Biochemistry Literacy for Kids

Unlocking the true potential of young learners

Biochemistry Literacy for Kids revolutionizes STEM learning by making college-level science accessible to K-12 students.

Developed by a Yale-educated chemistry professor, the curriculum creates a unique visual and tactile learning environment that makes high-level chemistry and biochemistry fun and rewarding for kids as young as age 6.

Perfect for school or homeschool use, detailed video lessons, model building activities, and computer modeling allow any student to succeed at biochemistry. No previous science background is required!

Perfect for school or homeschool use, detailed video lessons, model building activities, and computer modeling allow any student to succeed at biochemistry. No previous science background is required!

For less than $5 a lesson, your homeschooler can get an exceptional college-level STEM experience. If your student is interested in medicine, or just wants to understand the living world, this program is for them!

Philosophy

Kids instinctively want to know what things are made of, how living things work, and why things are the way they are. Chemistry and biochemistry provide answers to so many of life’s great questions, but unfortunately, these subjects are almost completely neglected in standard school curricula.

Biochemistry Literacy for Kids fast tracks students to a sophisticated molecular-level understanding of the world around them, helping them see their surroundings in ways they never imagined.

The curriculum illuminates the stunning, three-dimensional world of molecular architectures and the network of biochemical reactions that constitute every living thing.

Through the lesson series, students gain an intuitive understanding of chemistry that will serve them well in high school and college courses. Since our curriculum makes learning advanced material easy, students build remarkable enthusiasm and confidence towards STEM learning.

Listen to what kids say about Biochemistry Literacy!

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Chemical Model Building

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Computer Molecular Modeling

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Drawing Biomolecules

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Polymer building

Media and parents reviews

Hear what a parent and teacher, Dr, Emily Brewer, says about Biochemistry Literacy! Read her article in Medium.

Read a recent New York Times article featuring Biochemistry Literacy.

Sample lesson video

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Watch the complete narrated video for Lesson 1 of the Biochemistry Literacy for Kids curriculum.

Live weekly Zoom classes

A fun way to enhance the program is to participate in live weekly group classes. Students build molecules together, ask questions, explore new molecular modeling software, and apply their knowledge. These impressive Zoom sessions operate like college classes for kids! 

How it works

1. Access the Biochemistry Literacy curriculum for $99 per year.

Access includes 25 narrated video lessons, perfect for home study. Lessons include presentations, molecular modeling files, and worksheetsenough material for a year of study. Purchase access here.

2. Add a custom molecular model set by MolyMod.

Manufactured in England, these sets are the original and highest quality molecular model sets available. The custom kits can only be purchased on this website and are tailored to the Biochemistry Literacy program. To learn more about the sets, watch this video.

3. Join a live class.

While the program is designed for individual study with minimal parental oversight, there’s no substitute for interaction with a teacher and other students. Remote classes help students apply what they learn in the video lessons and provide the opportunity for their questions to be answered. See what classes are now forming here.

Schools

The Biochemistry Literacy curriculum was developed by Professor Daniel Fried over 10 years in public and private schools in the New York area. It is designed so that every student feels empowered to learn science. Check out these documentary videos to hear from parents, students, teachers, and administrators, and to see how the program works in classrooms.

See the publications page for peer-edited research articles about our school programs, and check the news page to see what schools are using the curriculum. 

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Documentary

Full video of our 2018 Jersey City Public Schools project
Kids Talk About STEM Curriculum Molecular Modeling
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Kids talk about Molecular Modeling

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Kids talk about Moles

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Kids talk about periodic table

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Kids talk about flavor molecules

STEM Curriculum documentary
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Documentary

Full video of out 2019 Hudson Montessori project

Teacher training

Any teacher with an interest in science can lead their students through the Biochemistry Literacy curriculum. I have led several classes at Columbia Teachers College through the nonprofit STEMteachersNYC. Please contact me if you would like to discuss teacher inservice training.

About the creator

Hello! I’m Dr. Daniel Fried, an assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City. I’m a native of Kingston, New York, and I have a B.S. in Biochemistry from Binghamton University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University, and I also completed postdoctoral work at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Biochemistry Literacy began as an attempt to improve my science education experience. I wanted to give students a better foundation to understand the world around them, and to do better in school science. Biochemistry Literacy has never been funded or supported by any institution, but this independence has allowed me to create my dream STEM curriculum—the curriculum I wish I had as a kid. When I began to pilot my first classes at Yale’s Peabody Museum, I began to realize that kids were desperate for high-level learning. They didn’t want to be treated like children, but more like competent adult learners. I set out on the ambitious task of completely reconstructing how life science and physical science could be taught in school. After years of working with dozens of schools and thousands of students, Biochemistry Literacy is now poised to train the next generation of great scientists who will solve the health, environmental, and scientific challenges of the future. I hope you and your students join me on this incredible journey!

For Australian Parents

I have partnered with two great groups in Australia, HEA and GATCA WA, which distribute curriculum access and molecular model sets. Please contact them for access to my program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions, or CONTACT me to ask for more information.

Kids as young as 5 have successfully participated in this program, but most Biochemistry Literacy students are in late elementary school. The program contains high school and college-level material, but is made kid friendly so that elementary students, as well as older students, can engage in it.

See the LESSONS page to check the topics covered by the 25 units. The program orients students to covalent bonding, the periodic table, acid/base chemistry, hydrogen bonding, protein chemistry, ionic bonding, lipids, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA, and nuclear chemistry.

You get access to the 25 lesson pages which contain links to video narrations, usually 1-2 hours in length. Each lesson also contains worksheet files and molecular modeling files that are used as students view the videos.

The custom kit is similar to the Molymod MMS-008 kit, available on Amazon and elsewhere, but contains a unique complement of pieces. The main difference between my custom kit and standard kits is that the custom kit contains pieces used to simulate hydrogen
bonding, which is very important in biochemistry. See this video for more information.

No. The custom kit is only available through this site. It can be purchased bundled with the curriculum access. I can also organize larger orders for schools or homeschool groups.

Yes, the molecular modeling software, PyMol, is free for educational use. Engaging in the curriculum does not require PyMol, but it is highly recommended to have PyMol installed on your computer. For directions about how to install PyMol, see this video.

The homeschool license is for one year.

Please contact me if you are a teacher and administrator for pricing. I can work with you to provide professional development and support during your deployment of the program.

At this time, I do not include wet chemistry experiments in the program, although you will find that the theory provided by my curriculum supports a clearer interpretation of many common kid-friendly chemistry experiments. Many of the modeling activities that are part of Biochemistry Literacy could be considered to be virtual laboratory experiments. 

Standard K-12 curriculum does not emphasize biochemistry, despite its centrality to understanding living systems. It is the one of the most important subjects for the practice of medicine and for the research of new medicines and cures. Biochemistry explains how life works on the molecular level, so anyone interested in biology should also be interested in biochemistry.

Alignment to government standards was not central to how I designed Biochemistry Literacy, although teachers who use the program do align the program to the standards required at their grade level and state. The program is extremely rich and multifaceted, so it is easy to justify its use at various grade levels.

Not usually. The majority of kids from 3rd grade up can learn from the video lessons independently. Very young students may require more support. While parents sometimes enjoy learning alongside their students, the intention is that kids learn on their own from the videos and activities.

The 1-hour live classes support the independent learning of the curriculum. Every week, students prepare for a certain lesson by watching the unit’s video and practicing the modeling and drawing skills. In the live Zoom class, students ask questions and apply the material. The discussions in the live classes are not simply a reiteration of the video lessons, but allow students to direct the conversation.

Check here for currently-available classes.

Dr. Fried currently teaches 3 classes per week, and Dr, Emily Brewer teaches one class per week.

The lesson presentations are intended to work hand in hand with the model building activities. Without the models, the students don’t benefit from the active learning aspects of the program, and the program will not be as engaging. While the model kits are mandatory, access to the PyMol molecular modeling software is less critical, especially in the early lessons. 

No grant money was harmed in the making of this curriculum! I created this program myself, on my own time, without institutional funding. Families and schools that subscribe to the program are the only financial support for this endeavor. I’m very grateful to each and every one of them!