Students make a 3D model of DNA to learn the basic structure of DNA and the nucleotide base pairing rules.
Estimated Time of Activity
Up to 1.5 hours
Students will be able do the following as a result of the activity:
- Describe the 3 basic parts of a DNA molecule
- Name the four types of nucleotide bases
- Explain the rules of base pairing for DNA
Students should be able to articulate a definition of DNA and describe in general terms what it does in the cell.
- Draw a stick model of DNA
- Use the red licorice, marshmallows, and other materials to make the DNA model
- Label the backbone and four bases on the helix model
The models are assessed for accuracy. Every student should end the class with a correct and labeled 3D model of the specified DNA sequence.
- Student handout
- Licorice sticks: 2 per student
- Colored marshmallows per student: 9 green, 9 pink, 9 yellow, and 9 orange
- Toothpicks: 12 per student
- Paperclips: 5 per student
- Masking tape
See Instructors handout