Students grabbed wire and filled clear-plastic Petri dishes with tiny blue, white, red, yellow, green and pink beads.
Settling in at one of six brown lunch tables, science teacher Gloria Treece began explaining to the almost entirely female audience how to string, twist and assemble the materials into DNA earrings or a keychain.
The after-school, extra-credit activity was a jump start to the Spring View Middle School seventh-graders' next three chapters on DNA where they will learn about genetic traits, family inheritance and genetically changed plants and read about current events like the genetic engineering of plants.
"This is just a good intro so they'll know what I'm talking about," she said. "I'm front-loading them the structure of DNA."
The art project had the middle-schoolers recreating the structure of DNA with beads that represent the different components— ribose, phosphates, thymine, adenine, cytosine and guanine— stringing them along the wire and twisting it all into the right form.