Use the Molecules of Life Placemat and the accompanying models to explore the following concepts:

  • Each of the structures featured is essential to sustain life.
  • Large complex biomolecules are composed of smaller building block units.
  • The biomolecules featured on the placemat and accompanying models are magnified 20 million times.
  • The size of atoms remains constant in all molecules. For example, oxygen (shown in red) remains the same size whether it is in a nucleotide, amino acid, starch, phospholipid or water.

Each polymer model has 1 monomer highlighted in green to help your students see the repeating pattern. For example, the DNA model has 1 nucleotide colored green and cellulose model has 1 glucose molecule colored green.

The 3-D molecular models sit on a 24” x 19” laminated placemat that includes a description of each 3-D structure. The entire set includes 17 spacefill models: 1 DNA, 2 adenosine monophosphate, 1 aquaporin, 2 asparagines, 1 cell membrane, 2 phospholipids, 1 starch, 1 glycogen, 1 cellulose, 2 glucose, 1 ice structure and 2 water molecules. All models are built to the same scale — 20 million times their real size.

Models are made of plaster by rapid prototyping and should be handled with care. Models will break if dropped, held tightly or handled roughly.