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Enzyme Reaction (Lab Scale Ethanol Fermentation Experiment)
Level: Grades 5-12

• Cornmeal
• Boiling water
• Small cup or container
• Plastic spoon or stir stick
• Alpha Amylase (enzyme)
• Pipette
• Measuring cup or spoon (depending on the amount you use)
1. Boil or heat up water.
2. Measure out 1 part cornmeal with 2 parts boiling water.
3. Stir with spoon until thick.
4. Add a drop or two of alpha amylase to the mixture and stir.
There should be a viscosity change from thick to thin once the alpha amylase is added and stirred. This is because the enzyme is breaking down the starch to create sugars from the cornmeal. In fermentation, yeast then ingests the fermentable sugars created from this enzyme break down to yield alcohol production.
NGSS standards addressed with this activity include:
MS.Chemical Reactions
MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after.
HS.Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS2-6. Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials. (function of enzymes)
HS.Chemical Reactions HS-PS1-5. Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature occurs.
The state of Kansas is fortunate to have an abundant supply of energy resources. The goal of the Kansas Energy Expo is to provide an opportunity for students of all ages to learn more about the state’s resources and how energy works to power their everyday lives.
Through hands-on experiences, interactive displays and engaging presentations, students will explore five areas:
• Oil and Gas
• Transportation
• Energy Efficiency
• Utilities
• Renewable Energy
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