Protein Rescue–Help Is on the Way!

A customer just purchased the Protein Package (consists of the Protein Synthesis Kit, the Macromolecules Kit, and the Enzymes Kit), and it got me thinking about why those kits, in combination, are so helpful for teaching about protein.

Speak Easies’ Protein Package:

  • Accesses “caveman learning”!
  • Overcomes lack of prior knowledge!
  • Shows why protein matters!

 

First:  we’re talking about “caveman learning” here– the most fundamental way of learning, using our hands and movement to explore and find out.  Watch a baby learn–it’s all about hands!  So Speak Easies kits are totally hands-on.  Students hold the pieces and assemble them into structures or move them to enact processes, helping them to understand, and muscle memory helps them remember the concepts involved.  This is especially valuable with the Protein Synthesis Kit, which allows students to enact the translation process.

Protein Synthesis Kit Being Used to Demonstrate Translation

Second:  for such concepts as macromolecules, monomers and polymers, students probably have no prior knowledge at all, so there’s nothing there to hook the concepts to.  That’s where brightly-colored simple shapes and the act of assembling them can help to engage the students and stick those ideas in their minds.  And seeing the simple shape and color of the amino acid monomers in the Macromolecules Kit repeated again in the Protein Synthesis Kit will help students comprehend and remember.

Amino Acid Symbols from Macromolecules Kit

Third:  understanding the basic structure of protein and how it’s assembled is just the beginning.  Students need to understand why protein is so important, and this is where the Enzymes Kit plays a role.  Of course many structures in an organism are made of protein, but all the chemical reactions inside a cell or organism are facilitated by protein in the form of enzymes, and without those enzymes reactions slow down enormously!  The Enzymes Kit helps students see how enzymes function, and the included background information lists some diseases and conditions that result from the absence of certain enzymes.

Images showing an enzyme, substrate, and products
An Enzyme at Work

And finally, using all three kits together reminds students that structure and function are bound together and they see that mistakes in structure can lead to problems with function.  Put the kits on your markerboard, challenge your students with provocative questions, and let them figure it out–the kits provide the clues to help them.

Purchase the Protein Package, consisting of these three kits:  Macromolecules, Protein Synthesis, and Enzymes, to give your students a highly effective learning experience about protein!  And to help cement that knowledge in place, we have Protein Synthesis Desk Kits for students to use working with a partner (discounts available for purchasing a class set).

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