In this activity, students must correctly pair nucleotides together based on biochemical structure and bonding patterns. Students are required to form a two-stranded DNA molecule composed of 8 nucleotides.
Students begin by doing pre-class readings and watching videos through Moodle related to nucleic acids, and also perform a quiz to test what they have learned.
In class, the instructor reviews nucleic acids and answers any student questions related to the material. During this time, students perform a clicker-like quiz on Moodle to test that they have understood the key concepts. The recommended time for reviewing the material and doing the quiz is 35 minutes.
The rest of the class time is devoted to the activity. Students get into their pre-assigned groups of 4. Using the nucleic acid activity PowerPoint, groups must orient and correctly pair nucleotides together to form an accurate, double-stranded DNA chain.
While groups are working on this pairing activity, they also answer questions through Moodle that encourage them to think more deeply about why nucleotides pair the way they do (e.g., chemical bonding, nucleotide structure, etc.).
There are extra activities for groups that finish early. Alternatively, these extra activities can be accessed by students outside of class (through Moodle) as additional practice post-class.
Finally, the instructor wraps up the class with a review of the activity, what students should have learned from it, and how the activity illustrates key concepts that students will require later on in the course.
Students should gain a deeper understanding of nucleotides, both how and why they bond in particular patterns by using their knowledge of base pairing rules and the antiparallel directionality of DNA. Students should have a better understanding of the different nucleotide subunits (nitrogenous bases, phosphate groups, deoxyribose sugars), their function, and their structure.
Copyright: © 2023 Laroche. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication on this website is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.