This clear and concise lesson looks at the phenomenon known as the Bohr effect and describes and explains how an increased carbon dioxide concentration effects the dissociation of oxyhaemoglobin. The PowerPoint has been designed to cover the second part of point 3.4.1 of the AQA A-level Biology specification and continually ties in with the previous lesson on the role of haemoglobin.
The lesson begins with a terminology check to ensure that the students can use the terms affinity, oxyhaemoglobin and dissociation. In line with this, they are challenged to draw the oxyhaemoglobin dissociation curve and are reminded that this shows how oxygen associates with haemoglobin but how it dissociates at low partial pressures. Moving forwards, a quick quiz is used to introduce Christian Bohr and the students are given some initial details of his described effect. This leads into a series of discussions where the outcome is the understanding that an increased concentration of carbon dioxide decreases the affinity of haemoglobin for oxygen. The students will learn that this reduction in affinity is a result of a decrease in the pH of the cell cytoplasm which alters the tertiary structure of the haemoglobin. Opportunities are taken at this point to challenge students on their prior knowledge of protein structures as well as the bonds in the tertiary structure. The lesson finishes with a series of questions where the understanding and application skills are tested as students have to explain the benefit of the Bohr effect for an exercising individual.