Science

A Delicious DNA Model

I feel like we have had a little “model mania” in science lately. Today was a favorite though, mainly because it involved CANDY! Since we are learning about cells, I added in a lesson about DNA, even though our current unit is about classification and not genetics.

First, we reviewed cell organelles and their functions with a matching game. Then we talked about the contents of the nucleus and the function of DNA. We looked at pictures of the structure of DNA and microscopic images of chromosomes in a couple of library books. Finally, we started building our own DNA model using a lesson I found at www.sciencebuddies.org.

Our Twizzlers were larger than the ones pictured on the website. We also found Haribo Gummy Bears to be quite resilient to being threaded onto toothpicks. Or, perhaps our toothpicks just were not as strong. Either way, instead of inserting the toothpick through the bears and then into the rope candy, we just made little gummy bear dumbells and laid them flat between the Twizzler strips.

Pairing green gummy bears (for guanine) to white gummy bears (for cytosine), and pairing red gummy bears (for adenine) to yellow gummy bears (for thymine)

If you can get them to go through your candy bears and into the candy ropes, this would be a great time to lift the model vertically and twist slightly to give a visual of double helix form of DNA. We were not able to make it work, unfortunately.

I also found a worksheet online to color in the DNA diagram to show the base pairing at www.biologycorner.com. We used the same colors that we used for our gummy bears instead of using the shapes shown on the diagram.

Coloring in the base pairs on the worksheet in the same order as in the model

I think I may have set the bar a little too high on this one. They might start drooling in anticipation the next time I say, “We are making a model as part of the lesson today.”

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