However, these concepts remain difficult for students to grasp. All rights reserved. Set the scene for modeling. This states that once "information" has passed into protein it cannot get out again. “Introduction to Molecular Biology Activity” handouts, available for download in either Word doc or PDF format: Word: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1byzp7yau99f30s/Intro%20to%20Molecular%20Biology%20activity_final.doc?dl=0, PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/sd656x3n37hmkrx/Intro%20to%20Molecular%20Biology%20activity_final.pdf?dl=0. (D) Sequence of shapes that contain embedded codes for the paper chains. Students will begin to understand the relationship between genetic mutations (mutations in the code) and changes in the protein chain (phenotypic changes). All rights reserved. After about 5–10 minutes, the teacher should lead a general discussion, asking the class about the codes they have devised. One strand is the coding strand, and the other is the noncoding strand. For example, have anchor charts prepared, template pieces photocopied and cut out, any additional visuals, models, or manipulatives in a "central" location so that the modeling activity moves along at an effective pace with few interruptions. Again, teachers can determine how much instruction and guidance to give the students ahead of time, based on the class level, but generally some level of thinking and struggle adds to student comprehension and retention. Introduction. WordNet); mapping ORM diagrams into the DIG and reasoning using Racer;+ functionalities. They first determine the exact sequence of the polypeptide they want and then create a DNA sequence to produce it. 5. © 2019 National Association of Biology Teachers. The Central Dogma states that information can be transferred from DNA to DNA, DNA to mRNA and mRNA to protein. 6. Students should be given the entire “Introduction to Molecular Biology Activity” handout packet at the beginning of class and instructed to work on part 1 (page 1) without progressing to part 2 until further instructions are given. They also consider what would happen if they started making their chain using the incorrect start codon, which primes students for understanding the concept of a “reading frame.” These questions also lead into the thought questions for part 3, where the effect of mutations is addressed. Another option is for the teacher to discuss how many groups came up with this type of strategy (putting the strategy on the board) and then discuss strengths and weaknesses with the class. Practice: Transcription and translation. Use the tRNA-amino acid sequences determined in Question 7. RNA and protein synthesis review. Teachers should print the “Introduction to Molecular Biology Activity” handout packet, with a copy for each student or group of students. Based on the types of responses students provide, we may extend our learning with an additional Modeling DNA and Protein Synthesis Lab activity. At the time of the Headquarters' construction, many scientific experiments were underway in Central Dogma, including Naoko Akagi's development of the Magi System, and Naoko's collaboration with Gendo and Yui Ikari on Project E. Central Dogma switched hands whe… Connecting the concepts of genes with their protein product and the protein product to phenotype has been shown to be particularly challenging for them (Rotbain et al., 2008; Reinagel et al., 2016). This allows students to actively learn about various mutation types and their consequences, including silent mutations, missense mutations, nonsense mutations, and insertion or deletion mutations. This can be somewhat time consuming for the instructor. At this time, the teacher should walk around and give general guidance but allow the students to struggle with how to create a valid code. The human genome project is expected to determine the complete sequence of all human genes, and the genomes of several other organisms are already completely sequenced. This usually takes students ~20 minutes (total) and may require some guidance for students to realize they must use the chain identifiers to find the correct general location, followed by locating the first subsequent start codon to identify the correct embedded code for their paper chain. Research has shown that students often have difficulty understanding molecular genetics. These authors have contended that students should interact with the molecular entities as much as possible to best learn the complex material. 2006, 106, 8, 3397-3411. Different cells use the same blueprint in different ways. 4. This is the start to understanding the relationship between genome and proteome, and between genotype and phenotype. Olena Maydanovych; Peter A. Beal; View Author Information. Being forced to actively think through these issues and possible “solutions,” students begin to realize that the codon lengths need to be consistent. In the central dogma … We describe an activity sequence that engages high school students directly in modeling the major processes of protein synthesis using the major components of translation. This is a clever way of accomplishing this task, but students should be asked to think about the limitations of this strategy, including how this further limits the code (four shapes are now basically limited to three for the purpose of coding letters), and varying codon length adds a level of complexity that can be slower and more mentally tasking to decode. The understandings students gain from this activity are then interwoven throughout the “molecular biology” unit and can be used to reorient students to these concepts throughout the rest of the course. Protein Synthesis Modeling Activity. 8. Students will understand the structure of DNA is universal to all living organisms. The discussion will likely take 20+ minutes to adequately complete, and the teacher may want to give an additional 5 minutes for students to complete their answers to the questions associated with part 2, once the discussion is finished. The students then continue working on their codes for an additional 5–10 minutes and, having realized that each codon needs to be a consistent length, eventually discover that the only way to code for all 26 letters of the alphabet is to use three consecutive shapes to code for each letter (Figure 1C). It also connects the content of molecular biology with that of genetics by helping students understand mutations, the effects of mutations on protein sequence, and the relationship between genetic mutations, protein sequence, and disease (genotype → phenotype). Having walked around the classroom, he or she will have an idea about each group's strategy. By allowing students to actively work through these concepts using simple coded shapes, they build their own understanding and actively refute many of their own inherent misunderstandings. Students will be able to practice modeling protein synthesis as the instructor demonstrates the process using manipulatives. Using the validated published Central Dogma Concept Inventory tool 9, we showed that students make significantly higher learning gains on assessment questions that align with a physical model‐based activity compared with assessment questions that align with a different (non‐model based) active‐engagement strategy like clickers or peer discussion problems. In this way, the students can see the physical effect on chain sequence, along with potential alterations in the fold and function. Alternatively, students can just write out the sequence for the chain and the eight different premade chains can be shown to the class during discussion. In such an instance, the activity also works great as an instructor demonstration or guided student inquiry. We have divided the students in two different classes. In order to understand the concepts associated with the central dogma of molecular biology (DNA → RNA → protein) and eventually genetics, students first need to understand the relationship between DNA, mRNA, and proteins, and subsequently that between protein function and disease. central dogma and recombinant DNA ... Our goal was to develop a manipulative activity using inexpensive but graphic materials. During this modeling activity, students act out transcription and translation by moving around the classroom with assigned roles as the DNA, mRNA, tRNA, proteins, etc.. In the questions associated with this section (see handout packet, p. 4), students review why the codons need to be at least three consecutive shapes, and why start and stop codons are required. Michael I. Dorrell, Jennifer E. Lineback; Using Shapes & Codes to Teach the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology: A Hands-On Inquiry-Based Activity. A series of questions designed to walk the students through determining the various consequences of alterations in the coding sequence. © Copyright 2020 by the Regents of the University of California. After some brief discussion, the teacher should write a sequence of 10–20 shapes on the board and ask students to decode it using that strategy. Students will further explore the relationship between genetic mutations and changes in phenotype. After this lesson students should be able to: 1. Conceptual understanding of the effects of insertions and deletions on the reading frame. Protein Synthesis Activity. They must consider how to code for letters of the English alphabet using only four distinct shapes (triangle, star, square, and circle; Figure 1) and consider what other aspects beyond just the English letters might require coding in order to effectively communicate the secret message. During discussion, the physical chain 8 coded by the original sequence should be compared with a premade chain generated by the nonsense mutation (so students can visualize the effect of a premature stop codon), and with a premade chain with the insertion or deletion mutation (so students can visualize the effects of altering the reading frame). There is still value in the students actually making chains if time and resources permit. When used as an introduction, this activity sequence provides a central lattice on which student understanding of concepts central to molecular biology and molecular genetics can be built. Students also gain an introductory understanding of the role of promoter regions and understand that genes are embedded within longer sequences that make up our entire genome. This activity sequence is designed to help students think through some of the major concepts of molecular biology's central dogma. A central concept that will come up again and again is “the gene”. A fundamental principle called the Central Dogma describes how genetic information flows from the DNA in our genetic material via RNA to proteins which in turn carryout all of the cellular functions necessary for life. The molecular chain of command that dictates the directional flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein was dubbed the central dogma by Francis Crick in 1956. This allows students to realize that there is no way of knowing where the “codon” for one letter stops and the next begins. These activity handouts guide students through the four different parts of the sequence. Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models. The discovery of catalytic RNA enabled this pair of Nobel laureates to provide evidence that RNA molecules can possess all the properties required of the original biomolecule since RNA has both the ability to simultaneously function as an enzyme and genetic material. After working through these tasks, it is an easy conceptual jump for the students to think of the single-letter representations of nucleotides (A, C, G, and T) as a code similar to the shapes used in this activity. Simulating Protein Synthesis (Day 1 of 2). This code should include each of the 26 different letters of the alphabet, punctuation, and everything required for a complete message. 1.1 Genes, DNA and central dogma. 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