A cell membrane’s ability to adjust to varying conditions is truly remarkable! Is there a limit to the amount of stress cell’s plasma membrane experiences before the cell becomes vulnerable? Students explore potential membrane damage by exposing beet cells to four different concentrations of ethyl alcohol. Equal concentrations of ethyl alcohol and n-propyl alcohol are also compared to determine the effect of molecule size on membrane damage. Solutions are transferred to cuvets and the absorbance of the solutions is measured so students can easily correlate the amount of membrane damage to the concentration of alcohol.
Kit includes enough materials for 15 groups of students. Fresh beets and a colorimeter or spectrophotometer are required but not included.
Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Science & Engineering Practices
Developing and using models Planning and carrying out investigations Analyzing and interpreting data Using mathematics and computational thinking
Disciplinary Core Ideas
HS-LS1.A: Structure and Function
Cause and effect Systems and system models Structure and function Stability and change
HS-LS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.