Genetic scissors: a tool for rewriting the code of life
This is a teacher’s guide for a Nobel Prize lesson – a complete lesson on the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which is awarded for the discovery of one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. The lesson is planned to take about 45 minutes.
Teacher’s Guide (PDF 60K)
A Swedish version of the lesson is available at nobelprizemuseum.se
A revolutionary tool for gene technology
The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded for the discovery of the genetic scissors, a tool for rewriting the code of life. Researchers can use these scissors to change the DNA of living organisms, which is a great benefit to basic research about how genes work. The technology can also be used in plant breeding, for example, and can lead to innovative medical treatments.
1. Warm-up (5 min)
Ask your students the following questions.
- What is the Nobel Prize?
- Why is it called the Nobel Prize?
- Are you familiar with any Nobel Laureate?
2. Show the video about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize (5 min)
3. Slideshow (15 min)
Show the slides, using the speaker’s manuscript.
Slideshow (PDF 2 MB)
Speaker’s Manuscript (PDF 300 Kb)
4. Show the interview with an expert in the field (5 min)
5. Student worksheet (10-15 min)
Let your students work individually with the questions and then discuss their answers with a classmate.
Student Worksheet (PDF 50 Kb)
6. Conclusion (5 min)
Summarise what you and the class have understood, and what you have not understood. You can work with the latter on another occasion.
Links for further information
Press release for the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Popular information for the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry