Tasty Models (From Scientific Frontiers WEB Site)


Carbohydrates are a group of nutrients that include sugars and starches. The most familiar carbohydrate building block is probably glucose. Glucose is the basic "fuel" of living things. During the process of cellular respiration, glucose breaks down and releases the energy needed to maintain life processes.


● Gum drops (variety of colors)

● Toothpicks

Glucose Model

1. Examine the supply of gumdrops that you will be using to assemble your molecular models. Now, consider the formula of glucose, C6H12O6. Based on this formula, how should you assign specific colors to the component atoms? (The most common color should be assigned to hydrogen, since hydrogen atoms are the most numerous.)

2. To build the ring version of glucose, let's construct a closed ring formed by five carbon atoms and one oxygen atom.



3. Now, let's add the sixth carbon atom. It is attached to the ring carbon that is immediately to the left of the oxygen atom.

4. The remaining five oxygen atoms are part of hydroxyl (OH) groups. They are added as shown here  

5. Complete the model by adding the remaining seven hydrogen atoms so that each carbon atom forms four bonds.


1.  What does the 12 refer to in the chemical formula C6H12O6?

2.  How many total atoms are in one molecule of glucose?

3.  What atoms make up an Hydroxl group?

4.  What type of Biochemical is Glucose?



Proteins are large molecules that are found in every living cell. Like carbohydrates, they compose a critical part of our diet. They are also the profiled nutrient in the Atkins diet. The basic building block of a protein molecule is an amino acid. All amino acids share a common feature. They contain both an amine (NH2) group and a carboxyl (COOH) group

Glycine Model

1. Glycine is the simplest amino acid. Like all amino acids it has an amine, (NH2) group. Use gumdrops to construct this functional group.

2. Like all amino acids, glycine also has a carboxyl (COOH) group. In this group, one of the oxygen atoms forms a double bond with the carbon atom. Use gumdrops to construct this functional group. Remember to retain consistency in your assignment of gumdrop colors.

3. The amine and acid group are both attached to a central carbon atom. The remaining two bonds of this backbone carbon are saturated with hydrogen. Your finished glycine model should resemble this image.


1. What are amino acids?

2. What are common features to all amino acids?

3. Compare and contrast the composition of an amino acid to a sugar.

4. What is a carboxyl group?




Copyright 2005 -  S. B. EglI