How we attempted to set a Guinness World Record

for the Largest Global Maths and Science Lesson

on GWR Day 2015


Corpus Christi School, Peruvilai, India

Here are some of more than 40 thousand learners who participated in this lesson.

The DNA Lesson Resources remain online for you to use:

WHY did we do this?

Our objective was to create a GREAT event where every learner and facilitator enjoyed the process of learning maths through science. We love to open eyes and minds to the relevance of maths and science in “real life”. We are also raising funds for a very special cause: AIMSSEC – African Institute for Mathematical Sciences School Enrichment Centre; Supporting Disadvantaged African Children to Raise themselves out of Poverty through Sustainable Education. We would still be grateful for voluntary donations.



WHO participated?

Registration was open to schools worldwide and 48,765 learners from 18 countries were signed up to take part. The resources for the 100 minute maths and science lesson are now available to download here . These resources are designed for ages from 7 to 15 and suitable for whole schools or individual classes, large or small.

The GWR DNA Lesson was run as a partnership between Bubbly Maths, AIMSSEC and  HeyMath! HeyMath_Logo HeyScience_Logo

WHO registered for the lessons?

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Global DNA Lesson Demographics
Number of Learners 48765
Total Number of Schools 346
Number of Countries 18
Number of Classes 1962
Number of Teachers 2272
Global DNA Lesson Participating Countries
Country No. of Schools Registered
Australia 8
Brazil 1
Colombia 1
Denmark 1
Germany 1
India 48
Indonesia 1
Ireland 36
Malaysia 1
Nigeria 12
Romania 1
Singapore 5
South Africa 9
Spain 1
Tanzania 2
UK 213
Uruguay 1

WHAT was the lesson plan?

The lesson explored the maths and science in a real life application, starting with a choice of videos introducing DNA. The videos explain how the DNA code characterises each living organism and gives a ‘database’ of all the information an organism needs to survive, grow and reproduce, how DNA is used to identify one individual from another, and the way DNA replicates itself. Videos and PDFs gave instructions for making models from a variety of materials and the plan was for every learner to make a model. Teachers chose which method and materials to use.


Self Duplicating DNA double Helix.

Genomes of a butterfly and owls

Genomes of a butterfly and owls

 For the second part of the lesson teachers chose from a wide range of activities for which worksheets, resources and teachers notes were provided, to include: problem solving, functions, codes, pattern recognition, measuring, scale, large and small numbers and representation in standard form, statistics, sequences, permutations, repeated doubling in a DNA dance, the structure and chemistry of DNA, the use of DNA in identifying characteristics of cells and in forensic science.

To prove their participation teachers submittd a photo of their class with the models they had made. They received a free certificate from AIMSSEC, Bubbly Maths & HeyMath! and a template to print certificates for each learner who took part.

The proof of participation for Guinness was more complicated and the teachers who completed all the Guinness forms entered 13,243 learners for recognition of setting this record. We hope to achieve a Guinness World Record and feature in the 2016 Guinness World Record Book. If Guinness recognise our attempt officialy then all participants (including parents) will be able to order an official Certificate of Participation direct from Guinness World Records. FYI – Visit the Guinness certificate ordering page here (cost £20).

WHAT records did we attempt to break?

    1. World’s Largest Balloon Modelling Class (Mass Participation, Multi Venue Record). Learning to twist balloons and join them together to make a DNA double helix with ten steps. All the instructions on given here.
    2. World’s Largest Maths and Science Class (Mass Participation, Multi Venue Record). Activities and resources are available to download to deliver a 100 minute class.
    3. The World’s Longest DNA Double Helix model (made from balloons or any material of your choice) – awarded to the school who made the longest strand subject to Guinness approval. The current record is 28 meters.

WHERE – what venue?

In classrooms, school and community halls in 18 countries.


Did the lesson have to be at a certain time? No, but 30 minutes of the lesson had to take place on 3rd November.

How long did the lesson last? 30 minutes minimum to make a DNA model plus two other 30 minute lesson activities.

What years could take part? There are a couple of simple activities that 5 to 7 year olds can do. Most activities are suitable for 8 to 13 year olds. Some activities are suitable for 13 to 16 year olds.

So each school was doing something slightly different? Yes, the basic requirement was to make a DNA strand and we gave instructions to do this using a variety of materials. Many schools creatively developed methods of making the models from different materials.

How do I find out more about DNA? Watch this TED-Ed video “The Twisting Tale of DNA by Judith Hauck.

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