String Genome

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this biology activity (page 5 of the PDF), learners use yarn and sticky labels to build a model of a DNA strand. They discover that DNA is very long, very skinny, and packs well into cells. They learn that only a small fraction of the DNA in our cells encodes the approximately 23,000 genes in our genome. Although this was developed as a pre-visit activity for a workshop about genetics, it also makes an excellent stand-alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 meters of black yarn
  • 10 cm length of sticky-backed labels
  • 10 cm red sticky-backed labels (Optional)
  • scissors


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Student Workshops


  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009