Chestnut Tree Lab

This Chestnut Tree Lab lesson plan also includes:

What will your class learn in a curious tale of a fungus, a virus, and a chestnut tree? Biology scholars discover the world of viral biocontrols through a DNA restriction lab. Groups research the decline of the American chestnut tree at the hands of a fungal infection, then use gel electrophoresis to determine the effectiveness of a viral agent in preventing the spread of the virus to other chestnut trees.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Bring chestnuts to class so pupils are familiar with the fruit of their labors!
  • Assign post-lab research into other ecological changes caused by biological agents, such as the emerald ash borer
Classroom Considerations

  • Ensure you set aside enough time to view the completed gel plates when they have developed, as the stain used to visualize the results breaks down quickly


  • The lesson's pre-lab activities are very engaging and easy to execute
  • Teacher's guide is full of tips, ideas, and additional resources, as well as printable materials

  • None