Building DNA with Candy

My 5th grader (who is a super crafty girl) is studying DNA in science. She simply had to build a model. We proceeded to take a trip to the dollar store for some cheap, colorful candy.

It’s important to understand the parts of the structure prior to putting it together.

Here is a helpful video that describes it well.

Start with deciding what you will use for the nitrogenous bases. Landry decided to use blue gummy bears for Adenine, red for Thymine, green for Guanine, and white for Cytosine.

Now we will use red licorice for the sugar backbone and cut up gummy sharks for the hydrogen bonds between the nitrogenous bases and phosphates along the backbone.

Now, using toothpicks, we will make nitrogenous base pairs, remembering that A only pairs with T and G only pairs with C. They can pair in either direction and in any sequence along the strand.

Now simply put your pieces together to form the “ladder”. Add the phosphates to the outside.

Here it is all constructed:

Now for the twist:

Be sure to do this project after all attention demanding subjects, as the sugar and food dye ingestion will render your students inattentive after this. 😁

If you’d like to make one without candy, or one that will last a while,  you can use pipe cleaners and colored beads.

Have fun!!

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