Skip to main content

High School    |    Daily Do

What exactly are proteins and how are the proteins we make different from those we eat? (Playlist Version)

What exactly are proteins and how are the proteins we make different from those we eat? (Playlist Version)

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 proteins to answer the following question: What exactly are proteins, and how are the proteins we make different from those we eat? Students figure out that when we eat proteins, we break them into many different amino acids, and when our body makes proteins, our cells are combining many different amino acids using the information on our genes/DNA.

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


Student Materials

Per Student

Per Small Group (2 to 4 students)

Teacher Materials

Optional Teacher Resources

Protein and Muscles Model Tracker

Proteins and Muscles Playlist

Storylines and Phenomena

This lesson is the second 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. 

Asset 2