Introducing the DNA Datasets

Part of the Ecology Disrupted Curriculum Collection.

Introducing the DNA Datasets main image


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Introducing the DNA Datasets teacher's guide


DNA Datasets



Use the DNA datasets to discuss the necessity of data manipulation and visualization. 

  1. The students will now analyze the data that Dr. Epps collected from the animal droppings.
  2. Distribute the datasets to students that are in groups of three or six and use the datasets to begin the discussion on the representation of DNA data.
  3. Allow students time to examine their datasets and maps.
  4. Discuss with students different ways scientists visualize data based on the type of data and needs for analysis. They will be using a range of arrows to represent the level of breeding between sheep populations (refer to the datasets for more information) as shown in the DNA study of bighorn sheep. The students will transcribe the arrows onto maps to understand the role of habitat fragmentation by highways in changing mating patterns.


Key Idea: Scientists represent data in different ways depending upon the needs for analysis. 

Question:  How is the DNA data represented in your datasets? 
Answer:  Arrows.

Question:  What are some other types of data and ways of representing data that scientists use?
Answer:  Graphs, Drawings, Trees