My son’s a sweet person… it must be in his DNA. Our yellow lab puppy digs holes… it must be in her DNA. After building our candy DNA model for our edible science series and having a simple conversation about DNA, my son’s little DNA jokes didn’t quit. DNA is fascinating and making it out of candy is just as fascinating according to my kid. Science you can eat too!
CANDY DNA MODEL FOR EDIBLE SCIENCE AND BIOLOGY
This year we are exploring edible science activities and experiments…
I’m not talking just about science using food (we have that too), but I’m talking about science you can nibble on.
Science you can EAT.
There’s no better way into my son’s heart or brain than with food. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s growing like a weed.
Building a candy DNA model with my 8 year old son allowed us to explore and talk about some basic biology of living organisms such as ourselves while we used our hands to build with.
DNA is a fairly advanced topic, but there are some simple facts about DNA you can share with your (early) elementary school age kids. See below…
We talked about what makes us unique and how that happens because of our DNA.
DNA CANDY MODEL SUPPLIES
Twizzlers (represent the backbone consisting of sugars and phosphates)
Soft Candy (Something that comes in 4 colors but is all the same type of candy to represent the A, T, C, G nucleotides)
4 cups to separate candies by color
BUILDING A DNA MODEL
Start your candy DNA model by sorting the 4 colors of candy into separate bowls. Then you want to assign each one to a specific nucleotide. These 4 nucleotides along with the sugars and phosphates make up your double helix candy DNA model.
Adenine and Thymine are always paired together.
Cytosine and Guanine are always paired together.
Now it’s time to start making up pairs and building your candy DNA model. Our DNA can not be seen with they eyes only high powered microscopes, but DNA is long thin molecules.
We each made our own unique strand of candy DNA and twisted them into what is known as a double helix. The back bone (Twizzlers) of your candy DNA model is what gives the double helix it’s specific shape. They also hold together the A, T, C, G nucleotides.
There are endless combinations that can be made, but the pairs of nucleotides must stick together.
WHAT IS DNA?
DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
Our bodies are made up of cells. These cells contain hugely important molecules called DNA within the nucleus of the cell. DNA essentially tells the cells what to do.
This is a roadmap to how our bodies operate. DNA sends information to our cells for proper function. DNA is also what makes us unique to one another.
Each string of DNA carries a set of instructions called genes. The gene tells the cell how to make a specific protein. Proteins are used by the cell to perform certain functions, to grow, and to survive. These genes are also passed down to offspring.
If you have some extra candy laying around or want to pick up a few bags for a group biology project, building a candy DNA model with the kids is a great way to keep busy.
You will still have a bunch of candy leftover depending on how many strands of candy DNA models you make. Challenge your kids to…