Team Game: Running Dictation


You need: Worksheet (enough copies for teams of three).

Preparation:
- Print sheet (A3), Set A. Cut into three sections (DNA, mRNA and ribosome).
- Print sheet (A3), Set B. Cut into three sections (DNA, mRNA and ribosome).

Directions:
- Complete Core overview of protein synthesis first.
- Introduce the idea of sense and antisense strands.

Use Set A first.
- Teams of three, placed at intervals along a sports court
- Person 1 is DNA, and needs to complete the antisense (complementary)
- When they are done, they shout 'transcribe' and the RNA polymerase (person 2) comes running.
- RNA polymerase transcribes the mRNA on their sheet.
- Run to person 3 (ribosome), who then translates the codons into a polypeptide.
- First team to correctly synthesise the protein wins.

Note: You may (or may not) remind the ribosome to look for the start codon.

After one round, feedback on the process, check answers and run again with set B.
What do students notice about the coding strand compared to the mRNA?
What about the degenerate nature of the genetic code?
Where mistakes are made, it leads to discussion of deletion and base-substitution mutations.

Modifications:
- Build an obstacle course or tunnel for mRNA to crawl through, to simulate passing through the nuclear pores
- Students are not allowed to read - they must dictate to each other (leads to more coding errors).

More resources: Transcription and Translation