High School

Enzymes, substrates, enzyme specificity

Download Student Handout

Enzymes are an example of a protein catalyst.  Catalysts speed up chemical reactions by lowering the reaction’s activation energy.  Our bodies use these enzymes to quickly break down materials from our food so that we can use them in our bodies.  In this experiment, students investigate the enzyme lactase and use the enzyme to help them identify the sugars that are present in three milk samples: rice milk, soy milk, and cow’s milk.

Learning Objectives

Students will know

  • Enzymes
  • Disaccharides and monosaccharides

Students will understand

  • An enzyme can only interact with its substrate
  • Enzymes help break down the food we ingest

Students will be able to

  • Test three milk samples (rice, soy, and cow) with and without lactase and measure glucose concentrations.

How to Run the Experiment

Materials You Will Need

From the Enzyme Activity Lab bag

  • Soy milk powder
  • Rice milk powder
  • Cow milk powder
  • Lactase powder
  • 5mL tubes
  • Transfer pipettes
  • Glucose test strips

From the Box

From Home

  • Cup of water

Safety Information

Learning Undefeated is dedicated to bringing authentic laboratory science experiences to students, even while they’re learning at home. To maintain regular laboratory protocol, you will find all materials are labeled with a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Safety Diamond. This is used to quickly tell users about the hazards that a material possesses including health, flammability, and instability hazards. Though all of the materials contained in the kit are deemed very safe (a 0 or 1 on each category), we thought providing this information was important for students to see and begin learning about.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are provided as well.  Below you will find the MSDS for the reagents supplied in our Enzyme Activity Lab kit.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Below are the links to the Material Safety Data Sheets for each provided reagent.