This is a fun and creative activity to tie all of the following concepts together into one lesson: DNA sequencing & transcription, mRNA translation, amino acid codons & proteins, genotype, phenotype, recessive & dominant alleles & traits.
Students will help solve a crime based on DNA evidence left on a lollipop at the crime scene. There are 3 versions of the same scenario that will identify 3 different criminals so you can use them for 3 classes – this avoids having the kids tell the next class who the suspect is ;). Each student will receive one of the 4 DNA samples – you can have students work individually, or have a group of students work on suspect 1, another on suspect 2, etc. (Sorry – I do not have an answer key to post)
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
clothes pins and string to hang up in classroom
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)
Each student will write the letters from their first and last name onto the student handout.
Using the chart, they will find the amino acid associated with the first letter of their first name.
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.
Write the color of the paper link they will need for “L”, in this case, it is Red.
Repeat for every letter in their name.
Once their handout is completed, they will select the colored links, one for each letter of their name.
The colored links will be placed in the same order as the letters in their name.
On each link, write one of the codons for that letter. For example, “L” would be “CTT” on a Red link.
Loop and staple the first letter of their name.
Weave through the second letter and staple the loop closed.
Continue until all the letters have been linked together.
Hang up the protein chain, be sure to have the first letter of their name at the top.
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.
It is that time of year again: time to ask everyone you know to save their plastic Easter eggs and that you will be more than happy to take them off their hands – once the kids have emptied out the goodies, of course!
Below are some links to teachers who have used this lesson in the past:
If you have a unit on genetics, this is a must have as part of your lesson plans. The worksheets were created by Tracy and posted on her website, ScienceSpot.net (link). I created a Google Slides presentation for my 7th graders to help them set up, solve, and analyze Punnett squares.
As a class, we worked on the first few problems together. Then, students worked with a partner and self checked their work using the ppt slides. For homework, they were to finish the problems and self check using the ppt slides. In class the next day, we reviewed some of the problems to check for understanding.
I used this hands-on activity as a review/reinforcement with my 7th graders and it really helped them understand the different blood types, about blood donation, and basic Punnett Squares. Plus they had fun playing the games and making up their own games.
All of the instructions and different games to play are explained in the handout. Some examples are: Who can donate? Punnett Square Practice, Identification, Memory, and Matching.
Other ways to use the cards:
Flashcards – Students can print their own at home and use them to study
You can set up a station/rotation to play the games as they are, or as ‘make your own’ game stations. Or a combination of both. Place one game at each station and have the students rotate every 7-10 minutes (see below for logistics)
Rotation Directions – students will rotate from table to table and learn to play the game at each station
Need a group of 4 students at each station.
When it is time to rotate, only 2 go to the next station, and 2 stay.
The 2 that stay are the experts on that game.
The 2 experts teach the 2 novices how to play when they rotate to the table.
When it is time to rotate, the 2 experts who stayed go to the next group, and the novices are now the experts and teach the 2 new novices that came to the station.
Quiz-Quiz Trade –
give each student a RBC card and have them identify it, then trade
give each student a blood-type card and ask for the genotype (ie AA or AO)
Or mix both decks and play both games
Find your Partner –
give half or your class Blood Type Cards and the other half of the class RBC cards and have them find the matching set
Interactive Links for further practice
Blood Typing Game – can you make the right choice? (link)
Are you my blood type? can you find the donor? (link)
Emergency Room – figure out the blood type and correct transfusion (link)