We’re learning anatomy and biology for science this year, Since my boys are hands-on learners, we decided to have some fun and make edible cells and DNA.
These projects involve lots of ingredients, so we asked some friends over to create “mad science” with us. We used jello, candy, and marshmallows for these projects. I made the jello “cytoplasm” in advance in individual plastic containers. That way, each kid could have his own, and they could be easily sealed and stored in the refrigerator.
Tips for learning more about cells and DNA:
- We made cards naming each part of the cell and each base of DNA to use as guides when building the models. This especially helped the younger kids label their diagrams.
- Because of the number of ingredients, I divided everything up in separate bowls and gave each kid his own plate to work on.
- The jello tends to split apart when the larger candies are added. In hindsight, I wouldn’t let the jello set quite so much at first so it would be easier to work with. Extra gelatin is added to make it firmer, and it sets almost like a gummy candy.
- The jello project was fairly expensive due to the number of different ingredients required. If we did it again, I would make the cells smaller in clear plastic disposable cups, and I’d substitute with smaller candies like cake sprinkles, jelly beans, and even raisins. The DNA project only required one bag of Twizzlers and one bag of colored mini marshmallows, in addition to a pack of toothpicks. Even with four kids doing this project, we had lots of leftovers.
- Though the finished product is edible, most of the candy that got eaten was during assembly!