Title:
BIOLOGICAL MOLECULE PUZZLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A biological molecule puzzle comprising: at least one oxygen puzzle piece; at least two hydrogen puzzle pieces that are both simultaneously removeably attachable to the at least one oxygen puzzle piece; a first base puzzle piece removeably attachable to at least one puzzle selected from the group consisting of an oxygen puzzle piece, and a hydrogen puzzle piece; and wherein the at least one oxygen puzzle piece can be removeably attached to two hydrogen puzzle pieces to form a water molecule puzzle.



Inventors:
Tamarkin, Dawn A. (Springfield, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/465543
Publication Date:
02/21/2008
Filing Date:
08/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law, Office Michael Blake OF. A. (112 BROAD STREET, MILFORD, CT, 06460, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A biological molecule puzzle comprising: at least one oxygen puzzle piece; at least two hydrogen puzzle pieces that are both simultaneously removeably attachable to the at least one oxygen puzzle piece; a first base puzzle piece removeably attachable to at least one puzzle selected from the group consisting of an oxygen puzzle piece, and a hydrogen puzzle piece; and wherein the at least one oxygen puzzle piece can be removeably attached to two hydrogen puzzle pieces to form a water molecule puzzle.

2. The biological molecule puzzle of claim 1, further comprising: writing on the oxygen puzzle piece indicating that the oxygen puzzle represents an oxygen atom; writing on the hydrogen puzzle piece indicating that the hydrogen puzzle piece represents a hydrogen atom; writing on the first base puzzle piece indicating that it is one selected from the group consisting of a monosaccharide; amino acid; RNA nucleotide; DNA nucleotide; a glycerol molecule.

3. The biological molecule puzzle of claim 2, wherein the first base puzzle piece is also removeably attachable to a puzzle piece selected from the group consisting of R group puzzle piece; guanine RNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; uracil RNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; cytosine RNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; adenine RNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; guanine DNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; cytosine DNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; thymine DNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; adenine DNA nitrogenous base puzzle piece; DNA nucleotide puzzle piece; a two carbon three hydrogen molecule puzzle piece; one carbon two hydrogen molecule puzzle piece; a saturated fatty acid puzzle piece; an unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece; and a phosphocholine puzzle piece.

4. A biological molecule puzzle set comprising: a hydrogen puzzle piece, the hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the hydrogen puzzle piece representing a hydrogen atom; one hydrogen puzzle connector; an oxygen puzzle piece, the oxygen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the oxygen puzzle piece representing an oxygen atom; two oxygen puzzle connectors, the two oxygen puzzle connectors are each configured to removeably attach to the hydrogen puzzle connector; a monosaccharide puzzle piece, the monosaccharide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the monosaccharide puzzle piece representing a ring of a cyclic carbon structure; four monosaccharide puzzle connectors, each of the four monosaccharide puzzle connectors removeably attachable to the oxygen puzzle connectors; an R group puzzle piece; an R group puzzle connector; an amino acid puzzle piece, the amino acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the amino acid puzzle piece representing chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up the amino acid; a first amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach an oxygen puzzle connector; a second amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach an R group puzzle connector; a third amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; an RNA guanine puzzle piece, the RNA guanine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA guanine puzzle piece representing guanine; an RNA guanine puzzle connector; an RNA uracil puzzle piece, the RNA uracil puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA uracil puzzle piece representing uracil; an RNA uracil puzzle connector; an RNA cytosine puzzle piece, the RNA cytosine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA cytosine puzzle piece representing cytosine; an RNA cytosine puzzle connector; an RNA adenine puzzle piece, the RNA adenine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA adenine puzzle piece representing adenine; an RNA adenine puzzle connector; an RNA nucleotide puzzle piece, the RNA nucleotide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the RNA nucleotide puzzle piece representing a heterocyclic base, a hydroxyl group, and a phosphate group; a first RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; a second RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an RNA guanine puzzle connector, an RNA uracil puzzle connector, an RNA cytosine puzzle connector, and an RNA adenine puzzle connector; a third RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a DNA guanine puzzle piece, the DNA guanine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA guanine puzzle piece representing guanine; a first DNA guanine puzzle connector; a second DNA guanine puzzle connector; a DNA adenine puzzle piece, the DNA adenine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA adenine puzzle piece representing adenine; a first DNA adenine puzzle connector; a second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA thymine puzzle piece, the DNA thymine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA thymine puzzle piece representing thymine; a first DNA thymine puzzle connector; a second DNA thymine puzzle connector, the second DNA thymine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the second DNA guanine puzzle connector and the second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA cytosine puzzle piece, the DNA cytosine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA cytosine puzzle piece representing cytosine; a first DNA cytosine puzzle connector; a second DNA cytosine puzzle connector, the second DNA cytosine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the second DNA guanine puzzle connector and the second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA nucleotide puzzle piece, the DNA nucleotide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the DNA nucleotide puzzle piece representing a heterocyclic base, a hydroxyl group, and a phosphate group; a first DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; a second DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a DNA guanine puzzle connector, a DNA thymine puzzle connector, a DNA cytosine puzzle connector, and a DNA adenine puzzle connector; a third DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector.

5. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 4, wherein the writing on each of the puzzle pieces are raised.

6. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 4, wherein the writing on each of the puzzle pieces are grooved.

7. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 4, wherein the puzzle pieces are color coded.

8. A biological molecule puzzle set comprising: a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece, the two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a two carbon three hydrogen molecule; a first two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector, the first two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector, the second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a third two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector; a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece, the one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a one carbon two hydrogen molecule; a first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector, the first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector, the second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the third two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector; a saturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the saturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the saturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a saturated fatty acid; a saturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a first unsaturated fatty acid; a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a second unsaturated fatty acid; a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a third unsaturated fatty acid; a third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; and a phosphocholine puzzle piece, the phosphocholine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the phosphocholine puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a phosphocholine; a phosphocholine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector.

9. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 8, wherein the writing on each of the puzzle pieces are raised.

10. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 8, wherein the writing on each of the puzzle pieces are grooved.

11. The biological molecule puzzle set of claim 8, wherein the puzzle pieces are color coded.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to biological molecule puzzles, and more particularly to biological molecule puzzles that help students understand the chemical reactions that are important for biology.

BACKGROUND

Many science classes, such as biology and chemistry, include the teaching of biological processes. Often, the chemical details of these chemical reactions are difficult to understand, thus leading to difficulty in understanding the biological processes. There is a need for an apparatus that allows students to learn about biological processes without having to keep all the details of the chemical reactions straight.

SUMMARY

The disclosed invention relates to a biological molecule puzzle comprising: at least one oxygen puzzle piece; at least two hydrogen puzzle pieces that are both simultaneously removeably attachable to the at least one oxygen puzzle piece; a first base puzzle piece removeably attachable to at least one puzzle selected from the group consisting of an oxygen puzzle piece, and a hydrogen puzzle piece; and wherein the at least one oxygen puzzle piece can be removeably attached to two hydrogen puzzle pieces to form a water molecule puzzle.

The disclosed invention also relates to a biological molecule puzzle set comprising: a hydrogen puzzle piece, the hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the hydrogen puzzle piece representing a hydrogen atom; one hydrogen puzzle connector; an oxygen puzzle piece, the oxygen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the oxygen puzzle piece representing an oxygen atom; two oxygen puzzle connectors, the two oxygen puzzle connectors are each configured to removeably attach to the hydrogen puzzle connector; a monosaccharide puzzle piece, the monosaccharide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the monosaccharide puzzle piece representing a ring of a cyclic carbon structure; four monosaccharide puzzle connectors, each of the four monosaccharide puzzle connectors removeably attachable to the oxygen puzzle connectors; an R group puzzle piece; an R group puzzle connector; an amino acid puzzle piece, the amino acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the amino acid puzzle piece representing chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up the amino acid; a first amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach an oxygen puzzle connector; a second amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach an R group puzzle connector; a third amino acid puzzle connector, configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; an RNA guanine puzzle piece, the RNA guanine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA guanine puzzle piece representing guanine; an RNA guanine puzzle connector; an RNA uracil puzzle piece, the RNA uracil puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA uracil puzzle piece representing uracil; an RNA uracil puzzle connector; an RNA cytosine puzzle piece, the RNA cytosine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA cytosine puzzle piece representing cytosine; an RNA cytosine puzzle connector; an RNA adenine puzzle piece, the RNA adenine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the RNA adenine puzzle piece representing adenine; an RNA adenine puzzle connector; an RNA nucleotide puzzle piece, the RNA nucleotide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the RNA nucleotide puzzle piece representing a heterocyclic base, a hydroxyl group, and a phosphate group; a first RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; a second RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an RNA guanine puzzle connector, an RNA uracil puzzle connector, an RNA cytosine puzzle connector, and an RNA adenine puzzle connector; a third RNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a DNA guanine puzzle piece, the DNA guanine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA guanine puzzle piece representing guanine; a first DNA guanine puzzle connector; a second DNA guanine puzzle connector; a DNA adenine puzzle piece, the DNA adenine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA adenine puzzle piece representing adenine; a first DNA adenine puzzle connector; a second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA thymine puzzle piece, the DNA thymine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA thymine puzzle piece representing thymine; a first DNA thymine puzzle connector; a second DNA thymine puzzle connector, the second DNA thymine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the second DNA guanine puzzle connector and the second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA cytosine puzzle piece, the DNA cytosine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the surface of the DNA cytosine puzzle piece representing cytosine; a first DNA cytosine puzzle connector; a second DNA cytosine puzzle connector, the second DNA cytosine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the second DNA guanine puzzle connector and the second DNA adenine puzzle connector; a DNA nucleotide puzzle piece, the DNA nucleotide puzzle piece comprising: writing on the DNA nucleotide puzzle piece representing a heterocyclic base, a hydroxyl group, and a phosphate group; a first DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector; a second DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to a DNA guanine puzzle connector, a DNA thymine puzzle connector, a DNA cytosine puzzle connector, and a DNA adenine puzzle connector; a third DNA nucleotide puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector.

The disclosed invention, in addition, relates to a biological molecule puzzle set comprising: a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece, the two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a two carbon three hydrogen molecule; a first two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector, the first two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector, the second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a third two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector; a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece, the one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece comprising: writing on the one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a one carbon two hydrogen molecule; a first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector, the first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector, the second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to the third two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector; a saturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the saturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the saturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a saturated fatty acid; a saturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a first unsaturated fatty acid; a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a second unsaturated fatty acid; a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; a third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece, the third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece comprising: writing on the third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a third unsaturated fatty acid; a third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector; and a phosphocholine puzzle piece, the phosphocholine puzzle piece comprising: writing on the phosphocholine puzzle piece representing the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds of a phosphocholine; a phosphocholine puzzle connector configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present disclosure will be better understood by those skilled in the pertinent art by referencing the accompanying drawings, where like elements are numbered alike in the several figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of the puzzle pieces for a building block (“monosaccharide”) for a carbohydrate molecule;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of two of these sets of puzzle pieces for the carbohydrate monosaccharides;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of two monosaccharide puzzle piece sets connected together via an oxygen puzzle piece after having a water molecule removed;

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of four monosaccharide puzzle pieces connected together via three oxygen puzzle pieces, illustrating that these puzzles can create branched molecules (one monosaccharide is coming off toward the top);

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a protein building block (“amino acid”) puzzle set;

FIG. 6 is a schematic view showing eight protein amino acid molecule puzzle sets that have joined as three together at the top and four together at the bottom;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of another embodiment of a protein amino acid molecule puzzle set, showing that the variable molecular component specific to proteins, the R group, can be produced in many forms that all fit with the amino acid core;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of the puzzle set for the building block (“nucleotide”) of an RNA molecule, showing that its specific component (the nitrogenous base) will fit with it in all of its forms (A, C, G, and U);

FIG. 9 is a schematic view of two RNA nucleotide puzzle sets connected to one another via an oxygen puzzle piece;

FIG. 10 is a schematic view of the puzzle set for the nucleotide of a DNA molecule, showing that its specific nitrogenous base component will fit with it in all of its forms (A, C, G, and T);

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of eight DNA nucleotide puzzle sets connected together into its characteristic double-stranded form;

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of four DNA nucleotide puzzle sets connected together to show that the nitrogenous bases will associate loosely rather than by snapping, reflecting their weaker bond type;

FIG. 13 is a schematic view of a lipid building block molecule (the glycerol molecule) puzzle set, such that it has one end (at the left) that can flip around vertically;

FIG. 14 is a schematic view of a lipid molecule puzzle of a triglyceride with three saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces attached;

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of another embodiment of a triglyceride molecule puzzle, this time containing unsaturated fatty acid puzzle pieces;

FIG. 16 is a schematic view of three unsaturated fatty acid puzzle pieces;

FIG. 17 is a schematic view of a phospholipid molecule puzzle; and

FIG. 18 is schematic view of another embodiment of a phospholipid molecule puzzle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a schematic view of one carbohydrate building block molecule puzzle 10. In this particular embodiment, the carbohydrate building block is a monosaccharide glucose. One cyclic structure puzzle piece 14 forms the cyclic structure common to monosaccharides, which will be called a monosaccharide puzzle piece 14. A plurality of oxygen puzzle pieces 18 and hydrogen puzzle pieces 22 join to form four OH groups 23 (each of which are formed by joining an oxygen puzzle piece 18 and a hydrogen puzzle piece) the four OH groups 23 are joined to the monosaccharide puzzle piece 14. The puzzle pieces 14, 18, 22 have the chemical components relating to the particular puzzle pieces printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle pieces. For instance, the monosaccharide puzzle piece 14 shows the individual elements (six C's, seven H's, two O's) and chemical bonds (the straight lines) making up the ring of the cyclic structure. Since this is a puzzle, the puzzle pieces 14, 18, 22 all have connecting means which will be called puzzle connectors in this disclosure. Thus the monosaccharide puzzle piece 14 has four monosaccharide puzzle connectors 15. The oxygen puzzle piece 18 has an “O” printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece. The oxygen puzzle piece 18 also has two oxygen puzzle connectors 19. The hydrogen puzzle piece 22 has an “H” printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece. The hydrogen puzzle piece 22 also has one hydrogen puzzle connector 24. The hydrogen puzzle connector 24 is configured to removeably attach to the oxygen puzzle connector 19. Each of the four monosaccharide puzzle connectors 15 are configured to removeably attach to the oxygen puzzle connectors 19.

FIG. 2 shows two carbohydrate molecule puzzles 10. FIG. 3 shows how the two carbohydrate molecule puzzles can be arranged so that two monosaccharide puzzle pieces 14 can be joined via an oxygen puzzle piece 18 thereby forming a disaccharide. The left over two (2) hydrogen puzzle pieces 22 and one (1) oxygen puzzle piece 18 can joined together to form a water molecule puzzle 26.

FIG. 4 shows a more complicated joining of four (4) monosaccharide puzzle pieces 14, forming an oligosaccharide. These puzzle pieces can be used to form long chains of these monosaccharides which mimic the appearance of a starch molecule, they can also be used to form branched chains of monosaccharides which mimics the appearance of glycogen molecules.

FIG. 5 shows a protein building block puzzle 30. The protein building block puzzle 30 comprises an amino acid puzzle piece 34. In this embodiment, the amino acid puzzle piece has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that makes up the amino acid residue, specifically in this case, an N, two Hs, two Cs. This protein puzzle 30 is shown with a Hydrogen puzzle piece 22 attached to one side of the an amino acid puzzle piece 34, and an OH group 23 and an R group puzzle piece 38. The amino acid puzzle piece 34 has a first amino acid residue puzzle connector 33 configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector 19, a second amino acid residue puzzle connector 40 configured to removeably attach to an R group puzzle connector 41, and a third amino acid residue puzzle connector 43 configured to removeably attach to hydrogen puzzle connector 24.

FIG. 6 shows 8 protein puzzles 30, with three amino acid puzzle pieces 34 linked in a chain, four others linked in a chain, and a last amino acid puzzle piece 34 unlinked. By linking the protein puzzles 30 in this way, students can quickly see how polypeptides are formed, and that enough hydrogen puzzle pieces 22 and oxygen puzzle pieces 18 are left over to form 5 water molecules 26.

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of the protein puzzles 30. The protein puzzle 30 comprises an amino acid puzzle piece 34. In this embodiment, the amino acid puzzle piece has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that makes up the amino acid residue, specifically in this case, an N, two Hs, two Cs. In this embodiment, instead of one R group puzzle piece 38, there are four puzzle pieces 35, 36, 37, 39 with different shapes that represent four possible R groups. The R group is a chemically variable group, and there are 20 different options for their shapes—only four are shown here. Puzzle piece 35 represents a particular R group—the cysteine R group. The puzzle piece 35 is shaped such that it can attach to itself, thus representing that the cysteine amino acid can form a bond with itself. Puzzle pieces 35, 36, 37, 39 each have an R group puzzle connector 41.

FIG. 8 shows an RNA puzzle 42. The RNA puzzle 42 comprises an RNA nucleotide puzzle piece 46 that is attachable to a hydrogen puzzle piece 22, and an OH group 23. The RNA nucleotide puzzle piece 46 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that makes up the nucleotide, namely, in this example, a 5-Carbon sugar and a phosphate group. The nucleotide puzzle piece 46 is also attachable to one of four different RNA nitrogenous base puzzle pieces (50, 54, 58, 62). The RNA nucleotide puzzle piece has a first RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 47, a second RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 48, and a third RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 49. The first RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 47 is configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector 24. The second RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 48 is configured to removeably attach to a RNA nitrogenous base puzzle connector 90. The third RNA nucleotide puzzle connector 47 is configured to removeably attach to an oxygen 19. A guanine puzzle piece 50 is shown with a G printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 50. A uracil puzzle piece 54 is shown with a U printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 54. A cytosine puzzle piece 58 is shown with a C printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 58. An adenine puzzle piece 62 is shown with an A printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 62. It should be noted that the different RNA nitrogenous base puzzle pieces (50, 54, 58, 62) only have a female puzzle attachment means 90, this is because RNA does not form a double helix, so, the RNA nucleobase puzzle pieces need not be attachable to one an other. When the top hydrogen puzzle piece (22a) and the OH group 23 is removed, a water molecule 26 can be formed, and further, one or more nucleotide puzzle pieces 46 can be attached to one another to form a chain. [

FIG. 9 shows another embodiment of an RNA puzzle 42. In this configuration, two RNA nucleotide puzzle pieces 46 are attached to each other via an oxygen puzzle piece 18. A Cytosine puzzle piece 58 is attached to one of the RNA nucleotide puzzle pieces 46; and a Uracil puzzle piece 54 is attached to one of the RNA nucleotide puzzle pieces 46. It should be noted that in this embodiment, the four different RNA nitrogenous base puzzle pieces (50, 54, 58, 62) are shaped differently to reflect their structural differences and help distinguish them. Additionally, the entire RNA nitrogenous base name (guanine, uracil, cytosine, and adenine), or its structural formula, may be printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle pieces 50, 54, 58, 62.

FIG. 10 shows a DNA puzzle 66. The DNA puzzle 66 comprises a DNA nucleotide puzzle piece 70 that is attachable to a hydrogen puzzle piece 22, and an OH group 23. The DNA nucleotide puzzle piece 70 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that makes up the nucleotide, namely, in this example, a 5-Carbon deoxyribose sugar (as opposed to the ribose sugar that the RNA nucleotide has). The DNA nucleotide puzzle piece 70 is also attachable to one of four different DNA nitrogenous base puzzle pieces (74, 78, 82, 86). The DNA nucleotide puzzle piece has a first DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 67, a second DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 68, and a third DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 69. The first DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 67 is configured to removeably attach to a hydrogen puzzle connector 24. The second DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 68 is configured to removeably attach to a DNA nitrogenous base puzzle connector 90. The third DNA nucleotide puzzle connector 69 is configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector 19.

A guanine puzzle piece 74 is shown with a G printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 74. A cytosine puzzle piece 78 is shown with a C printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 78. A thymine puzzle piece 82 is shown with a T printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 82. An adenine puzzle piece 86 is shown with an A printed, written, or otherwise shown on the puzzle piece 86. It should be noted that the cytosine puzzle piece 78 has a puzzle connector that appears as three bumps 91 in this embodiment and the Guanine puzzle piece 74 has a puzzle connector 95 configured to received the puzzle connector 91, these connectors 91, 95 allow them to interdigitate with one another, but not snap. Also, the thymine puzzle piece 82 has a puzzle connector that appears as two bumps 93 in this embodiment and adenine puzzle piece 86 has a puzzle connector 97 configured to fit into the puzzle connector 93. Puzzle connectors 93, 97 allow them to interdigitate with one another, but not snap. In this manner, base-pairing of adenine to thymine, and of cytosine to guanine are mandated by the puzzle shape. Additionally, guanine puzzle piece 74 and adenine puzzle piece 86 both have lengths LGA that are larger than the lengths LCT of the cytosine puzzle piece 78 and thymine puzzle piece 82.

FIG. 11 shows how a representation of a DNA double helix can be formed using a plurality of DNA puzzles 66. When adjacent DNA nucleotide puzzle pieces 70 are attached to one another, one hydrogen puzzle piece 22 and one OH group 23 are left over to create one water molecule 26 (not shown). Base pairs are formed when the nitrogenous base puzzle pieces 74, 78, 82, 86 attach to one an other via the association of their complementary puzzle connectors, 91, 95, and 93,97 respectively.

FIG. 12 shows another embodiment of how the DNA puzzle 66 can be arranged.

FIG. 13 shows the glycerol portion of a lipid puzzle, piece 98. There are two main types of lipids that will be made with these puzzles. One is the triglyceride, while the other is the phospholipid. Both of these lipids involve a glycerol molecule and fatty acids. The glycerol puzzle comprises three OH group puzzle pieces 23 (each of which are made up of an oxygen puzzle piece 18 and a hydrogen puzzle piece 22), a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102, and a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106. The one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106 can be flipped over so that its reverse side appears as shown at 106(reverse side) in FIG. 13. This two-sided puzzle piece 106 allows for the glycerol puzzle pieces to be used to make both triglycerides and phospholipids (as will be seen in the following FIGS. 17 and 18). The two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle molecule. The one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle molecule. The two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102 has a first two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector 103, a second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector 104, and a third two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector 105. The first and second puzzle connectors 103, 104 are each configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector19. The one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106 has a first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector 107, and a second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector 108. The first one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connectors 1037 is configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector19. The second one carbon two hydrogen puzzle connector 108 is configured to removeably attach to the second two carbon three hydrogen puzzle connector 104.

FIG. 14 shows a triglyceride molecule puzzle 110. The triglyceride molecule puzzle comprises: a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102, and a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106, three oxygen puzzle pieces 18, and three saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 114. The saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 114 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up representative saturated fatty acids.

FIG. 15 shows another triglyceride molecule puzzle 110. This puzzle comprises: a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102, and a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106, three oxygen puzzle pieces 18, one saturated fatty acid puzzle piece 114, a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 118, and a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 122. The first and second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 118, 122 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up each of the representative unsaturated fatty acid.

FIG. 16 shows three unsaturated fatty acid puzzle pieces, a first unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 118, a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 122, and a third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 126. The third unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 126 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up the third representative unsaturated fatty acid. The saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 114, and various unsaturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 118, 122, 126 all have a puzzle connector 115 configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector 19. Note that all unsaturated fatty acids have at least one kink in them, while the saturated fatty acids are straight.

FIG. 17 shows phospholipid molecule puzzle 130. The phospholipid puzzle 130 comprises: a two carbon three hydrogen puzzle piece 102, and a one carbon two hydrogen puzzle piece 106 (reverse side), three oxygen puzzle pieces 18, two saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 114, and a phosphocholine puzzle piece 134. The phosphocholine puzzle piece 134 has printed, written, or otherwise shows on it the individual chemical elements and chemical bonds that make up the phosphocholine. The phosphocholine puzzle piece 134 has a phosphocholine puzzle connector 135 configured to removeably attach to an oxygen puzzle connector 19.

FIG. 18 shows another embodiment of the phospholipid puzzle 130. In this embodiment, one of the saturated fatty acid puzzle pieces 114 has been replaced with a second unsaturated fatty acid puzzle piece 122.

The models are configured to allow students to be able to learn about biological molecules without having to deal with the details of their chemistry. Students will be able to take the building blocks for each type of molecule and stick them together or break them apart. To do this, the students can mimic (using the disclosed puzzle pieces) the chemical reactions, dehydration synthesis or hydrolysis reactions, that are used by cells to synthesize or break down, respectively, these large biological molecules. The puzzles will not have each atom as a puzzle piece. Instead, the building blocks will be individual pieces, and the only atoms involved are those that form water (oxygen and hydrogen).

The disclosed invention may be offered in kits. Each kit could be used independently, and teachers could use one or all three depending on their curriculum needs. The kits would contain the puzzle pieces making them readily portable from classroom to classroom.

The potential end users for these kits include all educational institutions with the initial target being secondary and postsecondary organizations. The potential also exists for their application in museums, home schooling, and informal science education settings. The disclosed puzzles are unique and consistent with current research on teaching and learning. Advantages of the disclosed models include: tactile, hands-on approach to learning appeals to individuals who learn best by manipulating objects; developed specifically for teaching and learning about cells in both lab and lecture settings; the puzzles offer students with disabilities a way to learn about biological molecules (e.g., a blind student can use them as tactile models); the puzzles are engaging, interactive, and can reflect hundreds of biological molecules; since there may be a plurality of kits available, a school would only have to buy the kits that relate to their aspects of interest; the puzzle pieces are lightweight and portable, for convenience in carrying from room-to-room. Additionally, the puzzle pieces may be colorful, and may be colored according to the category of biological molecule, or may be colored in a fanciful fashion. Additionally, the puzzle pieces may have raised/grooved lettering on them for the blind or for a tactile component.

Although some of the puzzle connectors are shown as male connectors, and others are shown as female connectors, it should be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art to modify the disclosed invention such that connectors can be changed from male to female, and vice versa. Additionally, the puzzle pieces may be color coded according to molecule and/or atom type. For instance, all oxygen puzzle pieces 18 may be red, and all RNA nucleotide puzzle pieces 46 may be purple, and so on.

It should be noted that the terms “first”, “second”, and “third”, and the like may be used herein to modify elements performing similar and/or analogous functions. These modifiers do not imply a spatial, sequential, or hierarchical order to the modified elements unless specifically stated.

While the disclosure has been described with reference to several embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the disclosure. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the disclosure without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the disclosure not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this disclosure, but that the disclosure will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.