Protein Synthesis Game


>>> By Kayla Mazzolin.

This game is great to use as a review tool for students enrolled in SBI 4U. It applies to the Protein Synthesis chapter of the Molecular Genetics unit and addresses expectations D2.1, D2.4, D3.2 and D3.3.

Curriculum Connection: Grade 12 University Biology, SBI 4U

How to Play the Protein Synthesis Board Game

Game Pieces
Teachers have the option of using Lego, plasticine, or other buildable materials for their game pieces. The idea is that students are building proteins, so it’s ideal to use a material that can be added to.

Cut out the question cards shown on the following pages. Once they are cut, write the difficulty level on the back of each card. The difficulty level is indicated at the bottom of each page. Teachers with larger classes can make more question cards.

Some activities involve drawing. Teachers may decide to supply students with a sketchpad and a pencil as part of the game board.

Game Play
This game is played in partners of two. There must be a minimum of two teams playing (four players) up to a maximum of four teams playing (eight players).

Players start in the nucleolus with one building block and add pieces to their “mRNA” transcript per each space they pass over. On each turn, a team has a chance to complete an activity on one card and advance along the board. If the team successfully completes the card they have chosen, they can advance the number of spaces that the card is worth (cards from page 1 are worth 3; cards from page 2 are worth 2; cards from page 3 are worth 1). Whether the activity is completed successfully or not, the turn always ends after one card. If there are special instructions on the board, follow those instructions.

When the team reaches the lysosymes, they must complete one card from each difficulty level (each correct answer moves only one space at this stage). The first team to “make a completed protein” wins!

Click here for printer-ready game pieces

Please rate this post.  

Do your students have a favourite game?  Tell us how you use it using the comment button! 


Kayla Mazzolin was a pre-service teacher at York University in the IS Division when she wrote this article. Kayla was a recipient of the 2012 Don Galbraith Pre-Service Teacher Award of Excellence with this submission. She spent the following year teaching science in England.