In this science project we will make a model of a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule. DNA
molecules give instructions, provide a road map, and lay out rules for the development and
functioning of all living cells in organisms. Molecules of DNA have two strands of nucleic acids
held together by base pairs. This structure is called a double helix. We will use candy in the form of
licorice, marshmallows, and gumdrops to build a model.
When complete it will resemble a cool
twisted colored staircase!

Materials For Deoxyribonucleic Acid Double Helix Candy Model :

  • Regular Wood Toothpicks
  • Bag of Multicolored Gum Drops (4 Colors)
  • Box of Long Red Licorice
  • Bag Small White Marshmallows
  • Small Piece of Wood
  • Long Wood BBQ Skewers
  • Drill with Small Bit (Diameter of BBQ Skewers)
  • Glue

Process for Deoxyribonucleic Acid Double Helix Candy Model:

1) Get a toothpick and skewer two different colored gum drops on it with a white marshmallow in
the middle.

2) Leave some extra room on each side of the toothpick because it needs to go through the licorice.

3) Repeat process until you have made enough to go down the entire length of the licorice. Use
only four colors of gumdrops which represent the different nucleotide bases.

4) Skewer the toothpicks onto the licorice on both sides.

5) Give it a twist to make sure your rocking it hard (and its not gonna fall apart on you)! Nice you just
made a candy model of a DNA double helix strand.

6) Get a small piece of flat wood, a long wood BBQ skewer, drill and small bit.

7) Drill a small hole in the center of your board.

8) Insert the flat end of the BBQ skewer into the hole so the sharp pointed end is on top.

9) Squirt a little glue onto the base of the board around the hole with the BBQ skewer. This will
keep it in place once dried.

10) Pick up your double helix model and give it a twist again. Use the BBQ skewer to hold the twist
in place (see picture top right).
Cut off the pointed top to prevent future injuries!

The Science Behind Deoxyribonucleic Acid Double Helix Candy Model

In the double helix model we built, the four different colored gumdrops represent the nucleotide
(base pairs). These are (A) adenine, (C) cytosine, (G) guanine and (T) thymin. The red
licorice represents sugar and phosphate molecules which form the long strands. The toothpicks
and marshmallows represent hydrogen bonds that hold the base pairs together.

About DNA

DNA is contained in all living things. It gives all the cells in the body detailed instructions on what to
do. DNA that determines the how people and animals look and the differences between them.
Each organism has different genetics and that is due to DNA.

People are made of trillions of tiny cells and genes that are too small to see. There
are over two billion cells just in the human hand. If all of the cells inside your hand were as la
rge as a grain of sand, then my hand would be the size of a school bus!

There are over 200 different kinds of cells in the human body. Each type of cell has a different job
from all the rest. Some of the jobs include; helping us see, feel, smell, hear, and think. But there
are many other jobs the cells have as well. DNA contains all the information required to build the
body of all living organisms. It determines eye color, hair color, height, shape and even the size of
your ears.

The different cells know exactly what to do because they are given a set of instructions. All cells are
given a map for what its job will be from a super cool molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid
(DNA).  The instructions are written in an alphabet using only four letters (GACT). DNA has an
awesome shape that looks like a curved ladder. This shape is called a double helix. The alphabet
letters giving the instructions in DNA make up the steps of the ladder and are called bases. There
are millions of different combinations of the DNA alphabet because DNA sentences can be very

Nucleic Acid:   
        Allows the transfer of genetic information from one generation to the next.
Molecule:                 Two or more atoms that stick together.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA):  Nucleic acid that carries genetic information and instructions to        
the cells.
Cells:                       The basic structure of all living organisms. The building blocks of life.
Chromosome / Genes:        Each human cell has over 25,000 genes that carry information to
determine the organism’s traits like eye and hair color.
Ploidy:                      How many sets of chromosomes a cell has.        
Double Helix:         The shape of DNA
Bases:                    The alphabetic code in DNA that provides the instructions to cells.
Protein Chain:       Hold together nucleic acids.
Cell Wall:                Controls what can go in or out of the inside of a cell.
Nuclear Membrane:  Surround the nucleus or part of the cell holding the DNA.
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