About the DNA, Protein, and tRNA Sets (Middle School to University Level)
Unlike most teaching aids, the MIT models are designed to teach what molecules do, not just what molecules look like. Because they were invented to be manipulated, educators can use the models to teach cell processes in addition to molecular structure. Diverse populations such as middle schoolers, English language learners, university students, and health professionals have found the learning experience both engaging and memorable. For more information about our work with health professionals, read our recent paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
High school and university instructors usually teach DNA first and then teach protein synthesis. This sequence mimics the central dogma of molecular biology (DNA-> RNA-> Protein) but makes the content more difficult to learn. However, if you teach proteins before DNA, students will be able to focus on the process of synthesizing a protein from a gene during protein synthesis. Read more about our reasons for teaching proteins first in our Essentials for Teaching.
Lesson Production Team
Kathleen M. Vandiver, PhD
Models and lessons
Amanda G. Mayer, PhD
Lessons and graphics