This activity allows students to simulate a variety of mutations using something they are already familiar with - sentences. Students will begin by building a short sentence (using only 3-letter words to represent codons) out of scrabble tiles. Next, they perform the specified mutation by manipulating the tiles. Finally, they must create their own sentences and apply mutations.
It is a terrific activity to help students understand how a single change can affect a whole sequence or reading frame.
In my classroom, this has been used effectively as an introduction to the mutations before students move on to work with the DNA strands and amino acids.
Terms used in this activity include: nonsense mutation, missense mutation, frameshift addition, frameshift deletion, and silent mutation.
☑ Student Activity Worksheet
☑ Teacher Answer Key with Instructions
☑ Alignment to Next Generation Standards
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