Understanding the Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Potential Effects on Climate Change (Lead PI: Steve Miller)

Understanding the Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Potential Effects on Climate Change

Students Reached:  142 High School students
Lead Researcher: Dr. Steve Miller, Indiana University
Lead Teacher: Mr. Norman Leonard, Pike High School

This project aimed to engage high school students to think about how carbon dioxide (CO2) production can affect climate change, while also building on an ongoing collaboration between Dr. Steve Miller, Associate Professor of Surgery at Indiana University, and Mr. Norman Leonard, a science teacher at Pike High School. Dr. Miller has been giving demonstrations in Mr. Leonard’s class every year since 2008, and they have expanded this relationship to run the laboratory experiments supported by this award.

Students in Introductory Biology or AP Environmental Science classes taught by Mr. Leonard tested yeast CO2 production and how it varies between the different energy sources used by the yeast. This served as a model for aquatic ecosystems and a way for students of both classes to think more deeply about the roles of oxygen and CO2 in the health of our oceans and our climate. They were asked to generate their own research questions and hypotheses before the lab began, and to consider what parts of their experiment would be comparable to the environmental contributions of decomposers, dumped sewage, or agricultural run-off. After an introduction by Dr. Miller, both he and Mr. Leonard helped the students set up and execute their experiments. Of the 142 students involved, 85% were from historically underrepresented groups and 65% were from low income households.

ASBMB HOPES funding was used to purchase additional Vernier CO2 detection probes and their accompanying biochambers, milk and yeast for experiments, and transportation and training costs for Dr. Miller and Mr. Leonard. The CO2 probes are owned by Pike High School and will be used for future replicates of this experiment, which Dr. Miller and Mr. Leonard plan to host yearly, and in other experiments performed by Pike High School students as part of the AP Environmental Science class.

MillerLeonard_1  MillerLeonard_2

Students conducting the experiments supported by this ASBMB HOPES award.