Teaching about the forms and structures of the nutrients in the foods we eat can be a bit tough without visual representations. This hands-on experiment involves building your own to help make things a little clearer for your kids. Here’s how it works:
What you need:
- Pipe cleaners
- Basic beads
- Alphabet beads
What to do:
- To build carbohydrates it’s super simple. Have your kids take a pipe cleaner and fill it with basic beads. Twist the ends to keep the beads on.
- Since carbohydrates are just strings of glucose, these will look fairly basic. Still, they’ll get the point across.
- Building proteins is a bit more fun and complicated. Each of the beads will represent an amino acid. These are the building blocks of proteins.
- Have your child take another pipe cleaner, and this time fill it with a combination of regular beads and alphabet beads. They can even use the alphabet beads to spell out different words.
- Some amino acids are more important than others to help the protein function; these are represented by the alphabet beads. The idea being that just as they are essential to the building of the word, they are essential to the function of the protein.