Honors Biochemistry Online Course Outline

21 lessons with 7, two-hour labs

Lessons will be completed online

Labs will take place in Firelight Academy's lab room on your schedule

There is an optional Cadaver Lab Field Trip at the end of this course!


Lab 1: Examining the Crime Scene: Students will start the course by walking into a mock crime scene. Students will use forensic science to observe blood spatter, vomit contents, fingerprints, and body positioning. Lastly, we will complete a lab that tests for time of death.


Questions they will answer:

  1. What are the components to the scientific method?

  2. How do I systematically analyze a situation when adrenaline levels are high?

  3. How do blood spatter patterns help us recreate what happens at a scene?

  4. How do I design graphs and data tables to use as evidence for a claim?

  5. How does temperature indicate time of death?

  6. Why does the Glaister equation not always work?


Lab 2: Testing the Evidence: Students will test contents of the drugs found at the crime scene from the week prior to see if they are illegal substances or substances that could contribute to an overdose (drugs are fake!). Students will use similar parameters to test the contents found in the stomach of the victim. Students will use their knowledge of macromolecules to determine proper controls for the experiment and make conclusions on what the diet of the victim consisted of.


Questions they will answer:

  1. How do I use the components of the scientific method to independently complete research?

  2. How do I use data to support a claim?

  3. How do chemical changes help us determine unlabeled substances?

  4. What are macromolecules, and how do they compose the food that we eat?

  5. What is the purpose of each monomer in our bodies?

  6. What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats?

  7. What determines if something is solid, liquid, and gaseous?


Lab 3: Exploring DNA: Testing DNA at crime scenes is important when trying to determine cause of death. Students will learn how to extract DNA from substances, and they will use that knowledge to determine genetic profiling via mock gel electrophoresis. Students will examine the blood found at the crime scene and complete a blood typing lab. They will complete a pedigree based on the blood types of the family members of the victim using their knowledge of gamete division that occurs in meiosis.


Questions they will answer:

  1. What is the chemical composition of DNA?

  2. What is the function of enzymes?

  3. How does gel electrophoresis work on a molecular level?

  4. How is DNA passed down to descendants through meiosis?

  5. How can we use pedigrees to predict genetic outcomes in families?

  6. How do Punnett Squares enable us to predict genetic outcomes?

  7. How does blood relate to genetics?

  8. What are the chemical compositions of blood that cause type A, type B, and type O?


Lab 4: Genetic Abnormalities: Students will transition from forensics to medicine as they discover mutations in the subject’s DNA that cause hypercholesterolemia. Students will examine how mutations occur on a chemical level as they explore protein synthesis. Because hypercholesterolemia affects the heart, students will discuss how that condition could lead to possible causes of death. They will refer back to the stomach contents found in Lab 2 and make conclusions of how diet and genetic conditions can relate to overall health. They will engage in an engineering activity that allows them to make their own pump, and then apply the parameters of hypercholesterolemia to that pump to show how cholesterol affects the function of the heart.


Questions they will answer:

  1. What is the purpose of protein synthesis?

  2. How do chemical alterations of DNA affect protein synthesis?

  3. What is cholesterol and how does it affect your body?

  4. How does diet affect cholesterol?

  5. How does pressure affect volume and fluid movement?

  6. How does atmospheric pressure and gravity affect fluid movement?


Lab 5: Dissecting the Heart: Students will review the function of the heart and then complete a sheep heart dissection. Students will label and describe the function of each structure. Students will then complete a blood pressure lab using Logger Pro software and probes. This lab will be the research that supports a formal lab report.


Questions they will answer:

  1. How does the heart work?

  2. What are the anatomical structures of the heart?

  3. What is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure?

  4. How does cholesterol affect blood pressure?

  5. How do I conduct my own research?

  6. How do I write a proper lab report?


Lab 6: Medicating for High Blood Pressure: Students will learn about one of the many types of medications prescribed to patients with high blood pressure: diuretics. Students will learn how diuretics affect blood pressure via osmosis, and how blood pressure can be manipulated. Students will participate in an osmosis lab, and learn about how sodium levels affect water’s flow. Students will then observe a pig kidney to see how where in the body the blood pressure medications affect water output. Lastly, students will learn how hypertension affects kidney function.


Questions they will answer:

  1. How does osmosis work?

  2. How can osmosis be manipulated?

  3. What substances can water pass through?

  4. What substances can sodium pass through?

  5. What is the function of the kidney?

  6. How does the kidney help regulate blood pressure?

  7. How does high blood pressure affect the kidney?


Lab 7: Metabolic Acidosis: Students will learn about a condition that occurs with kidney failure called metabolic acidosis. Relating what was learned about diet in Lab 6, students will discover how poor kidney function increases blood acidity. Students will learn about acids, bases, and the pH scale. Students will complete a urinalysis lab that tests for urine pH. Students will learn how chemical reactions can neutralize pH by combining acids and bases. Students will complete chemical reactions to determine the result of acid/base reactions.


Questions they will answer:

  1. How does kidney failure lead to metabolic acidosis?

  2. What is the pH scale?

  3. How is pH tested?

  4. What is an acid/base reaction?

  5. How do chemicals react?


Putting it all together: Students will learn the cause of death of the patient found on the floor in Lab 1. Students will then take preventative measures for future patients by creating a sample nutrition plan for patients to follow. Students will list the macromolecules involved in each food source, what the monomers do for the body on a chemical level, how the lipids affect cholesterol levels, how the sodium affect blood pressure, and how the pH of the food affects blood pH. This will be a graded final presentation.


Questions they will answer:

  1. How do I combine multiple subjects I’ve learned?

  2. How well do I know the material that I’ve learned?

  3. How does chemistry relate to something as accessible as cooking?




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