Make Your Own DNA

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
Learners match puzzle pieces to outlines of a DNA strand. The puzzle pieces represent the four chemicals making up DNA base pairs: adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. Learners can place the pieces sequentially in any order, but the only pieces that fit with the original DNA strand as pairs are guanine with cytosine, and adenine with thymine. From this, learners discover the basic structure of a DNA strand.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sheets of ¼-in. plastic in four different colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) — OR — ¼-in. wood and four colors of paint— OR — craft foam or felt in four different colors
  • Three pieces of 8½-in. x 11-in. white paper
  • Laminating material
  • One black permanent marker


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation