top of page
  • warmara88

4-6th Grade Virtual Book Club: Coop Knows the Scoop w/ DNA Activity

Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders is a juvenile fiction novel for 4-6 grade.

Windy Bottom, Georgia is your typical small southern town; everybody knows everybody and gossip rules the day. So when a body is found buried underneath the playground slide, it is all anyone can talk about.

Coop and his friends Liberty and Justice are just as curious as everyone else, and itching to take a peek of the crime scene. But first, they have to finish their chores at their parent's Bookstore Cafe.

Excitement in the town is high, until fingers start pointing in a very personal direction. Coop's gramps is somehow connected to the body and what was once harmless gossip, turns to finger pointing real quick!

Can Coop find the scoop before it is too late?

Discussion Questions:

1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

2. What makes a good mystery? What are characteristics of a mystery do you like and why?

3. Windy Bottom is a small southern town. Have you ever lived or visited a small town like Windy Bottom? Would you want to? Why or why not?

4. Beau has a reputation for being a bully. Do you think he is a bully? Do you think he’s justified for acting the way he does?

5. Gramps only has two rules. What are they and why does he feel so strongly about them?

6. Coop puts Gramps on a pedestal. What does this mean? Do you think this is fair? Have you ever put someone on a pedestal and been disappointed?

7. A theme in this novel is forgiveness. What does forgiveness mean and why does Coop have such a hard time with it?

8. Is it worse when someone is angry with you or disappointed with you? Why?

9. What crime solving tools does Coop use to figure out who the killer was?

10. What clues did the author give to help Coop figure out who the killer was? Who did you think the killer was?

STEM Supplies Needed: dish soap, salt, water, rubbing alcohol, three clear cups, food coloring, some utensils/measuring tools


Little bit about DNA:

Cells are considered as the building blocks of all living things. The human body has around 37 trillion cells! Each cell has nucleus and other major parts. In a nucleus, the "DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. Each chromosome is made up of DNA ."

"DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the hereditary material in almost all living organisms. DNA contains the instructions needed for an organism to develop, survive and reproduce. Most DNA is located in the nucleus."

In this activity, we are going to collect our own DNA and combining it with other chemicals, we should be able to separate it into little strands that we can actually see.


1. Pour 2cups of water in a plastic cup

2. Add one tablespoon of salt to the water

3. Stir until the salt is dissolved completely

4. Transfer 2 tablespoons of salt water in a clear plastic cup

5. Vigorously gargle salt water for a minute

6. Spit salt water back into the same cup

When you gargle the salt water, it will collect some of your cheek cells. Now your cheek cells are in the cup.

Now slowly add 1ml (about a 1/4tsp) of clear dishwashing soap to the salt water you just spit out. The dishwashing soap will break open cheek cells and their nuclei walls causing the DNA to be released into the salt water.

7. Pour 100 ml (or just under half a cup) of isopropyl alcohol in a separate clear plastic cup

8. Add 3 drops of food coloring, mix them well

9. Tilt the salt water cup and carefully pour alcohol such a way that it makes a layer on top of the salt water.

10. Wait for 4 minutes

The DNA is insoluble in isopropyl alcohol and it promotes the clustering of the DNA, making them visible. After the procedure is done, we can see filaments of DNA on the top layer of the solution and after some time we can see white clusters of DNA at the bottom of the cup.

If you were to look at these strands under a microscope, you'd be looking at your own DNA!

How'd it go:

This one went really well! The kids were really into the book and SUPER into the experiment. And it worked for everyone--which almost never happens. I totally recommend this experiment to anyone!

That's all for now!


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page