Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Biology through Inquiry Teacher Guide
This manual features 22 challenging, standards-based, inquiry lab activities for AP, IB, and honors programs.
Students use temperature probes to measure the effect of cell size on cell cooling rate using cubes of potato tissue.
Students model the effect of cell size on cell cooling rate using cubes of potato tissue. Potato cubes of different sizes are placed in ice water and multiple temperature probes are used to simultaneously measure the interior temperature of each cube and the temperature of the ice bath. Students determine if and how the difference in cooling rates relates to the difference in surface-area-to-volume ratios (SA:V) of the cubes. Students then consider variables other than size that might affect the SA:V ratio and design an experiment that tests the effect of that variable on the cooling rate of a cell, using potato tissue to model the cell.
This lab provides a good opportunity for students to perform numerous trials for each condition of their student-designed experiment and calculate average cooling rates. The runs can be short (approximately 2 minutes), allowing students to run many trials during a single class period.
This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.