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SEPGuides: Science Education Partnership: Pizza Amino Acid Starter Kit

SEPGuides is the go-to place for all SEP kit protocols and activities, as well as the posting area for announcements and program updates. If something is missing or you have an idea to contribute, please e-mail us at

Background on Kit Development

Kit Description

1 Kit

1 Crate per Kit

This amino acid starter kit allows your students to explore how the unique chemical properties of the 20 amino acids help determine protein folding and shape. Mini-toobers, colored coded amino acids, and a magnetic “chemical properties” circle (pizza) help engage students in a hands-on folding activity and visually aid their understanding of protein structure. Additional worksheets are provided for teachers to help explain electrons and bonds, amino acid structure, and protein folding.

Additional Web Resources

Journal Articles

Useful Links

In The News

{A place for articles, news clips, etc covering topics related to each specific kit}

Pizza Kit Frequently Asked Questions

  • These pieces are edible, right?

Only to large dogs and certain squirrels. Consult your physician if you or a student has eaten a piece of this pizza.

Pizza Kit Notebook Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Tab Document
Kit Inventory
Complete List of Equipment and Materials Included
Pizza Kit Inventory List
Kit Contents * Amino Acid Starter Kit CD (containing all handouts)
* 8 Mini-toobers
* 8 magnetic "Pizzas"
* Amino acids (20), clips, and hydrogen bond parts
Illustrations Different Bonds
A brief tutorial on covalent bonds, hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds, and Van der Waals interactions.
Fun with Electrons
A brief tutorial on the behavior of electrons in small organic molecules.
What is an Amino Acid?
Looking at the different components of an amino acid, and how peptide bonds are formed.
Protein structure - Primary
Protein structure - Secondary
Protein structure - Tertiary
Protein structure - Quaternary
Amino Acids R Us
A poster of the 20 different amino acids.
Amino Acid Chart
A chart separating the 20 amino acids into hydrophobic and hydrophilic.