Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero™: Chapters 5 - 7 (Classroom Starter Pack)

About the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero™: 5 - 7 (Classroom Pack)

Building off of Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Classroom Pack (Chapters 1-4), this new biotechnology kit pack includes a series of advanced kits that leverage the skills and knowledge learned in previous chapters. Students will continue towards more advanced subjects such as extracting proteins from the cells they have engineered, expressing enzymes to catalyze chemical reactions, and controlling the expression of genes using chemicals, and heat. 

The life science experiment kits included in this pack will take learners through the second part of the Genetic Engineering Hero's journey. In addition to completing the engaging hands-on activities mentioned above, students will also gain and practice further real-world lab skills such as microcentrifugation, culturing cells, inducing expression, and filter sterilization. While the hands-on activities and learnings in Chapters 5-7 delve into more advanced genetic engineering, these experiments can be used by teachers and students with no life science research experience. No prior knowledge is necessary save for having completed Chapters 1 through 4 of the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Journey.

This Classroom Pack has enough materials for four (4) lab groups to complete the exercises in Chapters 5-7 of Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero to extend students' knowledge in the exciting and promising world of biotechnology. 


What will you learn?

Chapter 5 - Extracting your engineered proteins

  • extract the proteins created by your engineer bacteria in real-life using the Extract-it kit so that they can be used in the 'real-world' (optional hands-on),
  • continue understanding how cells know how to start, do and stop reading RNA (translation),
  • discover proteins & enzymes, promoters vs. the ribosomal binding site and the other RNAs (rRNA & tRNA),
  • learn and use the RNA to protein cipher.


    Chapter 6 - Processing Chemicals with Enzymes

    • engineer cells to created small molecules and enzymes to create products like smells and color-changing molecules using the Smell-it kit and the Blue-it kit (optional hands-on),
    • learn the basics of enzymatic chemical reactions,
    • understand the Four B’s of cell function in action,
    • discover protein enzymes as catalysis in cells,
    • learn the basic structure of atoms and the four major types of bonds,
    • explorer metabolic pathways and how they are used in genetic engineering and biotechnology. 


      Chapter 7 - Manually turning on genes in situ

      • engineer cells or use pre-engineered cells and manually turn on genes using light, chemicals, and heat to understand genetic switched in real-life using the RGB kit, the Induce-it kit and the Heat-it kit (optional hands-on),
      • learn the mechanisms of gene expression,
      • revise and apply the coding and non-coding regions of genes knowledge from Ch. 4-5,
      • explore a DNA plasmid map,
      • start setting the stage for you to design your custom DNA plasmids.


        See the full learning journey map here

        What's included?

        • (1x) Extract-it Kit - Group - (Chapter 5)
        The natural next step after a student learns how to engineer cells with a plasmid and how the cell reads the DNA plasmid gene (transcription) is to learn how to extract those engineered proteins from the cells. From a Fundamental concepts standpoint, the next step is to learn the process that the cells use to read the RNA and translate proteins (translation). The hands-on exercise of extracting and then holding in their hands the proteins the students have engineered is an excellent anchor point for the Fundamentals section of Chapter 5, Translation. In the hands-on exercise, the students use every skill they have learned in Chapters 1-4, including lysing cells, streaking cells, incubating cells, and engineering cells!

        Because the advanced kits are usually completed in higher-level classes with fewer students, these come in packs of four kits. The Extract-it Kit comes with four individually packed kits that can be passed out to student groups. In addition to a DNA Playground Large, this kit requires the use of a microcentrifuge.

        •(1x) Smell-it Group Kit & Blue-it Group Kit (Chapter 6)

        Now that the students have mastered the basic concepts of cell function and lab skills of genetic engineering, Chapter 6 dives deeper into the chemistry that makes cells function. It also addresses another critical topic of genetic engineering - using enzymes to cause chemical reactions. The Smell-it Kit enables students to first engineer bacteria with a plasmid that creates an enzyme and then culture those cells with a substrate added to the LB agar plates. The students marvel as their engineered cells transform the musky smelling substrate into an overripe banana scent. The Blue-it Kit also includes the engineering of bacteria to produce an enzyme. In the Blue-it Kit, however, the students engineer the cells, extract the engineered enzyme, and complete a chemical reaction in a tube. The enzyme will convert a white powder into a vivid blue chemical.

        The Fundamentals of Chapter 6 use the hands-on exercises as anchor points and dive deeper into chemical reactions. An essential part of chemical reactions is bonding, and so a light introduction to atoms and the four types of bonds are discussed. Ultimately the students leave with an understanding of not only what proteins are but how they function.

        The group kits for the Heat-it Kit and Induce-it Kit each allow 4 teams of students to perform the experiment. These kits require that 4 Petri dishes per kit be simultaneously incubated, meaning that one DNA Playground Large can only be used by two groups of students at a time. In addition to a DNA Playground Large, the Blue-it Kit requires the use of a microcentrifuge.

        • (1x) Heat-it Group Kit and Induce-it Group Kit (Chapter 7)

        With a good understanding of transcription (Chapter 4) and translation (Chapter 5) and the basic bonding used in cells (Chapter 6), students can move onto gene regulation. These three kits use three different environmental factors to control the expression of genes.

        The Heat-it Kit includes a DNA plasmid with a gene that has a promoter that is responsive to temperature. At 30 °C the promoter is in an OFF state; however, at 37 °C and especially 42 °C, the promoter can activate the expression of a colored protein. The Fundamentals section describes how the temperature-sensitive promoter relates to the cells' basic stress response, and in a sense, “hi-jacks” that response.

        The Induce-it Kit explores the world of using chemicals to manipulate gene expression. In this instance, the students first engineer cells with a DNA plasmid containing a color-expressing gene that is sensitive to the presence of a chemical. After culturing their engineered cells, the students add the chemical to spots on the Petri dish and over a few hours, begin to see the expression of the color protein.

        The group kits for the Heat-it Kit and Induce-it Kit each allow 4 teams of students to perform the experiment.

        • Instructions: a manual for each kit, with easy-to-understand vocabulary and step-by-step procedures. Available online. See the Resources tab for links.

        Optional, choose from the add-on:

        • Microcentrifuge
        A microcentrifuge is an essential piece of equipment that is used in every life science research laboratory in the world. A microcentrifuge is a small toaster-sized device that can spin tubes (1.5 mL lab tubes) at very high speeds. This process allows you to separate different components in your tubes and is an important part of doing science. The microcentrifuge offered as an optional add-on can hold up to 12 microcentrifuge tubes at a time and spin at 15,000 RPM (~14,000 x g). It has a timer, so you set a time, start the centrifuge, and with the timer reaches zero, it will automatically stop spinning.

        If you already have a microcentrifuge, select "0" microcentrifuges in the dropdown.

        What else is needed?

        For these experiments, you will need the DNA Playground and the Amino Labs' microcentrifuge — or your own laboratory equipment which includes a 37°C incubator, hot water bath, thermometer, crushed ice & ice bucket, and a microcentrifuge that spins at least 13,000 x g. 1 Amino Labs Microcentrifuge is sufficient for a full class.

        Cleaning and safety supplies are not included in the kit. Necessary safety and cleaning supplies are latex or nitrile gloves, and a chlorinated bleach cleaner or a 10% solution of chlorinated bleach in a spray bottle (you can make this by adding 9 parts water to 1 part bleach in a spray bottle). You can add a Mini Safety Set to your kit which includes gloves and a reusable plastic apron to protect your clothes.

        For more information about safety, set up and clean up, you can have a look at the instruction manual for the experiment linked in the Ressources section below, and at the "Practicing safe science" page.

        Storage & Shipping

        Shipping Times

        Experiment kits are shipped 1-10 working days after you place your order. If you require yours for a specific date or event, please contact us before or with your order # so that we can try to make it happen for you! ☺︎ 


        For the best results, and the longest shelf life possible, refrigerate the kit(s) upon arrival. The Plate Extract-it Kit, Smell-it Kit, Induce-it Kit, and Blue-it Kit each come with a small bag that must be put in the Freezer as soon as possible. Do not put the full kits in the freezer, only the small bags with the "Freeze/Freezer" stickers.

        You'll find a "Best by" date on the kit's label. This date assumes you've refrigerated your kit upon arrival.

        If your experiment kits stay at room temperature before you collect them from your mailbox/mailroom/etc, that's ok! Store them as required in the refrigerator/freezer as soon as you can. If you do not have access to a refrigerator to store your kit, use it as soon as possible, and place it in a cool dark place until use.

        For any questions, don't hesistate to reach out to us - contact us