High School

Macromolecules, monomers, polymers

Download Student Handout

Macromolecules are molecules made of many subunits called monomers. The major macromolecules in biology are proteins, fats, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates. Macromolecules make up everything inside your body.  In this activity, students test for the presence of complex carbohydrates and lipids in known samples to determine the makeup of an unknown material.

Learning Objectives

Students will know

  • Biomacromolecule groups
  • Polymers and monomers

Students will understand

  • an example of a test to identify complex carbohydrates
  • an example of a test to identify fats

Students will be able to

  • Test an unknown substance for the presence of lipids and complex carbohydrates

How to Run the Experiment

Materials You Will Need

From the Macromolecule Test bag

  • White cheddar cheese powder
  • Flour
  • Unidentified powder
  • Cotton swabs
  • Brown kraft paper
  • 10% Povidone iodine
  • 5mL tubes
  • Transfer pipettes
  • Activity Worksheet

From Home

  • Cup of water
  • Non-paper plate

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 Macromolecule Test kit.

Material Safety Data Sheets

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