Events and Enrichment » DNA Day


Each April or May, Palms celebrates DNA Day, commemorating the discovery of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick.

In the months preceding DNA Day our students prepare for DNA Day with classroom studies on topics in genomics. Students learn about the structure and processes of DNA and the practical applications and they make posters you'll see around campus.


On DNA Day a group of about 60 Palms students visit UCLA for DNA Day activities hosted by graduate students and faculty of the Genomic Analysis Training Program. Activities include lectures, laboratory experiments, computer analysis, contests, and question-and-answer periods. After DNA Day the Palms students present the activities to their classmates. UCLA graduate students and faculty also make a visit to Palms to speak to Palms students and their families about topics such as medical genetics, nutrigenomics, and careers in genomics.

As DNA Day approaches, students make DNA models, DNA posters, prepare DNA presentations, and write research papers on genetics.

As far as we know, Palms is the only middle school on the west coast with a program like this!

2024 Dates:

DNA Model Contest: Usually held in March

Palms DNA Day Field Trip: TBA

National DNA Day: always April 25

An Award for Palms


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) gave one of its two 2012 annual awards to the Palms Middle School DNA Day partnership with UCLA.

The $10,000 grant supported transportation and instructional materials that let Palms continue to participate in DNA Day at UCLA despite budget cuts, and to expand the scope of the genetics education our students receive.

See the National Human Genome Research Institute press release.

2017 Model Contest Winners

Grand Prize winners: Sam Fuchs and Rachel Suh

2017 DNA model contest winners

Winning students, from left to right: Natalie Gurzeler, Gloria Martinez, Isaac Ng, Lana Neulander, Ziane Djenidi, Natalie Teng, Rachel Suh, Aaron Ogawa, and Kieran Casenas.

Other winners, not in photo: John Avellana, Salma Berumen, Sam Fuchs, John Garcia, Lauryn Johnson, Thomas Kensinger, Amir Moreno, Ehren Partida, and Aislinn Porter.

DNA Model Contest

Each year, science students create models of DNA in the weeks before Open House.

A contest is held on Open House night, as parents and family members vote for their favorite models. There is one Grand Prize and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place contestants for each class period. Students earn an "A+", extra credit, and a prize.

You'll see these models and our student's Genetics Research projects displayed in the main building downstairs hallway.

2015 Model Contest Winners

DNA Model Contest

Top row, left to right: Isaac Alonzo 2nd Place, Grant Drucker 1st, Hannah Pechet 1st, Valerie Barrios 1st, Elijah Gearhart 1st, Katherine Davila 2nd, Mikaela Jackson 3rd, Riley Horita 2nd, Charu Balamuragan 1st, Chloe Cheng 3rd, Frances Ashe-McNally 2nd.

Bottom row, left to right: Genevieve Marino 1st, Jino Taylor 2nd, Amir Black 2nd, Nathan Ranaei Grand Prize, Nicole Heinze 1st, Caleb Holt 3rd, Angela Yang 1st, Jessica Bheemanpally 3rd.

Others, not pictured: Tiago Abdi, Bittania Yilma, Ariana Paredes, Alexander Barner, Geovanny Martinez, Michael Gonzo, Yuki Hirano, Melay De Jesus, Giovanny Martinez.