MSOE Lending Library - Amino Acid Starter Kit© (AK)

Teaching Points View as PDF document

Students explore the shape and chemical properties of the 20 amino acid sidechains with engaging plastic models. The sidechains feature dual coloring schemes – color on the plastic clip indicates chemical properties, while the individual atoms of the sidechains are colored by atom type. Since understanding protein structure begins with this unique combination of shape and chemical properties of the amino acid sidechains, students will gain a basic knowledge of the laws that determine protein folding.

Protein folding is influenced by several factors, one of which is the chemical properties of the amino acid sidechains. Through this exercise, students will explore the chemical properties that dictate the way a protein will fold. A flexible, foam-covered wire represents the backbone of the peptide to which the plastic sidechains are attached.

All instructional materials for classroom use are available for printing. They are accessible online on the 3D Molecular Designs website.

Models in this Collection (Classroom Set)

6 Amino Acid Starter Kits©

Model Contents and Details

1 Chemical Properties Circle with rubber bumpers for each amino acid
22 plastic amino acid sidechains (1 of each amino acid, plus 1 additional cysteine and 1 additional histidine)
1 four-foot Mini-Toober
2 Mini-Toober Endcaps (1 red and 1 blue)
6 Hydrogen Bond Connectors
1 Cover Page/Contents List
1 New & Improved Contents Page
1 Laminated Amino Acid Sidechain List

Documentation Included

Teaching points and inventory
How do the models fit back in the suitcase?
AASK introduction
AASK sidechain list
AASK standard genetic code
AASK student handout 1
AASK student handout 1 key
AASK student handout 2
AASK student handout 2 key
AASK student handout 3
AASK student handout 3 key
AASK teacher notes
AASK additional activities
AASK national framework

Demonstration Models: These suitcases contain one copy of each of several models, suitable for use as lab stations or for demonstration purposes. Click on the links below for an inventory of the models included in each suitcase, along with documentation.

Acetylcholinesterase (AC)
β-Globin and GFP Collection (BG) - no longer available - incorporated into Introduction to Protein Structure Collection (IP)
DNA Collection (DN)
Introduction to Protein Structure Collection (IP)
Membrane Transport Collection (NP)
Ribosome Collection (RB)
RNA Polymerase Beta Subunit (RP) New
Serine Protease Collection (SP)
Zinc Finger Collection (ZF)

Classroom Sets: These suitcases contain multiple copies of one model or activity, suitable for use as a classroom or laboratory activity. Click on the links for detailed information on the number of models supplied in the suitcase, along with documentation included.

15 Tacks and a 4 Foot Toober Kit (TK) - no longer avaiable. Please use Amino Acid Starter Kit© (AK)
α-Helix / β-Sheet Collection (AH)
Amino Acid Starter Kit© (AK)
Bioinformatics Map of the β-globin Gene© (BI)
DNA Discovery Kit© (DK)
DNA Starter Kit© (DS) New
Insulin Bioinformatics Activity (IB)
Mini-Toober β-globin Folding Kit (BK)
Molecules of Life© (ML)
NaCl Lattices (NC)
Water Kit© Collection (WA)
Zinc Finger Folding Activity (ZA)

Special Requests: If you have seen a specific model in our Model Gallery or at a workshop, and the model is not in the Model Lending Library, feel free to contact us to inquire about the availability of the model for educational use. You may also suggest models you'd like to see in the Model Lending Library or share activities you have developed to use with the models. Please contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 regarding special requests.

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