How to Build a 3D Model of Glucose

Glucose has a complex molecular structure.
••• the molecule of tryptophane image by Stanislav Pepeliaev from

Glucose is a vitally important chemical to all animals. Without it, our bodies would not have the energy necessary to keep our organs functioning. So it is important to understand glucose and its function within the body. A very good and interactive way to do this is to construct a model of a glucose molecule. This is an easy project that requires only a few items and brief commitment of time.

    Divide the 12 Styrofoam balls into two groups of six. Color one group of six Styrofoam balls with one of the markers. Color the other six balls in a different color. Allow these balls to dry. Open the package of small, Styrofoam balls, remove 12 of the balls and set them aside.

    Using a black marker, write a large 'C' on one set of six balls of the same color. Write a large 'O' on the other set of six balls of the same color. Lastly, write an 'H' on each of the uncolored, 1-inch Styrofoam balls. The balls with a "C" are carbon atoms, the "O" balls are oxygen atoms and the "H" balls are hydrogen atoms.

    Remove 12 of the wooden skewers from the package. Use the wire cutter to cut off the sharp tips the skewers. Next, cut the 12 skewers in half. Color the skewers with the markers and set these aside.

    Retrieve the 12 large Styrofoam balls. Take five of the balls marked "C" and one ball marked "O" and form a hexagonal shape, using six of the colored skewers. Attach the remaining "C" ball to one of the other "C" balls. Attach the remaining five "O" balls to five of the balls marked "C." Lastly, attach the 12 "H" balls to the 12 larger balls, one "H" to each molecule.

    Things You'll Need

    • 2 packages of large, 8-count markers
    • 12 Styrofoam balls, 2-inches
    • 1 Package of 1-inch Styrofoam balls
    • 1 Package of wooden skewers
    • Wire cutter


    • If desired, you can make this an edible model by using gumdrops of different colors.