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gcse enzymes worksheet

Enzymes teaching resources

Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about enzymes  (gcse and key stage 3).

Overview: enzymes are protein molecules that act as catalysts , speeding up chemical reactions without themselves getting used up. Each enzyme will only speed up a specific reaction, for example, catalase will speed up the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen but it will not speed up the breakdown of starch into glucose. Enzymes (e.g. catalase) have active sites with specific shapes that bind to the substrate molecule (e.g. hydrogen peroxide) forming an enzyme-substrate complex. The enzyme-substrate complex then breaks down into the enzyme and product, allowing the enzyme to go on and react with another substrate molecule. Temperature and pH affect enzyme function because they can change the shape of the enzyme’s active site, preventing it from binding to the substrate, just as a broken lock will no longer fit the key. When the shape of an enzyme changes we call this denaturation. Any factor that increases the frequency of collisions between enzymes and substrates (increasing concentration, surface area or temperature) will increase the rate of reaction .

Big idea: organisms are organised on a cellular basis and have a finite life span

Key concept:  enzymes are protein molecules with specific shapes that speed up chemical reactions without being used up. Factors such as concentration, temperature and pH affect enzyme action.

Prior knowledge: rates of reaction ; bonding ; catalysts and activation energy

Teaching resources

Where to start.

The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is a great place to begin thinking about enzymes. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen will happen spontaneously, but the addition of a catalyst e.g. catalase will speed this reaction up. Don’t believe me?! Then have a go at the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide demonstration using MnO2 (a chemical catalyst) and a piece of liver (containing catalase, a biological catalyst). Heat the liver and it no longer works. This will then begin an exploration of denaturation.

Modelling enzyme action

One of the best ways to help students understand enzyme action is to build Plasticine models of enzymes breaking down (or building up) substrate molecules. Students can modify the models to show denaturation and the effects of temperature, inhibitors and pH. Make sure you stress the different effects of temperature – denaturation versus collision theory. If possible, ask students to film their models and add annotations to help them consider the dynamic nature of enzyme action.

What do enzymes look like?

The Protein Data Bank provides some beautiful structures of enzymes.

Factors that affect enzyme action

GCSE activity for students to apply their knowledge of enzymes . Students work in pairs to apply their understanding of factors that affect enzymes. They will need to consider pH, temperature and enzyme specificity. This activity assesses and consolidates learning by asking students to apply their knowledge to novel situations. ( PDF )

Thinking deeper

  • What does lemon juice, snake venom and cyanide have in common?
  • Why can you make pineapple jelly from tinned pineapple but not fresh pineapple?
  • When we cool an enzyme reaction the rate of reaction decreases. Do enzymes denature at low temperatures?
  • How does decreasing the pH cause denaturation?
  • Why do you die of heat stroke?

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Enzymes are essential for life. The body contains dozens of different types of enzymes. They are responsible for speeding up chemical reactions inside your body.

Kristina

Enzymes are indispensable for our body's functioning. They come in various forms and play a crucial role in accelerating the chemical reactions within us.

All living organisms rely on thousands of chemical reactions within them for their everyday activities, such as metabolism. The key is maintaining proper balance in these reactions; always having the correct amount of substances is essential.

Raising the temperature can often lead to a faster reaction, which could cause unwanted reactions. Additionally, increasing the temperature to a certain point inside a living creature can damage its cells. Therefore, it is not always a good idea.

Enzymes, produced by living organisms, are known to be powerful catalysts. They need much lower temperatures than most other chemical reactions, helping speed up the beneficial reactions in our bodies. Without them, these processes would take much longer.

Enzymes are composed of long protein chains, which are, in turn, amino acids. The unique shapes they form by folding the amino acid chains give them the capacity to perform their respective tasks.

Enzymes: catalysts for living organisms

👉 The inner workings of living things feature thousands of chemical reactions simultaneously. Balance and control are essential to ensure the right amount of substances is always present.

👉 Raising the temperature can often help speed up useful reactions but can also lead to unwanted ones. There is, however, a limit to how much you can raise the temperature inside a living creature before its cells become damaged.

👉 Organisms generate enzymes as biocatalysts, which promote faster chemical reactions and make them operate effectively at relatively lower temperatures. In other words, enzymes allow us to accomplish processes more efficiently in our bodies.

👉 Every enzyme is a large protein consisting of chains of amino acids folded into distinct shapes. This particular structure enables the enzymes to carry out their specific functions.

Enzymes: unique shapes to catalyse reactions

Enzymes are life's building blocks, enabling various biochemical reactions to occur. They have unique shapes that allow them to bind substrates and catalyse reactions more efficiently. This speeds up the process and yields more desired results due to their higher specificity for certain substrates.

👉 Chemical reactions typically involve breaking down or combining materials.

👉 Every enzyme has a different active site with a shape designed to fit into the substance it needs to interact with, thus enabling the chemical reaction.

👉 Enzymes are very particular and typically can catalyse only one reaction.

👉 To enable the enzyme to function, it has to fit with the substrate in its active site. If the active site doesn't align with that of the enzyme, it won't catalyse a reaction.

👉 The mechanism by which enzymes facilitate chemical reactions goes beyond our simple explanation. The enzyme's active site changes shape as it binds to the substrate, creating an even better fit. This process is called the ' induced fit ' model of enzyme action.

Diagram: lock and key model of enzyme action

Lock and key model of enzyme action

Enzymes are essential to many biochemical reactions, but their effectiveness relies heavily on their environment . While they can be incredibly effective catalysts when the correct pH and temperature conditions are present, any deviation from those parameters can render them useless. Despite this limitation , enzymes provide a unique solution to many complex biological problems that would otherwise be impossible without them.

Temperature also plays a role

👉 Varying the temperature can alter the pace of an enzyme-driven reaction, making it go faster or slower.

👉 As is the case with any reaction, raising the temperature will boost its rate of occurrence.

The optimum temperature point where the enzyme is most active.

👉 Excessive heat can compromise the integrity of certain enzymes. This alters the shape of the active site, making it incompatible with its substrate and rendering it " denatured ".

👉 Every enzyme has an optimal temperature at which it functions most effectively .

So, does the right pH

👉 The pH levels can also influence enzyme activity . If they're either too high or too low, the bonds maintaining the structure of these enzymes can be disrupted.

👉 The form of the active site is altered, and the enzyme is destabilised due to this transformation. It denatures the enzyme.

👉 Every enzyme works best at an optimum pH level , with neutral pH of 7 being the most common. Pepsin is an example of this - it is instrumental in breaking down proteins in the stomach, and its optimal pH is 2, perfect for such a highly acidic environment.

The optimum pH level where the enzyme is most active.

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GCSE Biology (9-1) - Digestive Enzymes - Worksheet

GCSE Biology (9-1) - Digestive Enzymes - Worksheet

Subject: Biology

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

Cognito Education

Last updated

16 November 2018

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pdf, 115.07 KB

This worksheet explores where digestive enzymes are made, what they breakdown, and what they produce.

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Thanks for these - I recently discovered your wonderful videos on YouTube and have been using them for a boy that I teach (he is being home-schooled). I've been getting him to watch a video for homework, and complete a worksheet that I make (to make sure he has watched it!). Then we go over it at the start of the lesson then reinforce what he's learned with other activities. Currently doing Chemistry & Physics, but I'll let his Biology tutor know about these.

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Great! Thankyou x

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