This week’s edition of An Interesting Perspective marks the last installment of the term. In today’s post, we will discuss STE(A)M and its incorporation into the classroom.
STE(A)M activities are great ways to get students involved in the classroom. It can get them active and engaged in the learning, as well as introduce them to career options for the future. Having many different types of these activities allows students to get experiences from many different disciplines, as well as allowing them to see the relevance of the topic to those specific career options.
After reading “Pop’s Bridge”, we did a STEM activity where the students got masking tape and popsicle sticks to make their own bridge. Amazingly enough, one group made a bridge that supported 25 textbooks! #STEM @FernCreekElem_1 pic.twitter.com/nlrRWcutwv
— Kelli Williams (@MsKelliWilliams) November 21, 2017
Here is a great way in which you can incorporate STE(A)M activities into the classroom. For this activity, the ninth grade students will be learning about protein synthesis and the processes required for DNA to be turned into proteins.
To get the lesson started, the students will engage in a 3-2-1 Bridge activity. To start, each of the students will come up with 3 words, 2 questions, and 1 metaphor that comes to mind when they hear the acronym DNA. After all of the students have come up with each of these, show them a quick clip about DNA, such as the one below.
After viewing the video, have the students come up with 3 new words, 2 new questions, and 1 new metaphor. After both of the lists have been created, have the students create a “bridge” between the two of them.
For this activity, students will create DNA jewelry. They will use wiring, along with colored beads to construct the jewelry models. One color will represent each of the nucleotides, as well as sugar and phosphates. They will arrange the sugars and phosphates along two of the three wires they are given. They will then use the third wire to string together nucleotide sequences and string them through the sugars and phosphates. Upon completion, they will tie them to either ear rings or key chain loops.
Students group up into teams of four. Have one member from each team become an expert on transcription, translation, DNA nucleotides, and RNA nucleotides. After becoming experts, have each of them report back to their teams about what they discovered. This will act as a Jigsaw II activity to get the students engaged in the learning.
Since DNA codes all of life, your students will be tasked with “decoding” the message that is being relayed by the DNA. Students will be given a sequence of DNA and they will have to transcribe that DNA into mRNA codons. After this is completed, those mRNA codons must be translated into tRNA anti codons. Once these anti codons have been discovered, students will use the anti codon chart to discover which amino acid the codon is coding for. Once this amino acid is found, students will locate the symbol for that specific amino acid and record it. They will do this for the entire DNA sequence to decode the message.
As an evaluate activity, students will do a headlines activity to come up with the big idea of the process. This will show what the students have gathered from their teams of four. It also shows what aspects of the lessons stuck with the students and addresses any misunderstandings that may have occurred throughout the learning cycle.