6. Protein Factory - Logistics

45-55 minutes

Whole class.


  • Copies of the Genetic Code handout (see Secret Codes activity)
  • 1 assembled paper DNA model, 60 base pairs long (1 codon per student acting as a tRNA)
  • Copies of Factory Instructions (follow the teacher instructions on the top of the page for how many copies of each to make)
  • Copies of DNA puzzle pieces, each on a different colored paper. For a group of 30 students you will need:
    • 4 copies of S-ribose
    • 3 copies of P-phosphate
    • 2 copies of A, C, G, and U
    • 2 copies of amino acid
    • 10 copies of transfer RNA
    • You also need several DNA model puzzle pieces to create the promotor, translation start, and translation stop sequences. Hopefully, you have some left over from the DNA model activity:
    • 30 S-deoxyribose pieces (1 sheet)
    • 30 P-phosphate pieces (1 sheet)
    • 10 A, C, G, and T pieces (half a sheet)
  • Scissors
  • 8 rolls of Scotch tape
  • Bins or trays on which to keep the puzzle pieces.