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Spring SAVY 2020: Day 2 – Biochemistry: The Language of Life (5th/6th)

Posted by on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

We began the second week of the biochemistry course by having a journaling session where students shared to the rest of the class what were their favorite activities from the previous week, as well as one new piece of biochemical information that they learned in the first session. It became clear very quickly that students were most excited about the scavenger hunt from the previous week!

We then moved to an activity where students had to spell either their first or last names using amino acid residues, and in doing so, they create a primary sequence of a protein structure. After building the primary sequence, using the 21 occurring amino acid possibilities and amide bonds, the students next determined the 3 Base codons that called for that specific amino acid from the mRNA sequence.

From the codons, students were able to create the mRNA sequence that would be translated in the ribosomes to the original amino acid primary structure. Lastly, the students depicted the pyrimidine and purine bases that composed the mRNA. Thus, students could understand how 4 nucleic acid bases can generate enough information necessary to create all the of the complex protein structures. By performing this overall activity, the students received a more hands on experience in understanding the central dogma of DNA->RNA via transcription and the concept of the ribosome translating the mRNA message to create proteins.

After this activity, the students were again broken into teams, and another jeopardy style quiz bowl game was delivered to help the students with recall of the already vast array of concepts that we have covered in this course thus far. Now having a strong fundamental base of what biochemistry is, the students were next tasked with developing an idea for their final project presentation.

For this project presentation, the students had to identify one real-world application of biochemistry and to do research in peer-reviewed journals on the subject they wish to study. These topics are wide ranging from heavy metal poisoning, to gene splicing, to even how our bodies are composed of “star dust”. Students researched the web for information covering these topics, as they will work to finish this project during the last Saturday.

In addition to finishing their research projects next week, the students will also get a deeper understanding of transcription, translation, Hydrogen-Bonding, and cell-cell communication. Lastly, we will end our course by performing a wet-chemistry experiment based around protein detection and determining positive or negative hits for a tracer.

We hope you will plan to join us for the parent open house event on Saturday. It will be from 2:15-2:45pm in our classroom.