Students learn that yeasts, a type of fungi, are unicellular organisms that are useful to humans. In fact, their usefulness is derived from the contrast between the way yeast cells and human cells respire. Specifically, while animal cells derive energy from the combination of oxygen and glucose and produce water and carbon dioxide as by-products, yeasts respire without oxygen. Instead, yeasts break glucose down and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide as their by-products. The lesson is also intended to provoke questions from students about the effects of alcohol on the human body, to which the teacher can provide objective answers.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standard Network (ASN), a project of JES & Co. (www.jesandco.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Click on the standard groupings to explore this hierarchy as it applies to this document.
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- North Carolina: Math
- North Carolina: Science
- Understand the processes, structures and functions of living organisms that enable them to survive, reproduce and carry out the basic functions of life. (Grade 7)  ...show
- Understand the composition of various substances as it relates to their ability to serve as a source of energy and building materials for growth and repair of organisms. (Grade 8)  ...show
- Analyze the relationships between biochemical processes and energy use in the cell. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Analyze photosynthesis and cellular respiration in terms of how energy is stored, released, and transferred within and between these systems. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Students will be able to compare and contrast cellular respiration in yeast vs. plant and animal cells.
- Students will be able to describe the role of yeasts in the production of bread and alcoholic beverages.
- Students will be able to describe the short-term effects of alcohol on the human nervous and digestive systems.
- Students will be able to describe the long-term effects of alcohol that are the result of alcoholism.
Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers
Alcohol's Effects On the Body
Body of Lesson:
- Yeast Cells Respire, Too (But Not Like Me and You) - Students set up a simple way to indirectly observe and quantify the amount of respiration occurring in yeast-molasses cultures.
- In order for respiration to occur in a yeast cell, what material or materials must be present in the cell?
- oxygen and water
- glucose and oxygen
- glucose only
- water and carbon dioxide
- Yeast respiration is an example of:
- anaerobic respiration
- aerobic respiration
- anabolic respiration
- none of the above
- The by-products of yeast respiration are:
- carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol
- carbon dioxide and water
- oxygen and ethyl alcohol
- carbon dioxide, ethyl alcohol, and water
- Which is a characteristic of alcoholism?
- a craving for alcoholic drinks
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and shaking, when alcohol is not available
- the need for increasing amounts of alcohol to reach a relaxed feeling
- all of the above
- True or False:
- Alcohol begins to affect the body quickly because it does not need to be digested.
- Alcohol slows the rate at which messages are sent between nerve cells.
- Alcohol can affect coordination, but it does not affect vision.
- Dehydration can follow the consumption of several cans of beer, even though beer is over 90% water.
- Heavy drinking causes fat deposits to develop in the liver.
- Most alcoholics are able to stop drinking on their own once they realize they have alcoholism.
- Alcoholism is a disease.
- Yeasts are not plants or animals.
Lesson Extension Activities
"Alcohol," National Geographic, February 1992. This is a long article full of information about many aspects of alcohol and its consumption, which also contains good diagrams of alcohol's effects on the body.
Alcoholism, Time-Life Medical, 1996. An inexpensive, easy to understand, 30-minute video intended for alcoholic patients and their family members. It has an excellent graphic sequence showing how prolonged alcohol use alters the way nerve cells in the brain operate, resulting in the intense craving and withdrawal symptoms experienced by alcoholics. (Available from Milner-Fenwick, 800-432-8433 or www.milner-fenwick.com/pe/tlmv.htm).
FAQs on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed May 14, 2002. Concise information about alcoholism presented in a question-and-answer format. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/faq/faq.htm
Mary R. Hebrank, project and lesson/activity consultant
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2004 Duke University
Engineering K-PhD Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
Last modified: February 11, 2016