Molecules to metabolism - planning sheet 2.1

Planning sheet for Molecules to metabolism

Desired Results


  • Explaining biological processes in terms of the chemicals involved is Molecular biology.
  • The is a diversity of Carbon based compounds in living things - as carbon atoms can form four covalent bonds. e.g. carbohydrates, lipids, proteins & nucleic acids.
  • All the enzyme-catalysed reactions in a cell make up its metabolism. There are two types:
    • Anabolism:forming macromolecules from monomers by condensation.
    • Catabolism breaking complex macromolecules into simpler molecules by hydrolysis.
  • Some biological compounds can be synthesized: e.g. urea (Application)

Essential Question(s)

  • How many covalent bonds can each or the molecules Carbon, Nitrogen Oxygen and Hydrogen form?
  • How does the number of covalent bonds formed by carbon, and the elements N, O and H influence the shapes and the structure of biological molecules?
  • Hydrolysis and condensation reactions are opposites, can you explain why?
  • Can you name and identify five biological molecules which are monomers and three which are macromolecules?
  • How can we test for the presence of different biological molecules?

TOK / Nature of Science / IM

  • Falsification of theories—the artificial synthesis of urea helped to falsify vitalism.

Extension reading in
Drawing biological molecules

Skills students will have

  • Ability to draw diagrams of α & βD-glucose, D-ribose, a fatty acid & an amino acid with generalised R-group.
  • Identification of biochemicals such as monosaccharides and disaccharides, lipids (triglycerides, phospholipids and steroids) amino acids and polypeptides and peptide bonds from diagrams.
Assessment Evidence
  • Summary in Goal.Role.Audience.Situation.Performance.Success criteria.
  • Facets of understanding - Explain, Interpret, Apply, Perspective, Empathy, Self understanding.
Learning Activities

Chemical elements

Beginning with a quick review of the terms; element, atom, molecule and ion this lesson answers these questions. What is so special about carbon and why is it found in the molecules in living things? What is "metabolism" and how do enzymes make bigger molecules from smaller ones and vice versa?

Drawing Biological Molecules

Students learn how to draw the following molecules; glucose, ribose, saturated fatty acid and an amino acid. They answers questions which gives practice in recognition of each molecule activity. This is followed by an extension reading on vitalism and urea.

Visualising molecules

Using online flashcards and a database, students learn how to identify biological molecules and to distinguish between them. Examples included are monosaccharides such as alpha-D-glucose, beta-D-glucose and D-ribose, a disaccharide and lipids such as a saturated fatty acid, a triglyceride, and a phospholipid. There is also a polypeptide, two amino acids linked by a peptide bond and a generalized amino acid.

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