Microcomputer Based Laboratory
Biology Investigations
by
Bruce D Westling, Retired
John Burroughs School

 

 #1

Entire Microcomputer Based Lab Manuals

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description The entire lab manuals with all 19 labs are available here in both the student and teacher versions. Here is a word from the author, Bruce Westling, to the teacher and student.

 #1

Hydrogen In Concentration, A Critical Life Condition

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students investigate the pH of some common biological and non biological substances. The wide pH variability of these substances is seen. Next they inquire into the effect of adding acids to liquids such as water and milk. Finally, the buffering action of antacids is observed and a strength comparison is made among them.

 #2

 The Breakdown of Hydrogen Peroxide by Catalase

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students investigate the properties of the enzyme catalase as it breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Evidence is collected showing the rate of the reaction is directly related to the enzyme concentration and pH of the reactants.

 #3

 Diffusion Through a Dialysis Membrane

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students discover a relationship between temperature, concentration, and the rate of diffusion through a membrane. Using a conductivity probe and a sealed dialysis bag containing salt water, evidence is collected to show that temperature and the concentration of salt water in the bag increases the rate of diffusion of salt through the membrane of the bag.

 #4

 Why are Cells So Small

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students find the surface to volume ratio of several sizes of agar blocks. They then determine the rate of diffusion of salt from the different sized blocks. Evidence is collected to show that the rate of diffusion from the block increases as the surface area to volume ratio increases.

 #5

 Light and Photosynthesis

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the rate of carbon dioxide uptake by spinach leaves. When light is sufficient, carbon dioxide disappears from a sealed container surrounding the leaves. A carbon dioxide sensor is used to monitor the change in carbon dioxide concentration. Carbon dioxide concentration is found to vary with time and with light intensity.

 #6

 A Study of Yeast Fermentation

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the fermentation rate of yeast. Evidence is collected showing the rate of the reaction is related to the yeast concentration, ph and the type of sugar fermented.

 #7

 Animal Respiration

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description In this investigation students find the respiration rate of two vertebrate animals. Team data are pooled and average respiration rate values are calculated.

 #8

 Seed Respiration

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure and compare the oxygen consumption of dormant and germinating seeds. Results suggest that plant seeds not only use oxygen but that they increase their use of the substance during periods of rapid growth.

 #9

 Plant Transpiration

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students use a humidity sensor to investigate the release of water vapor from the leaves of bean plants. The bean plants are housed within a sealed glass jar containing the sensor. A plot of humidity change with time is made. Knowing the slope of the humidity plot it is possible to estimate the plant's transpiration rate. The rate is found to decrease as the stomata of the plant are sealed with petroleum jelly.

 #10

 Reaction Time

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure their reaction time using their dominant and non dominant hands. Comparisons of reaction time to light and sound are made. Sexual differences in reaction time are evaluated using statistical methods.

 #11

 Exercise, Conditioning and Pulse Rate

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure their pulse rate before exercise and during their recovery from exercise. These values are used to predict individual physical fitness.

 #12

 Recording Electrocardiograms

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students obtain a personal ECG. The wave form of the ECG is examined and the P, QRS. and T portions of the wave are identified and heart rate is calculated.

 #13

 Human Breathing Rate

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students find their breathing rate at rest and after a period of exercise. Differences in both the rate and depth of breathing are found to be related to physical activity and to the sex of the individual.

 #14

 The Digestion of Protein by Pepsin

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students study the action of the enzyme pepsin on a suspension of cooked egg white. Evidence for the occurrence of digestion is derived from the optical clearing of the solution and from the disappearance of the egg particles. The concentration of the enzyme is varied to show changes in the rate of digestion of the egg white.

 #15

 The Digestion of Starch by Amylase

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the rate of the digestion of starch by fungal amylase. Evidence of the digestive process is shown by the clearing of the starch, amylase, iodine solution. The option of investigating the influence of temperature, pH and enzyme concentration on the rate of the reaction is also open to the student.

 #16

 Large Calories, Small Calories and Food

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the energy content of marshmallows and walnuts using a temperature sensor and simple calorimeter. Individual team measurements are compared with the class average and with published information.

 #17

 The Growth of a Population of Yeast

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the growth, under ideal conditions, of a population of yeast. Evidence is collected showing an exponential growth of the population.

 #18

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students discover a relationship between decomposers (bacteria), organic matter, and the level of oxygen in aquatic environments. Using closed systems, evidence is gathered to show increasing amounts of organic matter correlates with decreasing levels of oxygen. A point is reached where the BOD exceeds the oxygen supply.

 #19

 pH: An Environmental Limiting Factor

 Student Version

 Teacher Instructions
 Description Students measure the pH of several components of the earth's natural abiotic environment. These measurements lead to further optional inquires of acid rain and the chemical pollution of soil and water.