Breakfast Proteins

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In this activity, learners construct a cereal chain as a model of how proteins are made in the cell. Learners build their chain off of an initial template which represents a single copy of DNA and hand-written notes, replicating the process of transcription and translation. In this model, the letters of the chain correspond to the colors of the cereal (not the amino acids).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Fruit flavored, donut-shaped cereal (ie. Froot Loops, Fruity Cheerios)
  • String or chenille stem
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
      • Cell Division
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Yu, Julie


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2009

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610238
  • National Science Foundation, 0925383