It’s Alive! A Biology Lesson

Biology Lab: Is Yeast Alive?

It may be almost time for Halloween, but it’s not just the monsters and ghosts coming to life!!  All around us, our world is living and my students come into contact with living organisms (besides themselves) all the time!  Yeast is a common ingredient in the foods many of us eat.  At Learning Curve High School (at HTS) we explored the powerful effects of a yeast and sugar concoction.  Can a few grains of yeast really metabolize sugar and produce a gas?!

I am constantly challenging my students to be curious, ask questions, and challenge what they already know.

One of our favorite subjects as a class is science, where we get to really test those questions and hypotheses about all sorts of ideas!  Only after about 20 minutes was our experiment taking on very different shapes.

With every activity we focus on goals, reevaluating whether or not we met them at the end of each experiment.  For this activity our learning goals were…

Learning Goals:

  • The characteristics of life include using energy (i.e. metabolism), ability to grow and develop, reproduction, homeostasis, response to the environment, evolutionary adaptation, composed of one or more cells, and has genetic material.
  • The first experiment indirectly tests for the ability to metabolize, i.e. utilize energy. When sugar is available, the yeast metabolizes the sugar and produces carbon dioxide, a gas which accumulates in the balloons and causes them to get bigger.
  • Replication of each experimental condition is useful to be more confident of your results, since experimental results are often variable even when you try to maintain the same conditions. 

Part of the Process:

Together we completed this table as we looked at the ways the substance changed and the gloves on our cups inflated.