Biology final lab bio 103

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Final Applied Lab Project (1 credit Lab Component)

 Addresses course outcomes 1-4:

  • recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems
  • make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations
  • weigh evidence and make decisions based on strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge and the scientific method
  • use knowledge of biological principles, the scientific method, and appropriate technologies to ask relevant questions, develop hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, interpret results, and draw conclusions

This is the culminating lab assessment in BIOL 103. It is designed to assess your ability to apply the principles of the scientific method.

The Effect of low pH on Enzyme Activity

Design an experiment in which you will test the effect of an acidic fluid on enzymatic activity. Recall: enzymes are proteins! To complete this project, it may be useful for you to first review the Scientific Method Tutorial, information about pH and enzymes in the text book and course modules, Lab 1 (Introduction to Science) and Lab 4 (Enzymes).  As you review Lab 4, you will be reminded that there are several factors that impact enzymatic activity: pH, temperature, and amount of reagent. It is OK to use the same enzyme/substrate/method as you did in lab 4 (but modify the treatment), or you can search on-line to find a different enzyme/substrate/method for measuring enzyme activity for your project (include all references).

As you design your experiment for this project, please remember that you are trying to examine how an acidic fluid will modify the outcome of an enzymatic reaction.  To successfully complete this project, you will need to identify the question(s) being asked in your experiment and the hypothesis that you are testing.  In your experimental design, you must clearly explain what you are doing. That means that you will need to identify the enzyme, the substrate, the acidic fluid used as treatment, the control treatment and the method of measuring enzyme activity, as well as explain your experimental protocol.  You must also thoroughly explain how the acidic fluid impacted enzyme activity based on the results from your own experiment as well as knowledge of enzymes and pH from the text book, modules, lab manual and potentially additional information sources.

Hint: Keep in mind that the acid will change the environmental conditions of the experiment (for example, a low pH value could change the shape of the active site on the enzyme protein), without directly participating in the reaction.

Lab Materials

You may need all or some of the following, depending on your experimental design:

Materials from your lab kit:

  • pH paper
  • hydrogen peroxide solution (you can purchase this at a pharmacy if you have used up the bottle that came with the lab kit)
  • plastic beakers or cups
  • vinegar
  • yeast (can be purchased at grocery store if more is needed)
  • balloons
  • plastic bottle
  • marker for labeling of beakers
  • Cell phone/digital camera – pictures required

You may choose to use additional materials (different acidic fluids and/or different organisms and/or different substrate if you chose an enzyme other than catalase).


Include the following in your outline:

  • Name of enzyme you will use
  • Name of organism (if applicable)
  • The substrate and products in the chemical reaction
  • Method for measuring enzyme activity
  • Treatment: acidic fluid(s), pH, length of exposure, how you will treat your samples
  • The control(s) in the experiment
  • Hypothesis
  • How you will present your data (table and/or type of graph)
  • Anything else you would like to get feedback on before you start your experiment

Write a lab report that includes the following:

1. Title page: descriptive title, your name, course name, semester

2. Introduction: general background information about enzymes and specific information about your chosen enzyme, the question(s) that you are asking and a clear hypothesis for your experiment (20 points).

3. Design an experiment. Provide a detailed description of the materials and methods used to conduct the experiment. Identify control and experimental samples, as well as independent and dependent variables. Also include the methods used for data collection and analysis (20 points).

4. Conduct the experiment and record your results. Take picture(s) of your results. What did you observe? Present your data in table and/or graph format. Remember to label everything and include the unit of measure with all numbers (20 points)

5. Use your knowledge of enzymes and pH to interpret and discuss your results. It may be necessary for you to refer to the OLI course modules, lab manual and/or use additional information resources. What effect does the acidic treatment have on enzyme activity? Did you get the expected results? Explain. (20 points)

6. State a specific and accurate conclusion. Is your hypothesis supported by the results? Looking back, how could you have improved your experiment? (10 points)

7. Include a list of references to all information sources used in APA format (5 points).

Avoid Plagiarism

It is very important to write with your own words. If you do copy one or two sentences directly (use sparingly), use quotation marks (“) around the copied text, followed by an in-text reference. All information sources need to be included in the reference list and as in-text references. Plagiarism will be reported to the proper UMUC authority. Guidance on how to avoid plagiarism can be found here:


Submit your final applied lab project in the assignment folder by the due date specified in the course schedule.  


Your Outline will be graded based on the following criteria (100 points total):




Excellent (90-100%)

Good (70-89%)

Adequate (60-69%)

Unsatisfactory (0-59%)


100 points


Outline includes all the required components and planned experiment meets requirements for the assignment and is clearly and accurately described. Submitted on time.

90-100 points

Outline missing one or two of the required components, and/or planned experiment does not meet one of requirements for the assignment and/or minor issues with clarity and accuracy.

70-89 points

Outline missing several of the required components, and/or planned experiment does not meet several of the requirements for the assignment and/or major issues with clarity and accuracy.

60-69 points

Outline missing most of the required components and planned experiment does not meet the requirements of the assignment.

0-59 points

Your Final Applied Lab Project will be graded based on the following criteria (100 points total):


Excellent (90-100%)

Good (75-89%)

Adequate (50-74%)

Unsatisfactory (0-49%)

Introduction, Question and Hypothesis


20 points

Background information about enzymes in general and about specific enzyme used in project is clearly and accurately written. Questions and hypothesis are specific, relevant and clearly stated.

18-20 points

Background information about enzymes in general and about specific enzyme is somewhat unclear and/or inaccurate. Questions and hypothesis could be more specific, relevant and clearly stated.

15-17 points

Missing background information about enzymes in general or about specific enzyme used in project or questions and hypothesis.  

10-14 point

Missing background information about enzymes in general and about specific enzyme used in project and questions/hypothesis.


0-9 points

Experimental Design, Materials and Methods


20 points

Experiment is designed to directly test the hypothesis; description of experiment is detailed and well written and includes all materials and methods used.


18-20 points

Experiment is mostly designed to test the hypothesis and/or description of experiment is somewhat inaccurate and/or some information about materials and methods used is missing and/or minor problems with clarity an organization.

 15-17 points

Experiment is barely designed to test the hypothesis and/or description of experiment is inaccurate and/or most of the materials and methods used are missing and/or major problems with clarity an organization.

 10-14 points

Experiment is not designed to test hypothesis and/or description of experiment and materials and methods used are missing.

 0-9 points



20 points

Results are clearly and accurately presented in a table and/or graph and picture(s).

18-20 points

Results are presented, but minor problems with clarity and/or accuracy.

 15-17 points

Results are described, but major problems with clarity and/or accuracy and/or results not presented in table or graph.

 10-14 points

Results are not included


0-9 points

Discussion of Results


20 points

A clear, accurate and well organized discussion of results that demonstrates good knowledge of enzymes.

18-20 points

Minor problems with clarity, accuracy or organization and/or demonstrates some gaps in knowledge of enzymes.  

15-17 points

Major problems with clarity, accuracy or organization or demonstrates minimal knowledge of enzymes.  

10-14 points

Missing discussion of results, or major problems with clarity, accuracy or organization and missing understanding of enzymes.   

0-9 points



10 points

A well stated conclusion that is accurate and specific and directly related to the data collected. Clearly stated whether or not the results support the hypothesis. Relevant suggestion for improvement of experiment.

 9-10 points

Conclusion stated, but slightly inaccurate, and/or not directly related to data collected and/or suggestion for improvement of experiment not very relevant.  

7-8 points

Conclusion stated, but inaccurate and/or barely related to data collected and/or missing suggestion for improvement of experiment.   

5-6 points

Missing conclusion, only suggestion for improvement of experiment.  


 0-4 points



5 points

All references used are included and in correct APA format, in-text references are included.

5 points

All references are included, but a few minor mistakes in APA format, and/or missing in-text references.

4 points

Missing one or several references and/or major mistakes in APA format.

2-3 point

No references included or references not in APA format.


0-1 points

Grammar and Spelling

 5 points

0 – 3 minor spelling and grammatical errors

5 points

Between 4 and 7 minor spelling and grammatical errors

4 points

Between 8 and 12 spelling and grammatical errors

3 point

More than 13 spelling and grammatical errors

 0-2 points

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