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High School    |    Daily Do

How do cells know which amino acids go together to make certain proteins? (Playlist Version)

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How do cells know which amino acids go together to make certain proteins? (Playlist Version)

Is Lesson Plan High School

Sensemaking Checklist

Welcome to NSTA's Daily Do

Teachers and families across the country are facing a new reality of providing opportunities for students to do science through distance and home learning. The Daily Do is one of the ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families with this endeavor. Each weekday, NSTA will share a sensemaking task teachers and families can use to engage their students in authentic, relevant science learning. We encourage families to make time for family science learning (science is a social process!) and are dedicated to helping students and their families find balance between learning science and the day-to-day responsibilities they have to stay healthy and safe.

Interested in learning about other ways NSTA is supporting teachers and families? Visit the NSTA homepage.

What Is Sensemaking?

Sensemaking is actively trying to figure out how the world works (science) or how to design solutions to problems (engineering). Students do science and engineering through the science and engineering practices. Engaging in these practices necessitates that students be part of a learning community to be able to share ideas, evaluate competing ideas, give and receive critique, and reach consensus. Whether this community of learners is made up of classmates or family members, students and adults build and refine science and engineering knowledge together.

Lesson Snapshot

High school students, as scientists, investigate how new proteins are created using pieces of the proteins they ate to answer the following driving question: How do cells know which amino acids go together to make certain proteins? Students will figure out how genes are composed of a sequence of DNA that is then transcribed to RNA, which determines the sequence of amino acids that make up a protein.

Click the Download PDF button above for the complete Lesson Plan.


Student Materials

Per Student

Teacher Materials

Proteins and Muscles Playlist

Storylines and Phenomena

This lesson is the third lesson in the Proteins and Muscles playlist. Storylines start with an anchoring phenomenon that raises questions or introduces a problem. Each step in a storyline unit is then driven by students’ questions that arise from the phenomenon.

In this case, the anchoring phenomenon is professional athletes with muscular bodies who are vegan. Students investigate the diets of these athletes to answer this question: How do people build muscles if they are not eating muscle protein? This gives them a reason for investigating the formation, structure, and function of proteins. In doing so, they will make sense of Disciplinary Core Ideas related to genetics and genomics.

The protein and muscles storyline allows students to develop science ideas related to LS1.A Structure and Function and LS3.A Inheritance of Traits. 

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