Picky Picky Enzymes

[caption id="attachment_853" align="alignleft" width="300"] By Leanda[/caption]

As I mentioned in a recent post for Earth and Environmental Science, I have gotten a bit behind when it comes to updating the week in review. Somehow the year has slipped away from me. I always tell my wife in August that, "It's August, which means it will soon be December, then May!" School years always seem to slip by so quickly. All that being said, I am having a fantastic time with this group of AP Biology students. Daily I get to wander around the classroom and listen to them help each other grapple with the dense concepts that comprise the discipline. Moving to a "flipped" format has placed a lot of the responsibility for learning on the students. I must say, they have risen to the challenge. 

All that babbling aside, we just wrapped up a unit on energy. The topics covered ranged from the laws of thermodynamics to the action of the enzyme catalase to the Calvin Cycle of photosynthesis. It was a fun unit, but I think the students are probably happy to be done with it. Abbi Williams and Suleima Reyes partnered up to produce this installment of the week in review (9/10-9/14). Enjoy!

They Write:

During the week of September 10, 2012 we learned about enzymes, Redox reactions, and conducted a two day experiment. First, on Monday we reviewed about enzymes and how they speed up chemical reactions. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions by lowering the activation energy. We also learned that enzymes work on substrates in a lock-and-key manner. In addition, inhibition can happen in both competitive and noncompetitive ways. The next two days we conducted a lab. The purpose of the lab that we conducted was to find the best possible PH and temperature needed for the beef liver which contained the Catalase.  For example, in my group we got a good result with the temperature, but we were far off with the Ph which was supposed to be around 7. During the week we also talked about Redox reactions. A redox reaction is when electrons are trade and energy is released. We talked about how the electron transport chain helps release energy in steps, making it more efficient versus giving it all up at once.

Everything we learned in class could all be related to energy, which is our main focus of this unit. The enzyme lab was helpful in our learning process in that it proved the specific conditions which are needed to create energy. Enzymes in particular require very specific conditions. These conditions include both specific pH and temperature. Enzymes play the most significant role in energy due to the fact that they support the startup of chemical reactions. We also discussed the restoration of energy, which dealt greatly with the function of glycolysis. In final conclusions, throughout the week, we took away information on the role energy plays in life through redox reactions, light energy, enzymes, inhibition, and many other functions of the body involving energy.