces behind evolution and how this leads to biodiversity. This module specifically highlights mutations, which accumulate in the DNA and have the potential to create new species after enough changes have occurerd. They will also learn about natural selection and other evolutionary forces at work that explain the diversity of organisms on Earth. Students will learn how to classify organisms based on their appearance and/or DNA sequence to learn about the principles behind the creation and analysis of evolutionary trees.

Evolutionary Biology Module Presentation (ppt, 2022)

Evolutionary Biology Module Flow Chart (doc, 2022)

Evolutionary Biology Module Lesson Plan (doc, 2022)

Evolutionary Biology Module Activity Cards (doc, 2022)


Thanks to the graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who helped design the MI DNA Day modules!

  • Julie Philippe (Curriculum leader)
  • Andrea Pesch (Curriculum leader)
  • Katherine Bonefas (special thanks for contribution to 2 modules)
  • Christa Ventresca
  • Rachel Wadleigh
  • Jacob Berv
  • Catherine Barnier
  • Amanda Moccia
  • Kate Van Pelt
  • Rahasudha Kannan
  • Alexander Monovich
  • Lucas Huffman
  • Haley Brown
  • Samantha Kemp
  • Leigh Baker
  • Sandra Carson
  • Muyu Situ

Interested in designing a new module?

We are very interested in expanding our list of possible modules. If you have an idea, let us know! We can work with you to build an engaging and interactive module for an upcoming DNA Day.

Contact us here or by emailing us at