See more from this Session: General Extension Education: II
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
Schools and teachers are being held accountable for what students learn through standardized tests. Science knowledge is more easily transferred, understood and retained when students actively participate in the learning process. Our objective was to develop a lab to introduce students to growth, development and enzyme function using plants and to assist teachers meet state education standards in science and mathematics. Quantification, averaging and graphing were incorporated into this plant science lab where growth, development and enzyme activity are measured as starch is digested during seed germination. Hands-on experiments use seeds from grains and legumes, saliva, starch-agar gels, and the starch indicator, iodine, to illustrate digestion and enzyme activity. Students ‘see' the results of varying amounts of enzyme present in germinating corn and bean seeds when they stain starch-agar gels with iodine and discover clear regions on the gels denoting regions of starch digestion. Jigsaw puzzles and Lego<sup>TM</sup> blocks are used to assist students better understand the concepts of biosynthesis, enzyme specificity and enzyme function. Indiana State Academic Standards for Science in grade 8 state students are to explain how energy is obtained through food oxidation (8.4.6), illustrate through graphs how variables are related (8.5.4) and calculate means in a data set (8.5.9), and use charts and graphs in presentations about lab work (8.2.8). At the high school level students are required to understand and explain metabolism in living systems (B.1.19), the chemical process of digestion and the availability of energy in macromolecules (AS.3.41), hydrolysis (FS.1.7), food composition (FS.1.19), chemical structure of sugars (FS.1.26), and hydrolysis of carbohydrates with enzymes (FS.2.28). This lab engages students in a week-long activity where measurements, geometry, data analysis, and problem solving are used to quantify changes in growth, development and enzyme activity in seeds as they germinate. It assists teachers meet various state academic standards in science as they prepare students for year-end ISTEP and advance placement exams.