DICKSON — Deoxyribonucleic acid became a visible, concrete thing for Dickson Middle School sixth-graders when the Noble Academy visited last week.
Noble Academy is an educational program from the Noble Foundation, in which schools are able to have working scientists lead experiments with students. The experiments also include wearing lab coats and learning lab procedures.
"They have resources we don't have and experiences we don't have," said teacher Sherry Cargal. "Kids are also excited to wear the coats."
At Dickson, students extracted DNA from a strawberry. The experiment corresponded with the students beginning a life science chapter in science class.
"Students learn about DNA in school, but never get to see it," said Dr. Frank Hardin, Noble Foundation educational outreach manager. "With this experiment, they are able to see it and take it out of the strawberries."
Students appreciated the opportunity to have a hands-on activity.
"It's cool how it (DNA) sticks together. Science is a lot more fun now," Heaven Douthit said.
The physical aspects of the samples really impacted the students' understanding of DNA.
"It's really cool that you can actually see DNA. It's really slimy though," James Braxton said.
Having the visual of DNA helped drive home the students' textbook lessons.
"I didn't know strawberry had DNA. I just thought it was a strawberry, and DNA was just in the nucleus in the cells of humans," Hunter Palesano said. "Now, I know it's in fruits, vegetables and all that."