BIOLOGY

Module 1: The Molecular and Cellular Bases of Life

Lab 2: Basic Chemistry

A. Atoms and Elements

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

Activity

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  • Using a periodic table of the elements, fill in the following chart:

 

Atomic Number

Atomic Weight

Number of Protons

Number of Neutrons

Number of Electrons

Type(s) of Bond this Atom can form

Hydrogen

Carbon

Nitrogen

Oxygen

Chlorine

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Module 1: The Molecular and Cellular Bases of Life

Lab 2: Basic Chemistry

B. Properties of Water

Powdered Sugar Activity

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

  • 1 clear glass
  • powdered sugar (powdered sugar is preferred but granulated sugar will work also)
  • a measuring teaspoon

Activity

Top of Form

  • Fill a water glass to the rim, so that the water is bulging at the top of the glass, almost running over. You will be taking a spoonful of sugar and carefully adding the sugar, a little bit at a time, to the water. Before adding the sugar, answer the following question:
  • Make a prediction as to whether you think the water will run over the sides once you add the sugar. Explain why you think the water will behave as you predict.
  • Now slowly add the sugar to the water, being careful not to let the spoon touch the water or let too much sugar drop onto the surface of the water at one time. If you are not using powdered sugar, you can use granulated sugar but you should be extra careful about not adding too much sugar at one time.
  • Observe what happens and record your observations.
  • What happened when the sugar was added to the glass?
  • Was your prediction correct? If not, can you now provide a reason for your results?
  • What properties of water did this experiment show? Why? Provide an example, other than any discussed above, as to why the properties of water that you observed in this experiment are beneficial to biological systems.

Food Coloring Activity

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

  • 3 clear glasses
  • food coloring (or ink from a pen)
  • a clock or watch
  • tap water
  • a refrigerator
  • a heat source for heating water (stove, microwave, or hot tap water)

Activity

Fill two of the clear glasses with the same measured amount of water (one measured cup is sufficient).

 

  • Allow one to spend about an hour at room temperature, sitting out on the counter. This is your Room Temperature Water glass.
  • Allow the second glass to sit in the refrigerator for an hour. This is your Cold Water glass.
  • After the hour has passed, heat some water (either from the tap or by using the stove or the microwave), and fill a third clear glass with hot water in the same amount as used in the other two glasses. This is your Hot Water glass.
  • Set all three glasses in front of you—make sure that you know which glass contains which temperature of water.
  • Before proceeding any further, be sure that the water in all three glasses is still (no movement). You will be taking some food coloring (red or blue works best) and dropping 2 drops of food coloring in each glass. If you do not have access to food coloring, any liquid dye (ink, for example) will work. Before adding the food coloring or dye, answer the following question:
  • Make a prediction as to which glass of water will have the food coloring distributed evenly throughout the glass after 15 minutes. Explain why you think the food coloring will behave as you predict.

 

  • Add the food coloring—be careful not to touch the glasses or jostle them in any manner—and observe what happens for the next fifteen minutes. You can hold a white sheet of paper behind each glass to get a better view of the dye in the water. Record your observations.
  • What happened when the dye was placed in each glass?
  • Was your prediction correct? If not, can you now provide a reason to explain your results?
  • What property of water did this experiment show? Why? Provide an example, other than any discussed above, as to why the properties of water that you observed in this experiment are beneficial to biological systems.

Ice Activity

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

  • 1 cup (either Styrofoam, paper, or plastic—do not use a glass!)
  • tap water
  • a clock or watch
  • a freezer

Activity

Fill the Styrofoam, paper, or plastic cup to the brim with water and place it in the freezer, undisturbed, for at least 24 hours. DO NOT use a glass or a closed container for this experiment!

 

  • While the cup is in the freezer, make a prediction as to the level of the ice in the cup when you open the freezer in 24 hours. Explain why you made this prediction.

 

  • When you retrieve the cup from the freezer, observe both the cup and the ice and record your observations.
  • What happened when the water froze in the cup?
  • Was your prediction correct? If not, can you now provide a reason to explain your results?
  • What property of water did this experiment show? Why? Provide an example, other than any discussed above, as to why the properties of water that you observed in this experiment are beneficial to biological systems.

Raw Egg Activity

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

  • 2 clear glasses
  • tap water
  • 1 very fresh raw egg. (A raw egg that has been in the refrigerator for a while is not preferred.)
  • 1 ice cube
  • a measuring teaspoon
  • 6 teaspoons table salt

Activity

Fill two glasses with 1 cup (8 oz. or similar amount) of water each. You will be placing a fresh raw egg (do not use a hardboiled egg and do not break the egg) in the water of one glass and an ice cube in the water of the other, so select glasses that are large enough to accommodate the displacement of the water from the added items.

 

  • Before placing both the egg and the ice in the glasses, make a prediction as to whether you believe the ice cube and the egg will either float or sink. Explain why you think either item will either float or sink.

 

  • Place the egg and the ice cube in the water. Observe whether either item sinks or floats, and record your observations.
  • Take the egg and the ice cube out of the glasses (but don’t empty the glasses) and set them aside (you will be putting them back in the glasses in a few minutes).
  • Mix three teaspoons of salt into each glass of water.
  • Before placing both the egg and the ice in the salt water, make a prediction as to whether you believe the ice cube and the egg will float or sink. Explain why you think either item will either float or sink.
  • Put the egg and the ice cube back into the glasses. Observe whether either item sinks or floats, and record your observations.
  • What happened when the egg and the ice cube were placed in the water? What happened when the egg and ice cube were placed in the salt water? Explain why this happened to each.
  • Were your predictions correct? If not, can you now provide a reason to explain your results?
  • What property of water did this experiment show? Why? Provide an example, other than any discussed above, as to why the properties of water that you observed in this experiment are beneficial to biological systems.

Balloon Activity

Lab Materials

Materials in your lab kit:

  • none

Additional materials you will need:

  • safety goggles
  • 2 identical balloons (same size, same color)—uninflated
  • a measuring cup
  • tap water
  • matches

Activity

Note: It is recommended to perform this experiment outside or in an area where the floor is not flammable or cannot be damaged in case you accidentally drop the match when the balloon breaks. Using lighted matches should be done with care and with the use of proper eye protection, such as safety goggles.

  • Obtain two identical balloons—the same size and same color. Blow up one of the balloons and tie the end. Place about ¼ cup (about 2 oz.) of water in the other balloon, then blow it up and tie the end. You will be lighting a match and holding it under each balloon. You will be allowing the flame to touch the balloon.
  • Before you light any matches, make a prediction as to which balloon will break faster when it first comes in contact with the flames. Explain why you made this prediction.
  • Choose one of the balloons and hold it with one hand at the tied end so that the opposite end is directly below the tied end.
  • Apply the lighted match directly to the bottom surface of the balloon. Hold the balloon away from your face and away from other individuals, as the balloon will break.
  • Observe how long it takes for the balloon to break after the match has been placed on the balloon’s surface. It is not necessary to measure the actual amount of time it takes for each balloon to break; it is only important to note which balloon broke first and which lasted longer under the flame.
  • Repeat steps c. through e. with the other balloon.
  • Which balloon broke first and which balloon withstood the flame longer before breaking?
  • What was different between the two balloons?
  • Were your predictions correct? If not, can you now provide a reason to explain your results?
  • What property of water did this experiment show? Why? Provide an example, other than any discussed above, as to why this property of water that you observed in this experiment is beneficial to biological systems.

 

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