DNA – Paper Protein Chains Activity

DNA-paper-protein-chains
Making protein chains – In this example, the color code is different than posted in the lesson, it was a prototype

Purpose:

  • Students will convert their name into a DNA sequence and create a protein chain.

Materials:

  • Student Handout (DNAPaperProteinChainsActivity)
  • Amino Acid Handout (link)
  • pre-cut 2 inch wide strips of construction paper  (12×18) in the following colors – red*, pink, yellow, orange*, green, lt. blue, dk.blue, and black*
    • (*) be sure to have more of these colors since they are vowels
    • I used a paper cutter and was able to make a lot of strips very quickly ahead of time
  • markers
  • staplers
  • clothes pins and string to hang up in classroom

Procedures:

  1. This activity should be used after DNA and protein synthesis has been introduced. This activity will help reinforce the concept of how the sequence of DNA codons create specific amino acids, and in turn, the amino acids are joined together to create specific proteins. (link)
  2. Each student will write the letters from their first and last name onto the student handout.
  3. Using the chart, they will find the amino acid associated with the first letter of their first name.
  4. For example, if the first letter is “L”, it will code for Leucine. They will select one of the codons for Leucine and write it on their chart.
  5. Write the color of the paper link they will need for “L”, in this case, it is Red.
  6. Repeat for every letter in their name.
  7. Once their handout is completed, they will select the colored links, one for each letter of their name.
  8. The colored links will be placed in the same order as the letters in their name.
  9. On each link, write one of the codons for that letter. For example, “L” would be “CTT” on a Red link.
  10. Loop and staple the first letter of their name.
  11. Weave through the second letter and staple the loop closed.
  12. Continue until all the letters have been linked together.
  13. Hang up the protein chain, be sure to have the first letter of their name at the top.
  14. Look for patterns – what color was used the most? Which group of amino acids was it? Which group of amino acids was used the least? Who had the longest name? Etc.

Protein Synthesis (link)

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