Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), students use household materials, and egg whites, to test the stability of proteins. They design an experiment to test which conditions could lead to egg albumen protein (egg whites) to denature, and relate their observations to the importance of homeostasis. Details can be found below.
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Details of the Protein & Homeostasis Lab below:
A. NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS HEREIN
Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS1: Structure and Function
Cross Cutting Concepts
Cause and Effect
Structure and Function
1. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
2. Analyzing and Interpreting Data
B. SUGGESTED USES
This lab works well over two days: The first day to organize their ideas, and write a procedure, and the second day to carry it out (as they might bring items in from home to use).
Containers (beakers or cups)
Egg Whites (I just buy a carton or two)
Other variable materials (since students are coming up with variables to test denaturation of egg whites, they may need hot plates or other consumables [acid, acetone, bases, salt, electric current 9V battery?, bleach, alcohol, blender) Sometimes I ask students to bring in materials they will need from home (lemon juice, bleach, a blender) depending on what they will test.
Prior Knowledge: Students benefit from a basic understanding of macromolecules/proteins. Students should have lab/safety skills, and know how a controlled experiment works (hypothesis, control group, experimental group, independent and dependent variable).
Implementation: Aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), this lab incorporates macromolecules (proteins), homeostasis, and scientific method (controlled experimentation).
Day 1 (40 minutes?): Typically, I begin with an anticipatory set (Do Now Question) to prime the student’s brains for the lesson. “Why is it important to sweat? What would happen if you didn’t sweat?” Then, we discuss the function of sweating, and relate it to the term homeostasis. I usually explain that, when you get down to details, your body must stay within certain conditions to avoid damage. Some of the molecules in your body most sensitive to damage are proteins. When your cells experience conditions too far out of “normal”, the proteins become damaged, or denatured, irreparably changing their shape. Since their shape determines their job, they become unable to do their job, and you could become sick, or die.
At this point in time, I usually help students to generate a list of conditions that our body maintains (temperature, pH, salinity, oxygen/CO2 levels (respiration changes to maintain this), blood sugar, etc. This list serves as a jumping off point for students to test the denaturation of egg whites.
Students then read the brief into to the lab, and answer the pre-lab questions. Then, students should generate a list of conditions under which to test the egg whites. Circulate the room, helping them refine their ideas. The purpose is for students to be self-directed in their research/ideas. They should be choosing the conditions for testing. For example, they might want to use bleach, or rubbing alcohol. One student wanted to try an electric current (using a 9V battery). They might say "I want to test using acid". Then you should help them with reasonable ideas (what types of acids do we have available. What types of acids could the students bring to school (lemon juice? vinegar?)
Now, students should write two hypotheses (one for each condition).
Then, they should write procedures, and a list of materials/quantities. Check them to make sure they are reasonable.
Students should create a chart where they can neatly record and organize the data/observations.
Day 2 (40 minutes?):
Students should carry out the protocol that they written. Make sure students wear goggles and gloves. Make sure no student is ALLERGIC TO EGGS. All liquids should be labeled in safe containers. Students should carry out their approved protocols.
When the lab is complete, and students have cleaned up, the class should convene to assemble the class data on the chart provided.
Then, students should answer the six post-lab questions. I've attached the answers to all that apply.
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