DNA is simply a storage form of information, like a recipe book. In order to make useful proteins from this recipe, we must first transcribe the selected recipe from the DNA into messenger RNA (m-RNA) which then leaves the nucleus & goes to the ribosomes where it is “read” to link amino acids (building blocks of proteins). The code is “read” three bases at a time called a codon. The triplet code allows for a total of 4x4x4 or 64 different codons (groups of three RNA bases) –far more than needed to code for 20 amino acids. It was discovered that each amino acid is coded for by more than one codon. Codon Bingo is a simple exercise to learn how to use a codon table to translate mRNA into its associated amino acids.
Materials: Bingo cards, pencil, codon table, beans or pennies
1. Pass out blank bingo cards.
2. Students should fill out each of the blanks with an amino acid from the codon chart.
3. Teacher will call out 3 bases (A, T, G, C)
4. Students find the amino acid that is associated with the codon and mark the square (use bingo chips, pennies, beans, or other miscellaneous items)