Long Beach High School’s International Baccalaureate Biology seniors dedicated the entire school day of Dec. 17 to experiments that they designed independently. Under the guidance of teacher Karen Bloom, each student selected an aspect of science to deeply explore through hands-on laboratory experiences.
The project accounts for a fifth of the students’ final grade, and they took it on with enthusiasm. For months leading up to this culminating event, students researched topics, wrote drafts, developed procedures, revised work and obtained supplies. They adhered to the intense IB rubric for writing labs, which they reviewed in class.
Students worked individually in carrying out their experiments, some of which had not been done in previous years, and assisted peers with projects in related categories. They broke down gelatin with pepsin, measured carbon dioxide released from yeast and sugar mixtures, extracted and tested catalase from potatoes and used solutions to make enzyme beads that remove lactose from milk, among other procedures.
After hours of trial and error that ultimately led to successful execution of their plans, the students are now tasked with communicating and illustrating their objectives, strategies, observations and analyses in a 12-page report.