Biology students stumped by weird test results: Photo of the Day 9/28/15


Emily Seth

Corwin Verdin, Micah Wootten and Charles Rasmussen prepare their enzyme experiment.

by Emily Seth, Reporter

On September 28, in Ms. Amber McCauley’s first period biology class, students conducted experiments on the functions of enzymes. Enzymes are tiny protein molecules that help speed up chemical reactions within an animal’s body and are essential for proper body functions. So, as a preparation for the biochemistry test coming up Thursday, McCauley had her students do a lab to observe how enzymes work in different conditions.

Class of 2019 members Corry Powell, Charles Rasmussen, Jayden Smithson, Kelly Stouffer, Corwin Verdin, Autumn Frazier and Micah Wootten experimented with the way temperature affects enzyme functionality, using ice water and room temperature water in their experiment.

As they knew from what they had been taught in class, cold makes enzymes move more slowly and, therefore, work less efficiently.  The experiment they were doing used a chemical reaction created by combining catalase, an enzyme, with hydrogen peroxide and measured the pressure created by the released oxygen–the less effective the enzyme the less oxygen released and therefore less pressure. However, when this particular experiment got going, the pressure created from each reaction was almost exactly the same.

They kept blaming each other for what was happening, but no one really knew who was messing up.

No one had any idea why they got the results they did: even McCauley couldn’t pinpoint what was going wrong.  At the end of the class, the team continued to be puzzled.

“Hopefully period four gets some more conclusive answers,” McCauley said.