What can LEGO® bricks teach us about DNA? These colorful bricks can help us understand how sequencing works in the genetic code!
Let's dig into the basics of DNA and then we'll get to how to build your a simple LEGO DNA tower out of the bricks you already have lying around your home.
DNA is the material that carries all the information about how a living thing will look and function. It is found in the nucleus of each of our cells and is unique to every individual. Its full name is deoxyribonucleic acid, which can be complicated to say, so we usually refer to it as DNA for short.
DNA is so tiny that it can not be seen unless we use a very powerful microscope. If we could see it we would see that it looks like a twisted ladder, which scientists refer to as the double helix.
The DNA ladder is composed of rungs that are made from two letters of the DNA alphabet. This alphabet consists of only 4 letters — A, T, G, and C. Each letter has a unique puzzle-like shape, which means that A and T fit with each other to form a rung on the ladder and G and C fit with each other to form a rung on the ladder.
As we read the DNA ladder, the letters combine to form 3-letter words called codons. Then, these codons combine to form sentences that we call genes. These genes are the basis for your chromosomes, which give your body a blueprint set of instructions for life.
Every human has 23 pairs of these DNA chromosomes that tell our body what to look like and what to do. We get one set of chromosomes from our mother and one set from our father. They determine whether your eyes will be blue or brown, what color your skin and hair will be, whether you will be a boy or girl and so much more.
You will need:
In this activity, you are going to build a tower that is twelve rows high with the four different colors to see how different combinations you can make. Use the process as you build:
The sentence for the tower pictured above would be:
RYG BYR BGG BYR BGR YYR BGG BRY
Here is another activity you can use to study DNA:
Here is another activity you can use to learn about the Punnett Square:
I hope that you find the explanation and activities in this post useful as you seek to share about DNA with your students! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
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