Interpreting Medical Tests: Whats in Urine

A Lab Exercise in Everyday Biology



The unique role of the kidneys in regulating the volume and composition of the bodys fluid compartments makes urinalysis a powerful diagnostic tool for the assessment of health and disease. Chemical analysis of urine can quantitatively identify the presence of both normally and abnormally occurring substances. Interpretation of urinalysis test results to identify possible disease states requires a basic understanding of normal kidney function. The historical method of independently analyzing the many components of urine using wet-chemical methods has been replaced by the development and widespread use of multifunction test strips. In this lab, students will prepare a dip stick test using a two-part enzymatic reaction that produces a color in the presence of glucose.

Appropriate Levels

Regents, Honors, AP as written, but could be adapted to General.


Time Required

One 40-minute period to test artificial urine samples.



  • Artificial urine solutions
  • Multifunction urinalysis test strips
  • 50 ml graduated cylinder
  • Hydrometer
  • Pasteur pipettes
  • Microscope, slides and coverslips
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Thea Martin, BOCES, Ithaca, NY

Mark Baustian, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY