How to Teach Biochemistry in High School

Biochemistry is such a fun topic to teach. However, many Biology students seem terrified of it. The moment you pop “chemistry” into a name, the perception of difficulty increases.

So how can you get students to become engaged with the content and appreciate the wonders of biochemistry? Here are some of my favorite ideas.

1. Edible biochemistry

Who said biochemistry can’t be delicious? Turn your classroom into a mini kitchen laboratory and cook up some edible molecules! Use colorful candies like gummy bears, licorice, and marshmallows to represent different atoms. Show how they bond to create carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. It’s like making molecular candy art – and at the end, students can indulge in a tasty treat while grasping the concepts!

If you prefer not to bring the sugar out, try this great modelling activity from Science with Mrs Lau. All you need is some beads, pipe cleaners and paper clips.

2. All the Lego

Grab a bunch of LEGO bricks and turn them into molecules! Assign different colors to represent atoms, and let your students construct amino acids, nucleotides, and more. As they build these molecular structures, they’ll appreciate the intricacies of biochemical interactions. Plus, who doesn’t love playing with LEGO bricks, no matter their age?

3. Get Practical

Teaching biochemistry provides so many opportunities for lab work. The biochemical tests for reducing and non-reducing sugars, starch, proteins and lipids are easy to perform and students love it. To be honest, clean up is a pain, but luckily I have a dishwasher in my lab that I am forever grateful for! Here is a free lab for the biochemical tests for you to use.

I also use this unit to introduce dilutions to my students. You can read more about how I teach students how to prepare dilutions in this blog post.

I hope that you have found some inspiration on how to teach biochemistry to your high school students.

Happy teaching!

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