Protein Structure

Contributor
The Concord Consortium
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Simulation
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This computer simulation allows students to investigate the relationship between DNA sequences and protein structures.  Additionally, this interactive activity allows students to make sense of the relationship between DNA structure and types of mutations.  This lesson is designed to be done individually and the teacher has the ability to edit and assign the activity through the ITSI portal (https://itsi.portal.concord.org)  This link takes you to the landing page for the Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry portal.  Teachers will need to register for free to access the reviewed resource.   

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the phases of meiosis or the biochemical mechanism of specific steps in the process.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this activity, students investigate the relationship between DNA sequences and protein structures. In order to ensure the core concepts of inheritance which are associated with this PE are fully mastered, this resource will need to be part of an extended learning sequence (HS-LS1-2 would be a great complement to this PE). This resource is designed to be three dimensional. However, the crosscutting concepts could be more explicit. Editing the question prompts associated with the activity to include explicit language from the identified elements in the teacher's guide would allow would prompt the explicit inclusion of crosscutting concepts.

HS-LS1-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include identification of specific cell or tissue types, whole body systems, specific protein structures and functions, or the biochemistry of protein synthesis.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
In this activity, students investigate the relationship between DNA sequences and protein structures. Students are able to manipulate components of the simulation in order to gain a deeper understanding of the associated concepts. In order to ensure that the associated core concepts of interactive systems of specialized cells are fully mastered by the student, this resource should be a part of an extended learning sequence (HS-LS3-1 would be a great complement to this PE). This resource is designed to be three dimensional. However, the crosscutting concepts could be more explicit. Editing the question prompts associated with the activity to include explicit language from the identified elements in the teacher's guide would allow would prompt the explicit inclusion of crosscutting concepts.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In this resource, students interact with the animated simulation in order to collect data related to how different DNA sequences create different types of protein structures. The interactive simulation/investigation allows the student to repeat the task several times in order to gather a range of data. Additionally, students can investigate how different types of DNA sequence changes create different types of mutations. Students are asked to respond at several different points in the activity. To further student’s mastery of planning and conducting investigations, teachers can edit the response questions to probe students on additional elements of this practice (e.g.. accuracy of data collection, discuss how the experimental design could be revised, etc). The editable nature of the activity allows teachers to personalize the experience to better align with the designed learning sequence and to customize the activity to make it more relevant to students’ homes, communities, and/or cultures.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students can use this interactive investigation to further their understanding that DNA codes for proteins and that these codes sometime change due to errors. This resource allows students to investigate that some mutations in the DNA code have different impacts on the organism. In order for students to make the necessary connections between DNA, genes, and chromosomes, this resource needs to be a part of of an extended learning sequence (HS-LS1-1 would be a great complement to this PE). The editable nature of the resource allows teachers to adapt the questions prompts to more closely align to this concept (e.g. Why does changing one letter in the DNA sequence result in mutations that have no effect or mutations that are lethal? Are mutations always bad?

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students can use this interactive investigation to further their sensemaking of that DNA codes for proteins that carry out the work of most cells. The simulation calls for students to make predictions prior to the investigation and to refer back to those in the end. Teachers may want to edit the questions prompts to include explicit language from the DCI identified in the teacher’s guide to ensure students are focused on key aspects of the concepts. In order for students to have a rigorous depth of understanding of this concept, this resource should be part of an extended learning sequence that bundles several PE together.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This resource is framed around students analyzing patterns in data to identify causal relationship between the DNA sequences and protein structures. In order to ensure students are using the crosscutting concepts as a lens for understanding, teachers should revise the student questions that accompany this resource so that the crosscutting concepts are explicitly addressed (e.g., e.g., Does the pattern in the data support the conclusion that mutations are caused by changes in the DNA sequences? Why or why not?) More examples of question stems specific to the CCC can be found at http://stemteachingtools.org/assets/landscapes/STEM-Teaching-Tool-41-Cross-Cutting-Concepts-Prompts.pdf It should be noted that the elements of the crosscutting concepts referenced in the teacher’s guide align to the 6-8 grade band. However, the associated DCI and SEP are within the high school (9-12) grade band.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This resource is framed around students analyzing patterns in data to identify causal relationship between the DNA sequences and protein structures. In order to ensure students are using the crosscutting concepts as a lens for understanding, teachers should revise the student questions that accompany this resource so that the crosscutting concepts are explicitly addressed (e.g., e.g., Does the pattern in the data support the conclusion that mutations are caused by changes in the DNA sequences? Why or why not?) More examples of question stems specific to the CCC can be found at http://stemteachingtools.org/assets/landscapes/STEM-Teaching-Tool-41-Cross-Cutting-Concepts-Prompts.pdf It should be noted that the elements of the crosscutting concepts referenced in the teacher’s guide align to the 6-8 grade band. However, the associated DCI and SEP are within the high school (9-12) grade band.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource is structured to elicit students’ learning as they make sense of the structure and function of DNA and how it relates to expressed traits. As currently written, this resource explicitly focuses on the science and engineering practices and the core ideas. However, the resource is highly adaptable and teachers can easily make the crosscutting concepts more explicit through questioning. The resource is centered around a given phenomena of Brachydactyly, or clubbed thumb. Teachers will want to ensure that the purpose and focus of the lesson is to support students in making sense of phenomena by referring to it throughout the lesson and not just the beginning and the end. Depending on the extended learning sequence chosen by the teacher, other phenomena could be used (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis, Down’s Syndrome, Traits evident in the classroom (rolling tongue, hitchhiker's thumb, PTC taste)).

  • Instructional Supports: While there is a teacher’s guide that accompanies this resource, it is very limited and focuses primarily on background information and content. Consequently, the guide does not provide a full range of instructional supports, such as opportunities for students to build on feedback, guidance for differentiation, and scaffolds to support students in engaging in practices or applying crosscutting concepts. The teacher will need to incorporate supports such as additional examples of phenomena, scaffolds for weak readers, and/or graphic organizers to help make the material accessible to all students.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The resource allows for teachers to collect student responses. The teacher's guide provides an answer guide but the associated questions are not three-dimensional. Teachers might want to adapt the resource to create opportunities for students to show direct, observable evidence of learning for all three dimensions. Having the students construct explanations or defend a claim as a part of the resource could be examples of authentic student artifacts that could be used as assessments.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The resources allows for individualization to the class and allows students to enter their own data. Additionally, it is well designed, works on a variety of devices through a web based platform and is is directly related to the learning objective.