Please visit this page to access the newly published pearl on biological energy by Dr. Linden Higgins of Education for Critical Thinking and Dr. Elizabeth Dolci of Johnson State College. The authors note that the common misunderstanding of the difference between energy and stimulants gives us an opportunity to guide students in an experimental test and, more importantly, provide them with the experience of having a well-designed experiment produce unexpected results, often contradictions their predictions. In this activity, students test whether substances of their own choosing provide energy to a living organism.
In this activity students gain a clearer understanding of the biological process of fermentation and, more foundationally, the difference between biological energy and stimulation. They learn that experimental results do not always agree with predictions and that unexpected results can be much more interesting than the “right” answer. With an improved understanding of the distinction between stimulants and energy sources, students can better connect their personal experiences with caffeinated drinks, sugar intake, and body weight to the chemical nature of food.