An Interesting Perspective: STE(A)M Power

Howdy bloggers,

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.

Image result for stem

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.

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.

Image result for dna jewelry beads


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.

Image result for dna sequence decoding


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.


  1. Billy,

    I really liked your blog this week! Your addition of how STEAM is important in the classroom was a great. The DNA jewelry was a good way to incorporate art into your lesson. Plus, who doesn’t want to make themselves jewelry. Overall, I think your did a great job of having STEAM in your lesson. This will help students engage in their learning. Great job.


  2. Billy,
    I love the activity! The creation of the DNA jewelry is a really good way to introduce the concepts of DNA! The students will be able to see the basic structure of DNA, then in the elaborate they can see the DNA in action! Decoding a message is a good way to get the students engaged wanting to discover the process of transcription and translation. The creativity infused in the activities is so well done! Students get so much out of being able to show creativity and creating things in the classroom. Excellent post!

  3. Naomi,
    I absolutely agree that students will surprise you with their creativity. It also allows them to showcase their problem solving skills in a real-world application. Often times in school, we discuss the theories and are given hypothetical questions to answer, rather than hands-on, interactive problems. Incorporating some of these into your classroom can be very powerful and be of great support to your students.

  4. Billy-
    I loved your intro to STE(A)M activities, especially the one tweet where students built a bridge that sustained 25 textbooks! I think activities like these are so important because a lot of time, students surprise us by their creativity and abilities. This is what is so cool about STEM based activities–they aren’t teacher bound, so students can go well beyond what is “expected” of them in the classroom, which allows for truly great, in the margins teaching! Great post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.