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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Using Candy to Teach DNA

How to teach the structure and shape of DNA?  Why, with sweets, of course!  Specifically, Twizzlers and marshmallows.

First, we completed a color-by-number model of DNA.  You can learn more about how I use this sheet as a teaching tool by reading this post.

We talked about how the base pairs (A, T, C, G) match up and recreated that with our candy models.  The students made a key and decided what base pair each color of marshmallow would represent (see the toothpick flags in the pictures below).

We talked about how the spiral shape is called a double helix, and part of their grade was to demonstrate that they had this knowledge.

There were some projects in which the students had to get creative with their supplies for one reason or another. Below are some examples. I think they did rather well!

If you don't have marshmallows, try gum drops or gummy bears. 

If you don't have Twizzlers, try straws. 

What do you do to make DNA more "concrete"?  I'd love to get some new ideas!

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