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Mice in a box: understanding the relationship between energy and matter during cellular respiration

 

Student Directions

Imagine a large carton with many mice (about 50) inside - so many that their bodies pretty much cover the bottom of the box (there are some air holes so that they have enough air to breathe). The graph below shows the rise in temperature in the box over a 1.5 hours (20 degrees C is about 70 degrees F and 30 degrees C is about 85 degrees F).

 

 

Address the following specific questions:

 

a. Assuming that no heat is entering the carton from external sources such as sunlight or a furnace, where is the heat coming from? What process results in this large heat production? What is the name of this process? [Hint: C6H1206 is involved]

 

 

 

b. All living organisms engage in this metabolic process. Where does the process being asked about take place within each mouse? (Be a specific as you can) Why? Where in an insect or a plant does this metabolic process take place?

 

 

 

 

c. In addition to the temperature, the concentration of CO2 also changes in the box. In the space below, make a graph with hours on the x axis (like the graph above) and concentration of CO2 on the y axis (typical concentration in a room is about 375 parts per million - ppm). Draw a dotted line showing how you would expect the CO2 concentration to change. (Note - the holes in the box are not large enough to let much CO2 escape, so ignore this loss)

 

 

 

 

 

 

d. Based on your discussion about both the graph above and the one you made, describe in your own words the relationships between glucose (C6H1206) in the mouse's cells, carbon dioxide, and heat energy.

 

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