Yeast Cells and Their Environment

 Author: Erik Misner 

AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 9-10


This lesson is designed to be an open-ended, inquiry-based laboratory for teaching the scientific method. Students are given an experimental question:

What conditions are suitable for growing microorganisms for the benefits of humans?

Then, students explore background information on the biology and growth of brewer’s yeast. Students hypothesize what general conditions may be beneficial for culturing yeast. Then they design an experiment by selecting two liquids that differ in the condition they wish to test (i.e. acidity, sugar content, tartness, decaffeination).

Students measure sugar consumption and carbon dioxide production as output variables. Then they analyze their data to draw conclusions. Finally, they write lab reports and give whiteboard presentations to report their findings.



Arizona High School-

Strand 1- Inquiry Process

Concept 1- Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses

  • PO 1- Evaluate scientific information for relevance to a given problem.
  • PO 2- Develop questions from observations that transition into testable hypotheses.
  • PO 3- Formulate a testable hypothesis.

Concept 2- Scientific Testing (Investigating and Modeling)

  • PO 1- Demonstrate safe and ethical procedures and behavior in all science inquiry.
  • PO 2- Identify the resources needed to conduct an investigation.
  • PO 3- Design an appropriate protocol for testing a hypothesis.
  • PO 4- Conduct a scientific investigation that is based on a research design.
  • PO 5- Record observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as journals, charts, graphs, and computers.

Concept 3- Analysis, Conclusions, and Refinements

  • PO 1- Interpret data that show a variety of possible relationships between variables.
  • PO 2- Evaluate whether investigational data support or do not support the proposed hypothesis.
  • PO 7- Propose further investigations based on the findings of a conducted investigation.

Concept 4- Communication

  • PO 2- Produce graphs that communicate data.
  • PO 3- Communicate results clearly and logically.
  • PO 4- Support conclusions with logical scientific arguments.

Strand 2- History and Nature of Science

Concept 2- Nature of Scientific Knowledge

  • PO 1- Specify the requirements of a valid, scientific explanation (theory).
  • PO 2- Explain the process by which accepted ideas are challenged or extended by scientific innovation.
  • PO 4- Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of theories.

Strand 4- Life Science

Concept 3- Interdependence of Organisms

  • PO 2- Describe how organisms are influenced by a particular combination of biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors in an environment.


National Standards:

Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry

As a result, students must be able to develop

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry


Content Standard C:Life Sciences

As aresult, students must be able to understand

  •  the interdependence of organisms.


 Lesson Plan (pdf / doc)
 Worksheet (pdf / doc)
 Microorganisms and their Environment (ppt) 
 Assignment Sheet and Rubric (pdf / doc)
 Summative Assessments (pdf / doc)