Catalase Enzyme Activity Lab

Catalase Enzyme Activity Lab

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.

Catalase Enzyme Activity Lab



One thought on “Catalase Enzyme Activity Lab”

  1. Thanks Paula!

    For AP I’ve always just used Carolina’s Enzyme refill kit. Weeks ago when I called them to have my dried catalase sent for last week they said they couldn’t fulfill that time frame but would have it here by today. I wasn’t sure if that was going to happen with President’s Day (it didn’t), so I decided to use your lab instead.

    It worked great after I realized that you were diluting the normal 3% solution. Otherwise, it goes a bit quick to time…

    I took a bit of video with my students but they were all terribly out of focus (I was getting to close). I did it again after school to get it better shot and this is what I got (still a bit blurry but you’ll get the picture).

    So for those that need a visual…

    As Paula said it allows for multiple trials to be completed over a short period of time. This is another great benefit of this lab for working with enzymes.

    Again, thanks Paula (and Brad who talked her into posting the lab)!

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