DNA With Halloween Candy

© Daniel Gilbey

© Daniel Gilbey

Have a ton of Halloween candy leftover and don’t know what to do with it? Put it to use in this awesome visual demonstration of the parts of DNA. All you need are some toothpicks, a little imagination, and, of course, the candy to get started.

  • First note, this project works best with soft candies as it is easier to get them on the toothpicks. A picture of the DNA sequence with labeled parts is also super helpful for your child to reference while they build their DNA structure.
  • Have your child first craft the sides of the DNA “ladder.”This will serve as the backbone of the structure and hold everything together. Then they can craft the chemical bases or “rungs”of the ladder. Have them place two different kinds of candy on each rung to represent the opposite chemical bases, adenine (A) with thymine (T) and cytosine (C) with guanine (G).
  • When the ladder is complete your child can create labels using the toothpicks and some tape or paper. Have them label each part of the DNA as well as the different chemical bases.
  • Go over the properties of DNA using the structure as a visual aid. Explain or ask your child to explain why DNA is structured this way. Other great topics include: why can’t two of the same chemical base be connected and why can A only be paired with T and C with G. Again your child can either present this information to you or you can teach it as they build.

How are you using leftover Halloween candy? Let us know in the comments! Check out Biology on SDAccelerate and sign up for our free six months promo here.