Apply skills of dimensional analysis and exponential notation.
Discover startling conclusions about the linear quantity of DNA contained within a single cell and within the entire human body. In this engaging activity, students use algebra to calculate the length of DNA, as well as to determine a compaction ratio. They then pack thread into capsules to simulate chromatin packing in a nucleus. These determinations illustrate the effect and importance of molecular packing or supercoiling in living cells. A final challenge applies the skills of dimensional analysis and exponential notation to a compare the length of DNA in the human body to the distances from Earth to other celestial bodies. Developed by Mark Krotec, the kit includes instructions and materials for 30 setups.