Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kitchen Science: Extract Kiwi DNA

For e-mail recipients, please note a slide show is available on the blog.

Thanks to my life-long friend, now a chemistry professor, the girls and I have an inexhaustible source of science answers, projects and ideas. Want to know what pure carbon looks like? Call her. Want to know why something works the way it does? Call her.

(Oh, sure, we could look it up online or in a book. But any excuse to call a friend is a good excuse, right?)

Toward the end of last year, she handed over a couple of fun experiments for us to try. (She was also the source for last week's Milk Plastic Experiment.) Today, we went with extracting DNA from a kiwi.

We began our science study with a review of atoms and molecules, then talked about genetics which led to the ultra-fun topic of inherited characteristics. (I always loved to see the variations in potential combinations.) We used the Internet to view some fantastic lessons from my alma mater, then wrapped up our lesson with the extraction project.

Unfortunately, our instructions lacked some details. (They were probably on the teachers' guide, but not on the student worksheets we had.) So we had to make a few guesses. I later found better instructions for the project. For a visual on the project (complete with explanations), check out this video. The site also includes written directions and the "recipe." She uses Strawberries, but the same proportions may also work for the kiwi.

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