Macromolecules Foldable

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Students will be able to creatively apply their learning about macromolecules concepts by making a foldable.

Big Idea

A simple foldable can be a useful study guide.


5 minutes

Note to teacher: In the previous lesson, we identified the 6 elements that form the basis for all macromolecules (C,H,O,N,P,S), and used the phrase "Christian Has One New Purple Sweater" as a mnemonic to help students remember this list. (Christian happens to be our AdVENTURE president, but it could be easily changed to anything/or anyone that makes the phrase relevant to the students in your class). The use of mnemonics in the science classroom is a practice that aids in information retention because they translate information into a form that the brain can retain better. I teach the students that any time that they need to remember facts that can be put in lists or categories, they can create their own mnemonic to help them remember. 

On the board I write the question:

"What does CHONPS stand for?" Write down what it means and create your own mnemonic for CHONPS.

Once they are settled and writing, I tell them that I will be giving out a patriot buck (schoolwide reward system) to any CHONPS sentence that makes me smile. I present this as a challenge to ensure that everyone is an active participant.


40 minutes

I explain to students they will be creating a macromolecule foldable, using their notes from the day before. The purpose of the foldable is to organize what they learned so that it will be easier to remember and to reinforce the vocabulary. Creating the foldable is also a mini-engineering design challenge (MS-ETS1-1 - Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.)

 Requirements and Constraints for their work:

  • Folded paper.  (4 points)
  • Four panels: You may cut the paper to create the different panels. (4 points)
  • Each front panel should be labeled with one of the four organic groups. (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids). (4 points)
  • The front panels must be decorated with at least 1 hand-drawn color picture that represents each organic group. (2 point each)
  • Include the following information inside each panel. (5 points each panel - total 20 points)
    1. List the elements in each group: C, H, O, N, P
    2. Identify the monomer
    3. List the functions of each group.
    4. List at least 4 examples of other foods (not drawn on the front) or body structures belonging to each group.


  • No more than one piece of paper may be used.
  • It has to be finished by the end of class today.
  • Legibility, creativity and neatness count!

Although this is a very quick activity, I present it as an engineering design challenge to reinforce the idea that every time they are faced with having to create something they are actually solving a problem and applying the engineering practices. I do show a couple of examples, and we discuss ideas on how to make a foldable before they begin.


As they are working, I circulate the room offering other ideas and listening in on conversations that help me identify struggling students. 

This is how the students responded to the challenge (MS-ETS1-1), and a sample of 4 different configurations of student work:



5 minutes

The students turn in their foldables today. They are also asked to write down and turn in a half sheet responding to the question, "How did making the foldable help (or hinder) your understanding of macromolecules."

When I review the half-sheets, I am looking specifically for the ones that claim that the foldable did not help so I can adjust my instruction.