Fruity-Glows: Pictures of Health on a Microarray Canvas

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In this activity (page 12), learners apply the concepts of pixilation and pointillism to the world of biomedical science. They learn how DNA microarrays and supercomputers help in disease detection by organizing large amounts of data points from our human genome. Learners discover that categories of disease can be sorted based on color-coded expression level patterns on microarrays. In particular, learners evaluate what genes are turned on and off in a patient suffering from a particular disease. Learners use Cheerios stacks to create microarrays and simulate the gene matching (hybridization) process that happens in cells. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Computer Science
      • Information Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
    • Technology
      • Medical Technology
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Human Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
    • Human Body
      • Medicine
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemistry of Life
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Computers
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Arizona Science Center, 2012

Funding Source:

  • Science Education Partnership Award, National Institutes of Health