Part of Unit: The Role of Biotechnology
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
This lesson introduces students on the process of root beer making as part of biotechnology. This will also discuss the development of biotechnology from the time the Sumerians started brewing beer in 1750. Root beer making is a fun way to engage the students in the fermentation process and for them to see a practical aspect of biotechnology. The students will make their own root beer, following a general procedure, and will explain the biotechnology behind it.
- Two periods
- 57 Minutes
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- HSMT.A.A4.5 Understand the appropriate responses to a laboratory accident.
- HSMT.A.A6.3 Understand the necessity for accurate documentation and recordkeeping in biotech...
- HSMT.FS.5.3 Use critical thinking skills to make informed decisions and solve problems.
- HSMT.FS.5.4 Examine multiple options for completing work tasks by applying appropriate probl...
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
- ELA.9-10.R.CAGT.2.6 Demonstrate use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical direction...2
Objectives and Goals
- Students will study the history of biotechnology and where beer making is in the time line.
- Students will learn about fermentation and how it helps in root beer making.
- Students will discuss how root beer is made.
- Students will design their own root beer making process by varying some factors.
- Students will review some of the lab safety rules associated with this procedure.
Activities in this Lesson
- History of Biotechnology - Hooks / Set
Cut out the different events in the history of biotechnology from the resource given. Put them in a bowl and as the students come in, tell them to pick out one piece of paper from the bowl. When everybody has gotten one, let them stand up and tape their papers chronologically on a long butcher paper that is put up on a wall. They have to talk to one another to make sure that they are putting them up correctly from the earliest to the latest event based on the date given on each paper. When all the papers are taped, ask them to do a gallery walk to see the sequence of events. You may give them post-its to write on about interesting or surprising things that they saw on the timeline. They could stick their post-its next to the event that they have a comment on or just general comments. Afterwards, tell them to sit down and have a big group discussion on those comments. Focus the discussion on beer brewing as one of the earliest events in biotechnology.
Since they cannot brew beer in the classroom, the next best thing is to make root beer. Discuss with them fermentation and the general procedure of root beer making. Emphasize the role of yeast and sugar in the whole process. You can ask them, too, how root beer making is part of biotechnology by going back to the definition of biotechnology which is "the use of microorganisms to perform certain industrial processes". Discuss the role of fermentation in root beer making. After explaining step-by-step the instructions in making root beer, review with them them the lab safety rules. You may tell them the day before to bring their own materials and just provide the root beer concentrate or you could provide everything. Instead of the 2 liter bottle that was used in the procedure that you showed to them, just tell them to bring 500 mL water bottle per group. They have to reduce the amounts of all the other ingredients by a quarter since you are scaling down the procedure.They can also opt to change the amount of some ingredients and see what happens. The root beer concentrate is usually found at Raley's. Let them write the materials and procedure in their lab notebook.
- Root Beer Making - The lab - Lab / Shop
Tell them to make sure that everything is clean, even their lab table, since they are working with food. Tell the lab groups to drink or throw away around 100 mL of the water in their bottle to give room for the sugar, root beer concentrate and yeast that they will put in the bottle. They also have to make sure that there is enough space in the bottle because of the carbon dioxide that will form as soon as fermentation starts. When they are done, tell them to write describe the solution that they just made in terms of color, smell or even taste, if they want to.
- Post-Lab - Closure
Let them clean up afterwards.Tell them that they will bring their bottles with them because they will have to release the gas every so often. Otherwise, their bottles may explode. They will bring their bottles to class the next day. If the root beer is ready the next day, put it in the refrigerator. They may sample their root beer the next day, if they want to.
- Assessment Types:
- Lab Report
The next day, the students will bring their bottles. They will now write down their results which will be their observations on what happened to the mixture and the bottle. They will also answer the following guide questions for the discussion:
1. Explain the role of the sugar, yeast and root beer concentrate in root beer making.
2. Show a chemical reaction that happened which caused that bottle to expand. What gas is involved?
3. Given a chance, what part of the procedure wil you change and why?
4. What lab safety rules should be emphasized in this lab?
5. (optional) If they changed the amount of a certain ingredient, whether sugar, yeast or root beer concentrate, is there a difference in their result as compared to those who followed the procedure to the letter? If yes, describe the difference.
For the conclusion, the students should explain why root beer making is part of biotechnology. They should also write down what they have learned from it.