Monday, January 12, 2015

DNA structure/ Making DNA bead necklaces

We absolutely loved making these DNA models with seed beads. In fact we liked it so much that I ended up going back to the store and getting more bead colors so we could all make a bunch more of them on subsequent days. They were just fun to make! And easy enough that, once we got the hang of it, even 5-year-old Daisy was able to do it on her own. (Although, admittedly, Daisy always has been unusually good at—and had a lot of patience for—fine motor activities.) The instructions we used are here. I found I only needed to go through about three rows with the children before they could do it totally independently.
The nice thing about these models is that they are quite accurate, though simple, and they really get across the idea of the matching base pairs. And, if you accidentally pair the wrong bases—just call it a mutation! :) Sebby made quite a few mutations on purpose in his keychains, each causing a different trait ("This one made me have red eyes! This one means I have six fingers!" etc.).

Here is a great overview video that talks about the structure of DNA.

We made both keychains and necklaces out of our bead-DNA. I think the necklaces are so beautiful! The double-helix shape can be flattened if you aren't careful, but it's easily re-twisted if necessary.

To make these, you just need two colors of seed beads in size 6/0. These will make up the sugar/phosphate "backbone" of the DNA's double helix.

And you need two colors of longer bugle beads in size #3. We used the twisted bugles because they are sparkly and pretty. :) These will be your C,T, G, A bases, so before you start, decide which colors will always pair with each other:

 Then you just need some 32-gauge wire:
Then follow the step-by-step instructions here.

Happy makers. As I said, we couldn't get enough of this. It's very relaxing to sit around stringing beads and talking.
Malachi made keychains and necklaces for all his friends in his church class. So cute.
Daisy's pretty necklace
This was my favorite set of colors. I kept one of these to wear myself! I love it.

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