A Classroom Demonstration of Protein Folding

Does the mention of proteins and polypeptide relationships in your classroom result in mass confusion? Does the attempt to teach this important concept generate multiple questions and, at times, lead to a room filled with blank stares? Well, look no further! This interactive demonstration of protein folding involves color, creativity, and motion while allowing blossoming scientists the ability to clearly understand how polypeptides may be folded through interactions with amino acids.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • An assortment of colored cards are required; cut them ahead of time
Classroom Considerations

  • Ensure all pupils have background knowledge of amino acids and polypeptides prior to participating in the demonstration
  • The activity is two-dimensional, while an actual protein structure is three-dimensional; this should be discussed during the demonstration
Pros

  • This activity offers a way for the entire class to interact while learning an important concept in science
  • The use of colored cards enlivens the activity and will appeal to pupils who are visual learners
Cons

  • Does not take into consideration the bonding of hydrogen within the polypeptide chain
  • The activity is two-dimensional, while an actual protein structure is three-dimensional; this should be discussed during the demonstration
Common Core

NGSS