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Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

Kansas Lesson Plan

Beef DNA Extraction

Lesson Plan
Students will explore the importance of DNA and beef products in their everyday lives by extracting DNA from beef jerky. The DNA extraction will help them visualize the DNA in beef and other products they find in the grocery store. Students will walk away with a better understanding of where DNA can be found, not only in the nucleus and the cell but in all living organisms and their food. Helping students visualize DNA in food allows them to understand the science behind genetic modification and demystify the process behind altering the genes of the plants that grow our food. Students will develop an understanding of DNA, traditional cross-breeding practices, and genetic modification. By using a beef product as the context for the lab, students will explore the impact of beef on the Kansas economy and careers associated with biotechnology.

Suggested Grade Level

9th - 12th


2 sessions of 45-60 minutes


Science, Agriculture, Food Science, Writing


  1. Design and conduct a laboratory investigation to determine if cells in beef jerky have DNA in them. (Pre-lab and Laboratory)
  2. Analyze and interpret data collected during an investigation on DNA extraction from food. (Laboratory activity)
  3. Construct an explanation using evidence collected during an investigation to answer the driving question, am I eating DNA? (Laboratory activity/Post Lab)
  4. Describe genetic modification practices and how they have influenced agriculture.
  5. List careers related to agriculture and biotechnology.
  6. Explain the impact of the Kansas beef industry on the Kansas economy.
Supporting Resources

Coming soon.