AP Environmental students at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy had the opportunity to explore fermentation through a design lab, thanks to the creativity of their teacher Amy Aspenwall. “This fits perfectly in the AP curriculum because it asks students to design an experiment around multiple variables and test those variables to compare findings to student-driven hypothesis,” said Aspenwall. The lab also touches on the content of ethanol production from corn.
Students enjoyed using observational data to measure the volume and quantitative data from a breathalyzer device. “They really made the connection between the molecules in corn and how they need to be converted to sugars with enzyme activity to increase the output of fermentation,” said Aspenwall. The students also completed an additional sheet of AP-math type questions relating to corn structure, crop yield, and energy yield per acre.
Other activities in the Energy and ethanol unit include nutrient testing and the production of ethanol. Try them with your students!