Scientist Study: Watson and Crick

DSC_1006crick and watson

Crick and Watson were 20th century scientists accredited (with help from Franklin and Wilkins) for discovering the structure of DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid), one of the most significant discoveries of that century.  The three men were awarded a nobel prize for discovering the ‘secret of life’.  Franklin had died and so missed out, even though it had been her photographic images which had set Crick and Watson on the right path.

We began our study watching a couple of videos.  The first was about the race to find the structure of DNA and the controversy surrounding its discovery.

The second we watched just for fun, which the children LOVED!

We already owned a couple of books which we used to dig a little deeper.  The first, from DK eyewitness contained their customary double spread all about Watson and Crick:


The second book I bought from a charity shop and was pleasantly surprised to find it is a really good, informative read!  I read this book out loud to them during our morning meetings, asking them to narrate as we went along:

DSC_0875dnacrickandwatsonThis book was so much more than just a biography of Watson and Crick.  It began right at the beginning with theories of life back in the Ancient Greek times and follows on with how ideas were developed by well known scientists such as Mendel and Darwin through to the discovery of DNA and finally its structure by Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Franklin.

Building DNA models of a differing complexity 

We own various different science kits, three of which included a model of the double helix DNA.  The children chose one each to build.  They varied in complexity so I asked each child to explain the structure they had built based on what they knew.

The kits
The kits
Just starting
Just starting and figuring it all out
Almost finished
Slowly getting there….
The three different DNA models together
The three different DNA models together

This was just a brief foray into the minds and hearts of two well known scientists.  We are currently beginning our studies into genetics and this was a very interesting start.


  1. Rosalind Franklin went to my college! Or more accurately, I went to her college. Her story is simultaneously inspirational and tragic – it’s thought that her scientific work probably contributed to her early death. Without her, they’d certainly not have got to the discovery of DNA as soon as they did, if at all. You can’t go to Newnham without absorbing a sense of awe for alumnae like Rosalind!

  2. I just knew I was going to love your science posts this year.
    How interesting to learn about DNA from the people who discovered its structure. It must make it much more interesting.

  3. Faith read your post today and said she was definitely going to watch the videos. They studied this in their Apologia biology last year, so it will be a good review.
    Hope you are all well. We are just thawing from being iced in for the second day in a row. Snow may be coming tomorrow. After two gorgeous weeks, winter has returned. I am working hard to save my irises that are set to bloom.
    -Trying to stay warm in Texas.:))

    1. Booooo to snow, I do hope it doesn’t kill your beautiful flowers. The weather just doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself at the moment!

  4. Oh my, so much to learn, so little time – your posts often send me in a spiral of information checking (that I don’t have the time for!) but you just make it so interesting to me. From this post alone, I’ve dug around about Rosalind Franklin (who would be a great subject for Women’s history month…), the rap video creators (from which I was then distracted by an evolution game)… I had to stop myself from looking up diy helix models, because I have to face that I am not a homeschooler and if I approach the girls with this they just may lock me up in a closet. All this to say, you inspire a person to want to learn (and teach) more! Now back to finishing up West Africa!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.