This Catalase Enzyme Activity Lab has a technique which is easy for students (after the initial practice phase) and lets them gather multiple trials quickly and easily. It’s powerful because it allows exploration of important biochemistry concepts while reinforcing data analysis and utilizing graphing techniques tested on state math assessments.
Each group explores one set of conditions in detail then uses the data of other groups to graph and analyze several other conditions. I use this lab early in the year when I’m working on protein structure, enzymes, and how free energy relates to enzyme activity. The lab utilizes filter paper disks (cut out with a hole punch to keep them uniform sizes) dipped in catalase solutions which are then dropped into hydrogen peroxide. Students time how long it takes for the disks to rise (they rise when enough oxygen bubbles accumulate on the filter disks to make them buoyant in the hydrogen peroxide solution). The data produced is easily graphed and analyzed using box and whiskers graphs (aka box plots). Students are taught this graphing technique in math classes (and are tested on it on state assessments) but don’t often have the opportunity to apply them and therefore don’t appreciate their ease, elegance, and power.