Amino Acid Alphabet Song
by Greg Crowther and W. A. Mozart
Amino acids are the building blocks from which proteins are made. This song, sung to the tune of the "Alphabet Song" (also known as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"), lists the 1-letter
abbreviations of the major amino acids naturally found in cells. (There are also 3-letter abbreviations, not shown here.)
A, C D E F G,
H I K, L-M-N P.
Q R S, T, V
W and Y.
Now I know my amino acids,
Next time, join in; don't be placid!
• MP3 (demo)
• sheet music (with melody play-back)
Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.
An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.
(1) How many letters are there in this particular "alphabet"?
(2) What does each letter represent? Be as specific as possible.
(3) From the full names of the amino acids, is it easier to guess their 1-letter abbreviations or the 3-letter abbreviations?
(Answers may be found on the answers page.)