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7 Fun Protein Synthesis Activities

Winter is the perfect time of year for engaging protein synthesis activities to bring some life back to your Biology classroom! Since many Biology teachers traditionally hit DNA and protein synthesis near the holidays, we wanted to share a few protein synthesis resources that are sure to engage your students. These fun and festive ideas will help you thrive in your classroom during a BUSY season!

Fun Protein Synthesis Activities

Winter Sentences Activity- This Winter Protein Synthesis Activity is one of my favorite things to incorporate in my DNA unit. Framed as a competitive game, students use transcription and translation of DNA sequences to make cozy winter sentences from anticodon cards! Since the “proteins” are made from words, it’s also a perfect transition into a discussion of mutations because a tiny change in the DNA sequence can completely change the sentence.

Codon Coloring Pages- These Holiday Codon Coloring Pages are a NO-PREP activity and perfect for a sub day, homework assignment, or for early finishers. Students transcribe DNA triplets in each space on the coloring pages into mRNA codons, then use the included codon chart to determine the correct color for each space. Students can even use their finished coloring pages to decorate your classroom with holiday cheer!

Protein Synthesis Activities

Vocabulary Puzzle- This Protein Synthesis Tarsia Puzzle from Becca over at Science Lessons That Rock helps students review important vocabulary related to protein synthesis. Students match sides of the puzzle to put vocabulary and definitions together. This activity comes with a print and digital option!

Protein Synthesis Doodle Notes- If you’re not ready for an in-depth activity, these DNA & Biotechnology Doodle Notes provide a quick and simple review of the processes of transcription and translation. Two additional pages on gene regulation and biotechnology provide a way to extend students’ thinking past the basics of protein synthesis. Doodle notes are a fun note-taking method that help students synthesize their knowledge in a visually appealing way. If you’ve never used them before, be sure to take a look at my post on using Science Doodle Notes in Your High School Classroom.

Comprehensive Video- Because protein synthesis is a process with many moving pieces, I always like to include a video to illustrate how transcription and translation work together. This quick video is the best one I’ve found to simply relay the pertinent information without overwhelming students: From DNA to Protein. Beautiful, accurate images bring the content to life in less than three minutes! 

Bioman Game- If your students have individual devices, another great review tool is this FREE Protein Synthesis Race game by Bioman where students play a game to build proteins. Explanations of transcription and translation processes are paired with colorful animations to maintain interest. There are even built-in quiz questions for review along the way. 

Learn.Genetics Interactive- Another great online interactive is found at the well-known website Learn.Genetics. This basic and clear interactive lets your students walk through the process of transcription and translation. Students are shown short videos and then asked to apply knowledge as they complete interactive steps. If you’re looking to continue the explanation of protein synthesis to include topics such as epigenetics, cloning, and cell differentiation, you can’t go wrong with this fantastic site.

Many winter activities are all fluff with not enough content. I love using activities during the busy winter months that hit essential standards while sparking student interest! Hopefully one of these protein synthesis activities will be a good fit for your Biology curriculum so you can save valuable planning time and your students will have this concept down in no time!

Looking for a full unit on DNA & Protein Synthesis to introduce these concepts? This three-week unit includes the Winter Protein Synthesis Activity listed here as well as colorful presentations, guided notes, activities, and assessments!

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