Biological Molecules

Biological molecules is often the first biological topic taught at level 3/KS5 and one where a lack of knowledge and understanding will undermine future understanding. It is essential that students can recognise and explain how the structure of biological molecules is then related to properties and to the functions these molecules perform.

Students can often find this topic quite overwhelming at first. There is a great deal of new vocabulary to learn with a need for precise and accurate recall of molecular structures. Regular review of the basic facts and fundamental points is essential to help build the confidence of students, as is an appreciation of the ‘big picture’ and how these molecules relate to each other in terms of both their similarities and differences. Approaching and revisiting the concepts in different ways (particularly avoiding just learning structural formulae by rote) can help students to view things in less abstract terms. Modelling activities such as the use of molecular model kits (or through the use of cheap alternatives such as plasticine, sweets and straws) are particularly good for this purpose.

Note that this topic relates to other resource listings, particularly DNA and enzymes. It is recommended that these resource listings are viewed alongside this one when planning out schemes of learning.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or other recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.