Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Classroom Pack (Chapters 1-4)


Make biology class fun, engaging, and relevant to 21st-century careers! This kit pack includes everything a teacher needs to bring STEM biology exercises into their middle school or high school classroom, get their students excited about biology, and deeply explore topics in biology such as DNA, evolution, genes, genomes, cell structure, macromolecules, organic elements, bonding, how cells operate, transcription, and more. 

This kit pack includes books, equipment, and materials for a teacher with no prior life science lab experience to set up a lab space, practice the exercises, view the book content and then manage a group of students that does the exercises. If you are a teacher with prior lab experience and already have a lab in your school, you'll see that the equipment in this kit is optional. However, we are confident that with the DNA Playground minilab, your students will be more engaged and more successful than with traditional lab equipment. The book and hands-on exercises include:

  • learning about DNA, evolution, and genes and doing a DNA extraction with a DNA Extraction Kit (Chapter 1)
  • learning about cells and macromolecules, streaking cells, creating BioArt and incubating cells with a Canvas Kit (Chapter 3)
  • learning about DNA plasmids, genes, transcription, and engineering cells to produce various color pigments by doing a transformation experiment with an Engineer-it Kit (Chapter 4)

The book content and kit exercises align with many different core learning objectives and are used in both middle school and high school settings. Group Kits come with eight individually packaged kits that can be easily handed out individual students or student groups.

A unique feature of Amino Labs products is that they are designed for students to complete the entire exercise. This means that teachers have only a few minutes of preparation time before class starts rather than one or more days of preparation before class. This increases planning flexibility and reduces the time burden on the teacher. This also results in the students learning the entire hands-on experience and removes the "black-boxing" that occurs with other educational kits. Lastly, these kits do not need pipettes, so students and teachers can jump right into the exercise.

To maximize fun and success, we recommend you opt for one or more DNA Playground Large. Each DNA Playground Large can cater to up to four groups of students. Depending on your desired student group sizes, you'll typically use between one and eight DNA Playground Large. The DNA Playground also reduces set up and clean up time by up to an hour and results in much less mess.

Lastly, because DNA Playgrounds are small and contained units, we've learned that many teachers also send DNA Playground units home with students to complete extra activities at home - how exciting! 

What's Included

4x Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero books

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The Beginner's Guide to Programming Bacteria at Home, School & in the Makerspaceis a 186-page book with over 130 color illustrations that take readers through a journey of exploring biology through fun and engaging hands-on activities.

Use the book as an enriched substitute for the instruction manuals. The book includes “Going Deeper” and “Pro-tip” sections throughout the exercises which give the reader more context about the hands-on activity. The Fundamentals sections cover important concepts that relate back to and are “anchored by” the hands-on exercise. Each chapter also concludes with questions that the students can answer to demonstrate their understanding of subjects explored in the chapter.

Classes can have one book per student group or one book per student so they can take the book home as a study resource. If you have a specific number of books needed, contact us for custom pricing.


1x Group DNA Extraction Kit (Chapter 1)

Doing a hands-on experiment where you actually get to see real DNA emerge from a strawberry is surprising and delightful. This hands-on exercise is an engaging and sticky activity that is a great anchor for learning fundamentals about DNA, which, are included in the second half of Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Chapter 1. Fundamental concepts in Chapter 1 include evolution, the structure of DNA and chemical elements that are the building blocks of living things, the vocabulary often used to describe DNA (genes, genome, chromosomes, etc.), and the use of DNA in industry.

A Group DNA Extraction Kit includes 8x individually packed bags of the components needed for the experiment. The only ingredient that needs to be acquired separately is a bottle of 70-99% rubbing alcohol, which, can be found at a local pharmacy, grocery store, or already in your home/school. It is recommended that 1-4 students use an individually packaged kit.


1x Group Canvas Kit (Chapter 3)

Watching bacteria cells grow and change color is an ah-ha moment that leaves a lasting impression with students. What do bacteria cells look like? What do bacteria eat and grow on? Students learn how to make LB agar Petri dishes and learn how to streak cells, a technique that is very important in research labs around the world.

Further, students also get to create BioArt by “painting” with the bacteria on Petri dishes and watch the living canvases emerge by incubating them. BioArt is an emerging field of art that is being researched and explored in the top art and design universities such as the Royal College of Art in London, Parson’s School of Design in New York.

The Fundamentals section of Chapter 3 cover the structure of a bacterium cell and takes the students through a tour of a bacterium cell. The four macromolecules of living organisms are discussed, it emerges that cells are like micro-factories and are made of “molecular mash-ups” of the four macromolecules of living organisms.

This group kit includes 8x individually packaged kits that can be handed out to students. There are a couple shared tubes that the teacher holds onto and the students use during the exercise. It is recommended that 1-4 students use an individually packaged kit. There are three different pre-engineered color bacteria that are used for streaking and BioArt. 

1x Group Engineer-it Kit (Chapter 4)

What is genetic engineering? How does it actually work? The students make their own LB agar Petri dishes, streak their own “blank cells” and then get to engineer their own blank cells with a DNA plasmid that causes the cells to express a color producing gene. This is called a transformation experiment and is a very important technique in the world of life science research. This is likened to the “Hello World!” of computer programming.

The Fundamentals of Chapter 4 covering how the cells read DNA and the concept of a gene becomes tangible and solidifies. Students learn the “basic operating environment of a cell” and learn that cells cannot think, but rather it is chemistry that dictates how the cells operate. Transcription is the primary topic of Chapter 4 and the students learn how cells "know" to start reading DNA (start transcription), do transcription, and stop transcription.

If you want to cover translation of RNA into proteins, this is the topic of Chapter 5, which also has a fun and engaging hands-on exercise.

This group kit includes 8x individually packaged kits that can be handed out to students. There are a couple shared tubes that the teacher holds onto and the students use during the exercise. It is recommended that 1-4 students use an individually packaged kit. 

1x Safety Set

A safety set includes 100 disposable plastic aprons that can be used as lab coats if you do not have lab coats for your students. Also, 1 box (100) of extra small nitrile gloves and 1 box (100) of medium nitrile gloves are included. Because the chance of spills happening is very low, the plastic aprons can be reused, however, gloves are disposed of after each use.

DNA Playground Large (Optional Recommended Add-on)

DNA Playground is a new kind of lab equipment that is specially designed for those just learning about biotechnology, molecular biology, and genetic engineering (a.k.a synthetic biology). The DNA Playground enables fun and engaging genetic engineering experiments and includes a “cold station”, which, eliminates the need to source ice and ice buckets, a hot station, which, eliminates the need for a hot water bath and a thermometer, and a petri dish incubator that can hold up to eight Petri dishes (6 cm) for incubating your cells.

The 3-in-1 nature of the DNA Playground highly simplifies getting the equipment for doing these fun and engaging exercises reduces the cost compared to buying traditional lab equipment and lowers the set-up and clean-up time. Moreover, these units take only seconds to turn off, unplug, and store away in a cupboard for next time - this means you do not need a dedicated lab space to set up and maintain the equipment.

If you already have a petri dish incubator, hot water bath, thermometers, ice buckets, and crushed ice, then you will not need a DNA Playground Large. If you do not have that equipment than choose the number of DNA Playground Large using the drop-down.

Each DNA Playground Large can host up to four groups of students doing the Canvas Kit or Engineer-it Kit exercises. Typically a classroom will require between 2 and 4 DNA Playground Large, depending on the student group sizes.

Class Sizing

How many students does this kit cater to?

Ingredient kits:

All classroom sized wetware kits have eight individually sized packages that allow for eight tries. The number of students therefore depends on the student group sizes.

# of students per group Total number of students per classroom kit
1 8
2 16
3 24
4 32 


DNA Playgrounds:

24 students in groups of three: Each DNA Playground can handle up to four groups of students. The size of student groups will again determine how many DNA Playground Large you need. For example, a 24 student class, where students work in groups of three, means there will be eight groups which then need two DNA Playground Large.

24 students in pairs: in this example there will be 12 groups of students. Because each DNA Playground can cater to up to four groups, you would need three DNA Playground Large


Packs are shipped 1-5 days after you place your order. If you require yours for a specific date or event, please contact us prior to, or with your order # so that we can try to make it happen for you! ☺︎ 

The kit(s) must be refrigerated upon arrival for longer shelf life. 

For customers outside of North America: Please note that USPS shipping estimates are sometimes correct and sometimes not. For the most accurate shipping time estimates, please choose a courier option. If you need your Amino Labs kits for an event or class that is less than two weeks away, you must use a courier option as this will ensure you get your kits in time.