What are common mistakes students make with nucleotides?
Students often struggle putting together the process of protein synthesis.
Students often struggle putting together the process of protein synthesis. They try to memorize parts but don't understand the interaction between the components.
One way to help with this is to have students act out the process. I've had each student represent a part of a molecule (like a nucleotide in mRNA, a tRNA, etc.) and then they have to move around and show me the processes of transcription and translation. This helps them understand how everything works together and forces them to creatively come up with ways to show it. Eventually I would have a line of "amino acids" all holding hands!
You can do a similar thing with plastic models as well.
The base pairing between DNA and mRNA, and then the pairing between mRNA and tRNA (the latter of which has the anticodons) is also tricky for students. Give them plenty of practice going from DNA bases to mRNA and then to tRNA (obviously also using the amino acid chart to determine the protein's components).
Here's an excellent video that helps students visualize these processes:
Transcription and Translation