I designed this investigation for AP biology though it could be modified to work with students in introductory biology classes. First students learn the four macromolecules important to life: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.
They can then venture into the lab where they use indicators to test for the presence of these molecules in a Happy Meal. Buy a happy meal and place all of the contents into a blender to make “McMush.”
Each student or group receives a sample of the McMush and then various regents to perform tests. Use Benedict’s reagant to test for the presence of glucose, Sudan III will test for the presence of lipids, and Biuret’s Reagant for the presence of proteins.
They should observe positive reactions in known solutions (glucose, starch, egg whites) . Compare that to negative reactions in water, which serves as a control.
A prelab section summarizes the composition of the macromolecules emphasizing how each is composed of subunits called monomers. Students should read this section and fill out the charts prior to running the tests.
A final analysis section uses the CER model (claim, evidence, reasoning) for students to communicate. Here they make claims about which macromolecules are found in the McMush. They must defend their answer with evidence and scientific reasoning.
This lab is a big hit for AP students!