OnScreen DNA Replication
by OnScreen Science, Inc.

Price at time of review: $3.99
OnScreen Science, Inc.
Somerville, MA

Grade Level: 6-College

Reviewed by Thomas Brown
Retired Science Teacher

The OnScreen DNA Replication app is a tool with vivid graphics that biology teachers can utilize to show their student how a DNA molecule is replicated during cell division. The program focuses on allowing the user to manipulate a simplified model of DNA and observe it go through the replication process. Students can not only see the process unfold on the main screen, but they can pause it as needed to read more about each step of the replication process.

The app comes with a selection of written information that can be used to expand on the user’s basic understanding of DNA replication. This information includes an overview of the double helix geometry as well as the rules involved in making nucleotides. Additional content reviews the many different enzymes used in replication including important ones such as pyrophosphatase and telomerase. The app also explains the role of Okazaki fragments and telomeres in the replication process.

OnScreen DNA Replication allows teachers and students to explore and expand their understanding of the replication process. The app could be used as a classroom tool in several ways. Teachers could easily show how replication occurs step–by–step by attaching their tablet to a projector. As replication is carried out on the main screen, there is written text that explains what is happening above the replicating molecule. There is also a secondary graphic at the bottom of the screen that illustrates how enzymes add specific nitrogen bases to create the new DNA molecule. Teachers could also stop the replication process as appropriate by hitting the pause button in order to discuss with their class what is happening in more detail. Additionally, students who have the app on their tablet could also work independently to learn about the process at their own speed.

This app provides biology teachers with an inexpensive resource to enhance their students’ ability to learn how the replication of DNA takes place. The pictorial nature of this inexpensive app can be used to keep students’ attention and improve their ability to understand the essentials of DNA replication.

Review posted on 2/21/2014

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