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Activity

Hydrogen peroxide chemistry in plants

Summary: 
Test vegetables to see which ones can break down hydrogen peroxide.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: Chemical Changes (2, 7)
Materials: 
  • hydrogen peroxide in Dixie cups
  • pipettes
  • trays with small wells e.g. paint trays
  • veggies and yeast in cups to test
  • optional: molecule models
Procedure: 

A liquid called hydrogen peroxide is dangerous to living cells. It damages molecules and cells.
Living things have molecules called enzymes that break apart the H2O2 to inactivate it.
You’ll test a few living things to see if they contain enzymes that break apart H2O2.
Use the pipettes to put a small amount of H2O2 into the wells of the tray. Test each of the vegetables for breaking down H2O2 - if they do you will see gas bubbles. You might need to smush them up to spill the enzymes out.

Build molecular reaction: make two H2O2 molecules. Now break them apart to make water and a gas. What gas?

The bombardier beetle uses the same reaction, shooting a hot, irritating liquid at enemies.

Notes: 

Developed to fold into The Chemistry of Gases and Pressure lesson.

Teaching site: 
Prototyped only (not yet tested in a classroom)