Proteins are challenging molecules for students to understand, consisting of multiple components interacting in a variety of ways. As instructors, we have observed this information is hard for students to process, both when learning about proteins initially in introductory classes, and when learning about specific details in upper-level courses. This pipe cleaner activity is designed for use in any science class that teaches protein folding, from upper-level high school through upper-level college courses. Pipe cleaners are a simple, familiar, and cost-effective manipulative model that can be used in multiple class types.

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