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Minds-on Activities for Teaching Biology

 

The resources include:

Students and teacher at work gathered around lab table

Many of these activities are explicitly aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, as indicated by (NGSS) in the descriptions below and as described in Summary Tables and in the Teacher Notes for individual activities. These activities foster student understanding of Disciplinary Core Ideas, engage students in Scientific Practices, provide the opportunity to discuss Crosscutting Concepts, and prepare students to meet the Performance Expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards.

The Student Handouts for the analysis and discussion activities challenge students to actively develop their understanding of biological concepts and apply these concepts to the interpretation of scientific evidence and real-world situations. We provide PDF files for easy viewing, and Word files and Google Docs so you can easily modify the Student Handouts to best meet your students’ needs. (Using Google Docs provides a brief introduction.) The Teacher Notes provide learning goals, instructional suggestions, relevant scientific background, and suggestions for preparatory and follow-up activities.

A proposed sequence for a high school biology course that uses these learning activities is provided at  https://serendipstudio.org/exchange/bioactivities/coursesequence. Information about an NGSS Modeling Biology Course is available at https://serendipstudio.org/exchange/bioactivities/modelingcourse.

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Intro and Biological Molecules

Characteristics of Life

Biology is the scientific study of living things. The Student Handout, together with two videos, help students to understand the characteristics of living things and the challenges of distinguishing between living and non-living things. This analysis and discussion activity also introduces several themes that will be revisited in a general biology course. (revised 8/2022)

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Levels of Organization in Biology

This activity uses the example of a flock of pelicans in flight to illustrate how analysis at multiple levels of organization enhances our understanding of a biological phenomenon. Through an interactive whole-class discussion of PowerPoint slides, students learn about the multiple levels of organization in biology, as well as reductionism and emergent properties. To reinforce student understanding of these concepts, students answer the questions in a Student Handout. Then, the activity concludes with another whole class discussion. (NGSS) (revised 8/2023)

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Introduction to the Functions of Proteins and DNA 

protein

These Teacher Notes present a sequence of activities that will help students understand the basic structure and functions of proteins and DNA. To understand how genes influence our characteristics, students learn that different versions of a protein can result in different characteristics, and a gene in the DNA determines which version of a protein is synthesized by a person’s cells. This information is conveyed through a PowerPoint with a sequence of discussion questions and videos, a Student Handout, and an optional hands-on learning activity. This sequence can be used in an introductory unit on biological molecules or to introduce a unit on molecular biology. (NGSS) (revised 8/2023)

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Enzymes Help Us Digest Food

protein

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students investigate the biological causes of Maria’s symptoms and Jayden’s symptoms. To explore the causes of these symptoms, students carry out two experiments and interpret the results, and they answer additional analysis and discussion questions. Students learn about enzyme function and enzyme specificity as they figure out that Maria’s symptoms are due to lactase deficiency (resulting in lactose intolerance) and Jayden’s symptoms are due to sucrase deficiency. In the final section, students are challenged to generalize their understanding of enzymes to interpret a video of an experiment with saliva, starch and iodine. This activity can be used in an introductory unit on biological molecules or later during a discussion of enzymes. (NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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A Scientific Investigation – What types of food contain starch and protein?

protein

In the first part of this activity, students answer analysis and discussion questions as they learn about the structure, functions, and synthesis of starch and proteins. They use this information to explain why certain parts of plants or animals contain a substantial amount of starch or protein. Then, students carry out key components of a scientific investigation, including generating hypotheses, designing and carrying out experiments to test their hypotheses, and, if needed, using experimental results to revise their hypotheses. (NGSS) (revised 11/2021)

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Coronaviruses – What They Are and How They Can Make You Sick

In the shorter version of the Student Handout, students learn how coronaviruses are replicated inside our cells, how white blood cells fight a coronavirus infection, and how a coronavirus infection can cause you to feel sick. In the longer version of the Student Handout, students also learn how the respiratory and circulatory systems work together to provide oxygen to the body’s cells, and they learn how a coronavirus infection can interfere with oxygen delivery, which can result in severe disease. (NGSS) (revised 3/2022)

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Who Took Jerell’s iPod? -- An Organic Compound Mystery

In this activity, students learn how to test for triglycerides, glucose, starch, and protein and then use these tests to solve a mystery. The activity reinforces students understanding of the biological functions and food sources of these different types of organic compounds. (revised 11/2012)

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Is Yeast Alive?

Students evaluate whether the little brown grains of yeast obtained from the grocery store are alive by testing for metabolism and growth.

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Macromolecules Jeopardy

This game reviews introductory chemistry, including organic compounds and chemical reactions.

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Cell Structure and Function

Cell Structure and Function – Major Concepts and Learning Activities

These Teacher Notes present key concepts and suggest learning activities that engage students in active learning and counteract some common student misconceptions. Students often think of a cell as a static structure consisting of multiple independent parts. They often do not understand how the parts of the cell work together to accomplish the multiple functions of a dynamic living cell. All of the suggested learning activities will help students to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). (revised 8/2023)

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Introduction to Cells

This minds-on analysis and discussion activity begins with an anchor phenomenon – a video of a eukaryotic cell chasing and eating a bacterium. This leads to analyses of how cells carry out the activities of life and the similarities and differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Additional topics include the functions of the organelles in eukaryotic cells and the differences between animal and plant cells. (NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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Structure and Function of Cells, Organs and Organ Systems

cell

In this activity, students analyze multiple examples of the relationship between structure and function in diverse human cells and in the digestive system. Students learn that cells are dynamic, with constant molecular activity. Students analyze examples that illustrate how organelles work together to accomplish cellular functions and organs and organ systems work together to accomplish functions needed by the organism. Finally, students evaluate the claim that structure is related to function in cells, organs and organ systems. (NGSS) (revised 9/2021)

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Why do some plants grow in odd shapes?

In this analysis and discussion activity, students investigate several examples of plants that have grown in odd shapes. As students analyze these phenomena, they learn (1) how the zones of cell division and elongation contribute to the growth of stems and roots; (2) how the effects of a plant hormone on cell elongation contribute to plant responses to light and gravity; and (3) how differentiated cells (xylem cells, phloem cells and photosynthetic cells) cooperate to supply all parts of the plant with needed molecules and ions. In this activity, students interpret data from scientific studies, develop and refine scientific models, and answer additional analysis and discussion questions. This activity can be used in a unit on cells or as an activity on development after students learn about cell division. (NGSS) (revised 9/2023)

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Introduction to Osmosis

osmosis

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students investigate the effects of hypotonic and hypertonic solutions on eggs that have had their shells removed. As students interpret their results, they develop a basic understanding of the process of osmosis. As they answer additional analysis and discussion questions, students learn about the effects of osmosis on animal and plant cells and apply their understanding of osmosis to the interpretation of several “real-world” phenomena. (NGSS) (revised 10/2022)

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Cell Membrane Structure and Function

cell

This activity includes two hands-on experiments and numerous analysis and discussion questions to help students understand how the characteristics and organization of the molecules in the cell membrane result in the selective permeability of the cell membrane. In the hands-on experiments, students first evaluate the selective permeability of a synthetic membrane and then observe how a layer of oil can be a barrier to diffusion of an aqueous solution. Students answer analysis and discussion questions to learn how the phospholipid bilayer and membrane proteins play key roles in the cell membrane function of regulating what gets into and out of the cell. Topics covered include ions, polar and nonpolar molecules; simple diffusion through the phospholipid bilayer; facilitated diffusion through membrane proteins; and active transport by membrane proteins. An optional additional page introduces exocytosis and endocytosis. (NGSS) (revised 5/2020)

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Cell Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to cells, organelles, and the plasma membrane.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. (new 7/2011)

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Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis

Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis – Important Concepts, Common Misconceptions, and Learning Activities 

These Teacher Notes summarize basic concepts and information related to energy, ATP, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis. These Teacher Notes also review common misconceptions and suggest a sequence of learning activities designed to develop student understanding of important concepts and overcome any misconceptions. (revised 11/2021)

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How do organisms use energy? 

ATP

This analysis and discussion activity introduces students to the basic principles of how organisms use energy. The focus is on understanding the roles of ATP, cellular respiration, and hydrolysis of ATP. In addition, students apply the principles of conservation of energy and conservation of matter to avoid common errors and correct common misconceptions. (NGSS) (revised 10/2023)

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Using Models to Understand Cellular Respiration

ATP

In both versions of the Student Handout, students analyze two models of cellular respiration. The first model shows chemical equations that summarize the inputs and outputs of cellular respiration. The second model is a figure that shows the three major stages of cellular respiration and the role of mitochondria. After students analyze these models, they use what they have learned to develop their own more complete model of cellular respiration. In the advanced version of the Student Handout, students also analyze how the extensive, folded inner membrane of a mitochondrion contributes to ATP production. This analysis illustrates the general principle that structure is related to function. (NGSS) (revised 11/2023)

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Using Models to Understand Photosynthesis

plant

In both versions of the Student Handout, students analyze two models of cellular respiration. The first model shows chemical equations that summarize the inputs and outputs of cellular respiration. The second model is a figure that shows the three major stages of cellular respiration and the role of mitochondria. After students analyze these models, they use what they have learned to develop their own more complete model of cellular respiration. In the advanced version of the Student Handout, students also analyze how the extensive, folded inner membrane of a mitochondrion contributes to ATP production. This analysis illustrates the general principle that structure is related to function.Half (NGSS) (revised 10/2023)

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Photosynthesis, Cellular Respiration and Plant Growth

This minds-on, hands-on activity begins with the driving question of how a tiny seed grows into a giant sequoia tree. To address this question, students first consider what types of molecules and atoms are in plants. Next, they analyze data from an experiment on changes in plant biomass in the light vs. dark. Then, they conduct an experiment to evaluate changes in CO2 concentration in the air around plants in the light vs. dark. Students interpret these data to develop an increasingly accurate and evidence-based model of the contributions of photosynthesis and cellular respiration to changes in plant biomass. This activity counteracts several common misconceptions about plant growth, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration. (NGSS) (revised 10/2022)

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Food, Energy and Body Weight

ATP

This analysis and discussion activity helps students to understand the relationships between food, energy, cellular respiration, and changes in body weight. Analysis of a specific example helps students to understand how challenging it is to prevent weight gain by exercising to offset what seems to be a relatively modest lunch. In an optional research project, each student asks an additional question and prepares a report based on recommended reliable internet sources. (NGSS) (revised 11/2020)

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How do muscles get the energy they need for athletic activity?

Runner

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn how muscle cells produce ATP by aerobic cellular respiration, anaerobic fermentation, and hydrolysis of creatine phosphate. They analyze the varying contributions of these three processes to ATP production during athletic activities of varying intensity and duration. Students learn how multiple body systems work together to supply the oxygen and glucose needed for aerobic cellular respiration. Finally, students use what they have learned to analyze how athletic performance is improved by the body changes that result from regular aerobic exercise. (NGSS) (revised 11/2020)

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Alcoholic Fermentation in Yeast – A Bioengineering Design Challenge         ATP

This multi-part minds-on, hands-on activity helps students to understand both alcoholic fermentation and the engineering design process. Students begin by learning about alcoholic fermentation and yeast. To test whether grains of yeast can carry out alcoholic fermentation, students compare CO2 production by grains of yeast in sugar water vs. two controls. Then, students are introduced to the bioengineering design challenge to find the optimum temperature and sucrose concentration to maximize rapid CO2 production. Students are guided through the basic engineering steps of applying the relevant scientific background to the design challenge, planning for systematic testing of possible design solutions, drawing tentative conclusions from the results of this testing, clarifying the criteria for an optimum design solution, and planning for further testing. In addition to the complete Student Handout, we offer a shorter Student Handout that omits the design challenge. (NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration – Understanding the Basics of Bioenergetics and Biosynthesis 

ATP

In this minds-on activity, students analyze how photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and the hydrolysis of ATP provide energy for biological processes in plant cells. Students learn that the glucose produced by photosynthesis are used for cellular respiration and for the synthesis of other organic molecules. The final section challenges students to use their understanding of photosynthesis and cellular respiration to explain observed changes in biomass for plants growing in the light vs. dark. The Teacher Notes suggest three possible additions to this learning activity. (NGSS) (revised 11/2021)

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Where does a tree's mass come from? plant

Students analyze evidence to evaluate four hypotheses about where a tree’s mass comes from. For example, students analyze Helmont’s classic experiment and evaluate whether his interpretation was supported by his evidence. Thus, students engage in scientific practices as they learn that trees consist mainly of water and organic molecules and most of the mass of the organic molecules consists of carbon and oxygen atoms that came from carbon dioxide molecules in the air. (NGSS) (revised 10/2022)

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Photosynthesis Investigation                 plant

In the first part of this activity, students learn how to use the floating leaf disk method to measure the rate of net photosynthesis (i.e. the rate of photosynthesis minus the rate of cellular respiration). They use this method to show that net photosynthesis occurs in leaf disks in a solution of sodium bicarbonate, but not in water. Questions guide students in reviewing the relevant biology and analyzing and interpreting their results. In the second part of this activity, student groups develop hypotheses about factors that influence the rate of net photosynthesis, and then each student group designs and carries out an investigation to test the effects of one of these factors. (NGSS) (revised 8/2016)

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Cell Division 

Mitosis and the Cell Cycle - How a Single Cell Develops into the Trillions of Cells in a Human Body

MMF

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students learn how the cell cycle produces genetically identical daughter cells. They use model chromosomes and answer analysis and discussion questions to learn how DNA replication and mitosis work together to ensure that each new cell gets a complete set of chromosomes with a complete set of genes. The model chromosomes are labeled with the alleles of several human genes, and students learn how the alleles influence phenotypic characteristics. To understand how a single cell (the fertilized egg) can develop into the trillions of cells in a human body, students analyze an exponential growth model for the increase in number of cells. The final section provides a brief introduction to cellular differentiation. This activity can be used as an introduction to the cell cycle and mitosis or to reinforce understanding of these topics. (NGSS) (revised 12/2022)

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Mitosis and the Cell Cycle – How the Trillions of Cells in a Human Body Developed from a Single Cell

In this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students learn how the cell cycle produces genetically identical daughter cells. They analyze how DNA replication and mitosis work together to ensure that each new cell gets a complete set of chromosomes with a complete set of genes. To understand how a single cell (the fertilized egg) can develop into the trillions of cells in a human body, students analyze an exponential growth model for the increase in number of cells. The final section provides a brief introduction to cellular differentiation. This activity can be used as an introduction to mitosis or to reinforce understanding of mitosis. (NGSS) (revised 12/2022)

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Meiosis and Fertilization – Understanding How Genes Are Inherited

MMF

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students use model chromosomes and answer analysis and discussion questions to learn how a child inherits one copy of each gene from each parent via the processes of meiosis and fertilization. Students first analyze how the processes of meiosis and fertilization result in the alternation between diploid and haploid cells in the human lifecycle. To learn how meiosis produces genetically diverse gametes, students analyze the results of crossing over and independent assortment. As they model meiosis and fertilization, students follow the alleles of a human gene from the parents' body cells through gametes to zygotes. They learn how the outcomes of meiosis and fertilization can be represented in a Punnett square. A final brief section contrasts sexual reproduction with asexual reproduction. This activity can be used to introduce meiosis and fertilization or to review these processes. (NGSS) (revised 12/2022)

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Understanding How Genes Are Inherited via Meiosis and Fertilization

In this minds-on activity, students answer analysis and discussion questions to learn how a child inherits one copy of each gene from each parent via the processes of meiosis and fertilization. They analyze how the processes of meiosis and fertilization result in the alternation between diploid and haploid cells in the human lifecycle. To learn how meiosis produces genetically diverse gametes, students analyze the results of crossing over and independent assortment. Then, students follow the alleles of a human gene from the parents' body cells through gametes and zygote to a child’s cells. They learn how the outcomes of meiosis and fertilization can be represented in a Punnett square. A brief final section contrasts sexual reproduction with asexual reproduction. This activity can be used to introduce meiosis and fertilization or to review these processes. (NGSS) (revised 12/2022)

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Comparing Mitosis and Meiosis

In this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students review mitosis and meiosis as they compare and contrast these two different types of cell division. This activity includes an optional mitosis and meiosis card sort for additional review. (revised 12/2022)

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What causes melanoma and other types of cancer?

This minds-on, analysis and discussion activity introduces students to basic cancer biology and regulation of the cell cycle. Students view an introductory video about a teen with melanoma and then complete six sections: “What is melanoma?”, “How does a melanoma develop?”, “Why do melanoma cells divide too much?”, “Environment and inherited genes influence your risk of melanoma.”, “Different Types of Cancer”, and “Research Challenge”. Concepts covered include cell cycle checkpoints, somatic mutations, and DNA repair enzymes. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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How Mistakes in Meiosis Can Result in Down Syndrome or Death of an Embryo  

In this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students learn how a mistake in meiosis can result in Down syndrome. Students also analyze karyotypes to learn how other mistakes in meiosis can result in the death of an embryo. Finally, students consider how a health problem can be genetic, but not inherited. (NGSS) (revised 10/2020)

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Mitosis, Meiosis and Fertilization Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to mitosis, meiosis and fertilization.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. 

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Genetics

Genetics – Major Concepts, Common Misconceptions, and Learning Activities 

genetics pedigree

Part I summarizes key concepts in genetics. Part II presents common misconceptions. Part III recommends an integrated sequence of learning activities on the biological basis of genetics, plus seven human genetics learning activities. These learning activities develop student understanding of key concepts and counteract common misconceptions. Each of these recommended learning activities supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). (revised 2/2022)

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Genetics

genetics pedigree

This hands-on, minds-on activity helps students to understand basic principles of genetics, including (1) how genotype influences phenotype via the effects of genes on protein structure and function and (2) how genes are transmitted from parents to offspring through the processes of meiosis and fertilization. Students use model chromosomes to demonstrate how meiosis and fertilization are summarized in Punnett squares. In the coin flip activity, students learn about the probabilistic nature of inheritance and Punnett square predictions. (NGSS) (revised 12/2020)

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Introduction to Genetics – Similarities and Differences between Family Members

To begin this activity, students propose a hypothesis about how genes contribute to the similarities and differences in appearance of family members. Students repeatedly refine their hypothesis as they learn more. Students learn that different versions of a gene give the instructions for making different versions of a protein which can result in different characteristics. Next, students review how genes are transmitted from parents to offspring through the processes of meiosis and fertilization. Then, students analyze several examples that illustrate how inheritance of genes can result in family resemblance and/or differences. Concepts covered include Punnett squares, dominant and recessive alleles, incomplete dominance, and polygenic inheritance. (NGSS) (revised 2/2021)

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The Genetics of Sickle Cell Anemia and Sickle Cell Trait – How One Gene Affects Multiple Characteristics

In this activity, students analyze information about the molecular and cellular basis for sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait. This provides the basis for understanding how a single gene can affect multiple phenotypic characteristics. Students also create a Punnett square, analyze a pedigree, and evaluate the relative advantages of Punnett squares and pedigrees as models of inheritance. These Teacher Notes include several optional questions which apply student understanding of the biology of sickle cell trait to practical and policy issues. (NGSS) (revised 2/2022)

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Genetics and Probability – Sex Ratios of Births

In this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students analyze the inheritance of sex chromosomes. Students use a Punnett square to predict the sex ratio of births and compare their prediction to data for individual families and for the entire US. As students analyze the reasons why many real families deviate from Punnett square predictions, they learn about the probabilistic nature of inheritance and the limitations of Punnett square predictions. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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A mistake in copying DNA can result in dwarfism.

In this minds-on activity, students analyze evidence about achondroplasia to learn how a mistake in DNA replication can result in a new mutation that affects a child’s characteristics. This analysis and discussion activity reviews several basic genetics principles and helps to counteract several common misconceptions about genetics. (NGSS) (revised 1/2023)

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Soap Opera Genetics - Genetics to Resolve Real-Life Dilemmas 

genetics pedigree

This analysis and discussion activity contains three "soap opera" episodes that help students to understand the principles of inheritance and the relevance of genetics to everyday life. In the first episode, students answer the probing questions of a skeptical father who wants to know how his baby could have albinism when neither he nor his wife have albinism. The second episode, "Were the babies switched?", covers the concepts of codominance, incomplete dominance, and polygenic inheritance, and reinforces student understanding that the alleles of a gene give the instructions for making different versions of a protein. In the third episode, students analyze sex-linked inheritance. Each episode can be used separately or with other episodes, depending on your teaching goals. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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Were the babies switched? – The Genetics of Blood Types and Skin Color

genetics pedigree

In this minds-on, hands-on activity, students learn about the genetics of ABO blood types, including multiple alleles of a single gene and codominance. Then, students use chemicals to simulate blood type tests, and they carry out genetic analyses to determine whether hospital staff accidentally switched two babies born on the same day. Next, students analyze the genetics of skin color in order to understand how fraternal twins can have different skin colors. In this analysis, students learn about incomplete dominance and how a single phenotypic characteristic can be influenced by multiple genes and the environment. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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Dragon Genetics – Independent Assortment and Gene Linkage

Students learn the principles of independent assortment and gene linkage in activities which analyze inheritance of multiple genes on the same or different chromosomes in hypothetical dragons. Students learn how these principles derive from the behavior of chromosomes during meiosis and fertilization. (revised 1/2010)

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Dragon Genetics – Understanding Inheritance

In this simulation activity students mimic the processes of meiosis and fertilization to investigate the inheritance of multiple genes and then use their understanding of concepts such as dominant/recessive alleles, incomplete dominance, sex-linked inheritance, and epistasis to interpret the results of the simulation. This activity can be used as a culminating activity after you have introduced classical genetics, and it can serve as formative assessment to identify any areas of confusion that require additional clarification. (revised 8/2012)

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Learning about Genetic Disorders

This activity provides brief instructions and recommended reliable sources for students to investigate and report on a genetic disorder of their choice. (revised 2/2024);

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Genetics Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to genetics.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. 

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Genetics Review Jeopardy Game

This game reviews genetics, with 25 questions of varying levels of difficulty.

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Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology: Major Concepts and Learning Activities  

DNA

This overview reviews key concepts and learning activities to help students understand how genes influence our traits by molecular processes.  Topics covered include basic understanding of the important roles of proteins and DNA; DNA structure, function and replication; the molecular biology of how genes influence traits, including transcription and translation; the molecular biology of mutations; and genetic engineering.  To help students understand the relevance of these molecular processes, the suggested learning activities link alleles of specific genes to human characteristics such as albinism, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia and muscular dystrophy. Suggested activities include analysis and discussion activities, hands-on laboratory and simulation activities, web-based simulations, and a vocabulary review game. (NGSS) (revised 5/2021)

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DNA

DNA

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students extract DNA from Archaea or from their cheek cells. In addition, students learn or review key concepts about the structure, function, and replication of DNA. For example, students learn that the genes in DNA give the instructions to make proteins, which influence our characteristics. They also learn how the double helix structure of DNA and the base-pairing rules provide the basis for DNA replication. This activity includes multiple analysis and discussion questions and hands-on or online modeling of DNA replication. (NGSS) (revised 1/2023)

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DNA Function, Structure and Replication 

DNA

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn the basics of DNA function, structure, and replication. The sequence of nucleotides in a gene determines the sequence of amino acids in a protein, which determines the structure and function of the protein. Different versions of a gene give the instructions to make different versions of a protein, which can result in different characteristics. Since many different proteins are needed for a cell to be alive, each cell needs a complete copy of the DNA with all of the genes. Therefore, before a cell divides, it needs to make a copy of all its DNA. Students analyze DNA replication to understand how the double helix structure of DNA, the base-pairing rules, and DNA polymerase work together to produce two identical copies of the original DNA molecule. (NGSS) (revised 1/2023)

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How Genes Can Cause Disease – Introduction to Transcription and Translation

DNA

To begin this hands-on, minds-on activity, students learn that different versions of a gene give the instructions for making different versions of a clotting protein, which result in normal blood clotting or hemophilia. Then, students learn how genes provide the instructions for making a protein via the processes of transcription and translation. They develop an understanding of the roles of RNA polymerase, the base-pairing rules, mRNA, tRNA and ribosomes. Finally, students use their learning about transcription and translation to understand how a change in a single nucleotide in the hemoglobin gene can result in sickle cell anemia. Throughout, students use the information in brief explanations, figures and videos to answer analysis and discussion questions. In addition, students use simple paper models to simulate the processes of transcription and translation. An alternative version omits the paper models (How Genes Can Cause Disease - Understanding Transcription and Translation). An alternative version omits the paper models (How Genes Can Cause Disease – Understanding Transcription and Translation). (NGSS) (revised 1/2023)

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How Genes Can Cause Disease – Understanding Transcription and Translation

DNA

In the first section of this analysis and discussion activity, students learn that different versions of a gene give the instructions for making different versions of a clotting protein, which result in normal blood clotting or hemophilia. Next, students learn how genes provide the instructions for making a protein via the processes of transcription and translation. They develop an understanding of the roles of RNA polymerase, the base-pairing rules, mRNA, tRNA and ribosomes. Finally, students use their learning about transcription and translation to understand how a change in a single nucleotide in the hemoglobin gene can result in sickle cell anemia. Throughout this activity, students use the information in brief explanations, figures and videos to answer analysis and discussion questions. This activity can be used to introduce students to transcription and translation or to reinforce and enhance student understanding. If you prefer a hands-on activity that uses simple paper models to simulate the molecular processes of transcription and translation, see “How Genes Can Cause Disease – Introduction to Transcription and Translation” (http://serendipstudio.org/sci_edu/waldron/#trans). (NGSS) (revised 1/2023)

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UV, Mutations, and DNA Repair

DNA

Students learn about the effects of UV light, mutations and DNA repair on the survival of prokaryotes and the risk of skin cancer. In the first experiment, students evaluate the effects of different durations of UV exposure on survival and population growth of Haloferax volcanii. This experiment also tests for photorepair of DNA damage. Students design the second experiment, which evaluates the effectiveness of sunscreen. In addition, students answer analysis and discussion questions that promote their understanding of molecular biology, cancer, and the interpretation of experimental results. (NGSS) (revised 7/2020)

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What types of mutations cause more vs. less severe muscular dystrophy?

DNA

This analysis and discussion activity begins with a brief video about a teenager who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Then, students investigate the types of deletion mutation that cause the more severe Duchenne muscular dystrophy vs. the milder Becker muscular dystrophy. During this analysis, students review transcription and translation, learn how to use a codon wheel, and analyze the molecular effects of different types of deletion and point mutations. Finally, students investigate X-linked recessive mutations to understand why almost all Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients are male. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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Cell Differentiation and Epigenetics

DNA

In this analysis and discussion activity, students answer minds-on questions as they learn about the differentiation of specialized cell types, including the role of changes in epigenetic control of gene expression during cell differentiation. Students also learn about environmental influences on epigenetic control of gene expression and the need for cell division and differentiation even in a fully grown adult. (NGSS) (new 11/2017)

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Genetic Engineering Challenge – How can scientists develop a type of rice that could prevent vitamin A deficiency? 

DNA

This analysis and discussion activity begins with an introduction to vitamin A deficiency and a review of transcription, translation, and the universal genetic code. Several questions challenge students to design a basic plan that could produce a genetically engineered rice plant that makes rice grains that contain pro-vitamin A. Subsequent information and questions guide students as they learn how scientists use bacteria to insert desired genes, together with an appropriate promoter, in the DNA of plant cells. In a final optional section, students evaluate the pro and con arguments in the controversy concerning Golden Rice. (NGSS) (revised 5/2021)

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Gene Editing with CRISPR-Cas – A Potential Cure for Severe Sickle Cell Anemia                  

This analysis and discussion activity introduces Victoria Gray whose severe sickle cell anemia was effectively treated by gene editing with CRISPR-Cas. To begin, students review the molecular biology of sickle cell anemia, transcription and translation. Next, they learn how bacteria use CRISPR-Cas to defend against viral infections. Then, students examine some of the research findings that scientists used to identify the target for gene editing. Finally, students analyze the CRISPR-Cas gene editing treatment for sickle cell anemia. The Teacher Notes present an optional additional video and question to stimulate students to consider the ethical controversies related to potential uses of CRISPR-Cas.(NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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Molecular Biology Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to DNA and RNA structure and function, transcription and translation. (new 10/2011)

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Evolution 

Resources for Teaching and Learning about Evolution

These Teacher Notes provide (1) suggestions for teaching evolution to students with religious concerns, (2) a review of major concepts and common misconceptions concerning natural selection, with recommended learning activities, (3) a review of major concepts and common misconceptions about species, descent with modification, and the evidence for evolution, with recommended learning activities, and (4) recommended general resources for teaching about evolution. (revised 3/2024)

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Evolution by Natural Selection

natural selection

In this minds-on, hands-on activity, students develop their understanding of natural selection by analyzing specific examples and carrying out a simulation. The questions in the first section introduce students to the basic process of natural selection, including key concepts and vocabulary. The second section includes a simulation activity, data analysis, and questions to deepen students' understanding of natural selection, including the conditions that are required for natural selection to occur. In the third section, students interpret evidence concerning natural selection in the peppered moth and answer questions to consolidate a scientifically accurate understanding of the process of natural selection, including the role of changes in allele frequency. (NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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What is natural selection?

This minds-on, analysis and discussion activity introduces students to the process of natural selection, including key concepts and vocabulary. In addition, students analyze several examples to learn about the conditions that are needed for natural selection to occur. (This activity is an expanded version of the first section of the hands-on activity Evolution by Natural Selection. (NGSS) (revised 3/2022)

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Natural Selection and the Peppered Moth

In this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students interpret evidence concerning natural selection in the peppered moth. This evidence includes (1) the results of experiments that evaluated predation by birds on different color forms of the peppered moth in different environments, (2) the genetic basis for the different color forms, and (3) correlated changes in both the environment and the frequency of each color form in industrialized and rural regions in England and the US. This activity will help students to consolidate a scientifically accurate understanding of the process of natural selection. This activity is very similar to the last section of the hands-on activity Evolution by Natural Selection. (NGSS) (revised 3/2024)

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How have mutations and natural selection affected fur color in mice?

natural selection

In this analysis and discussion activity, students figure out how mutations and natural selection can result in matches between the fur color of various populations of rock pocket mice and the color of their environments. Next, students view a video that presents relevant research findings, and students answer the embedded multiple-choice questions. Finally, students answer multiple questions and analyze several scenarios to enhance their understanding of mutations and natural selection. (NGSS) (revised 2/2024)

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How Whales Evolved – Evidence and Scientific Arguments

Students begin by comparing the characteristics of whales, mammals and fish to decide whether whales should be classified as mammals or fish. To support their conclusion, students make a scientific argument (claim, evidence, reasoning). Students learn about the evolution of whales and other cetaceans by analyzing evidence from comparative anatomy, embryology, fossils, and DNA and proteins. Finally, students make a scientific argument for the claim that whales and other cetaceans evolved from land mammals. (NGSS) (revised 8/2022)

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How Eyes Evolved – Analyzing the Evidence

natural selection

This analysis and discussion activity focuses on two questions. How could something as complex as the human eye or the octopus eye have evolved by natural selection? How can scientists learn about the evolution of eyes, given that there is very little fossil evidence? To answer these questions, students analyze evidence from comparative anatomy, mathematical modeling, and molecular biology. Students interpret this evidence to develop a likely sequence of intermediate steps in the evolution of complex eyes and to understand how each intermediate step contributed to increased survival and reproduction. The Teacher Notes suggest additions to the Student Handout that can be used to introduce concepts such as the role of gene duplication in evolution and/or homology and analogy. (NGSS) (revised 8/2022)

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How does evolution result in similarities and differences? 

In this hands-on, minds-on activity, students analyze the similarities and differences between bat and squirrel skeletons and between bat and insect wings. Students learn about the two ways that evolution produces similarities: (1) inheritance from shared evolutionary ancestors (homologous characteristics) and (2) independent evolution of similar characteristics to accomplish the same function (analogous characteristics). In the laboratory investigation, students observe the external anatomy and locomotion of earthworms, mealworms, and crickets. Students use these observations and the concepts they have learned to figure out which two of these animals are more closely related evolutionarily. (NGSS) (revised, 2/2024)

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What is a species?

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn that the concept of species is useful because organisms within a species are evolving relatively independently of other populations of organisms and thus can evolve a distinctive suite of adaptive characteristics. Students confront the difficulties of defining a species and analyze data from various examples to appreciate that these difficulties arise from real properties of the process of evolution.(NGSS) (new 2/2024)

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Coronavirus Evolution and the COVID-19 Pandemic 

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn that the coronavirus responsible for the recent pandemic very probably originated in bats. Students analyze how mutations and natural selection can produce a spillover infection. Next, students learn how natural selection increased the frequency of a mutation that made the coronavirus more contagious. Finally, students analyze how mutations contributed to the spread of the Omicron variant and its subvariants. (NGSS) (revised 9/2022)

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Evolution and Adaptations

natural selection

In common experience, the term "adapting" usually refers to changes during an organism's lifetime. In contrast, evolutionary biologists use the term "adaptation" to refer to a heritable trait that increases fitness. To help students reconcile these different concepts, this activity introduces the concept of phenotypic plasticity (the ability of an organism to adapt to different environments within its lifetime). Questions guide students in analyzing how the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of a characteristic (e.g. an animal’s color) can vary in different circumstances, how phenotypic plasticity can be a heritable trait that can optimize fitness in a variable environment, and how natural selection can influence the amount of phenotypic plasticity in a population. (NGSS) (new 8/2013)

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Ecology

Ecology Concepts and Learning Activities

This overview summarizes major ecological concepts and recommends learning activities on topics such as food webs, energy flow through ecosystems, the carbon cycle, trophic pyramids, exponential and logistic population growth, species interactions in biological communities, succession, and effects of human activities on ecosystems. This overview also recommends introductory ecology readings. (NGSS) (revised 3/2023)

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Understanding and Predicting Changes in Population Size – Exponential and Logistic Population Growth Models vs. Complex Reality

natural selection

In this analysis and discussion activity, students develop their understanding of the exponential and logistic population growth models by analyzing the recovery of endangered species and growth of bacterial populations. Students learn about the processes that cause exponential or logistic population growth, interpret data from several investigations, and apply their understanding to policy questions. Next, students analyze examples where the trends in population size do not match the predictions of the exponential or logistic population growth models. They learn that models are based on simplifying assumptions and a model’s predictions are only accurate when the simplifying assumptions are true for the population studied. In the last section, students analyze trends in human population size and some of the factors that affect the earth’s carrying capacity for humans. One version of the Student Handout also includes mathematical equations. (NGSS) (revised 3/2023)

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Some Similarities between the Spread of Infectious Disease and Population Growth

natural selection

First, students analyze a hypothetical example of exponential growth in the number of infected individuals. Then, a class simulation of the spread of an infectious disease shows a trend that approximates logistic growth. Next, students analyze examples of exponential and logistic population growth and learn about the biological processes that result in exponential or logistic population growth. Finally, students analyze how changes in the biotic or abiotic environment can affect population size; these examples illustrate the limitations of the exponential and logistic population growth models. (NGSS) (revised 3/2018)

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Stability and Change in Biological Communities 

This analysis and discussion activity engages students in understanding how biological communities remain stable and how they change during ecological succession. Students analyze several types of research evidence, including (1) repeated observations of a biological community to assess stability or change over time, (2) analyses of dated fossils in a peat bog, and (3) analyses of how mutualism, competition and trophic relationships contribute to stability or change in biological communities. Students use this evidence to understand the causes of stability and succession in a variety of habitats, including a tropical forest, a new volcanic island, abandoned farm fields, and ponds. Students also analyze the effects of climate and non-native invasive plants. (NGSS) (new 3/2023)

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Food Webs, Energy Flow, Carbon Cycle and Trophic Pyramids

To begin this hands-on, minds-on activity, students view a video about ecosystem changes that resulted when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Then, students learn about food chains and food webs, and they construct and analyze a food web for Yellowstone National Park. Students use what they have learned to understand trophic cascades caused by the return of wolves to Yellowstone. Next, students learn that the biosphere requires a continuous inflow of energy, but does not need an inflow of carbon atoms. To understand why, students analyze how the carbon cycle and energy flow through ecosystems result from photosynthesis, biosynthesis, cellular respiration, and the trophic relationships in food webs. In the final section, students use the concepts they have learned to understand trophic pyramids and phenomena such as the relative population sizes for wolves vs. elk in Yellowstone. Thus, students learn how important ecological phenomena result from processes at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels. For virtual instruction, you can use Food Webs, Carbon Cycles and Energy Flow through Ecosystems, and Trophic Pyramids. (NGSS) (revised, 8/2022)

Download Student Handout, Teacher Preparation Notes and cards for the food web; view comments.

Food Webs – Understanding What Happened When Wolves Returned to Yellowstone

To begin, students view a video about ecosystem changes that resulted when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Next, students learn about food chains and food webs. They construct and analyze a food web for Yellowstone National Park. Finally, students use what they have learned to understand a trophic cascade caused by the return of wolves to Yellowstone. This learning activity provides an introduction to the remote ready learning activities, Carbon Cycles and Energy Flow through Ecosystems, and Trophic Pyramids. All three of these activities are included in Food Webs, Energy Flow, Carbon Cycle and Trophic Pyramids, which is intended for classroom instruction. (NGSS) (revised, 3/2021)

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Carbon Cycles and Energy Flow through Ecosystems and the Biosphere

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn why the biosphere requires a continuous inflow of energy, but does not need an inflow of carbon atoms. Students analyze how the process of photosynthesis illustrates the general principles of conservation of matter and the second Law of Thermodynamics. Then, students analyze how carbon cycles and energy flow through ecosystems result from photosynthesis, biosynthesis, cellular respiration, and the trophic relationships in food webs. Thus, students learn how important ecological phenomena result from processes at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels. (NGSS) (revised 3/2021)

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Trophic Pyramids

To begin this analysis and discussion activity, students review what happens to the atoms in the nearly 2000 pounds of food the average American eats each year. This provides a context for students to figure out why the rate of biomass production is higher for the producers than for the primary consumers in an ecosystem. Then, students construct and analyze trophic pyramids. Finally, they apply what they have learned to understanding why more resources are needed to produce meat than to produce an equivalent amount of plant food. (NGSS) (revised 9/2021)

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Food and Climate Change - How can we feed the growing world population without increasing global warming?

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn how food production results in the release of three greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4). Students analyze carbon and nitrogen cycles to understand how agriculture results in increased CO2 and N2O in the atmosphere. Students interpret data concerning the very different amounts of greenhouse gases released during the production of various types of food; they apply concepts related to trophic pyramids and learn about CH4 release by ruminants. Finally, students propose, research, and evaluate strategies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that will be released during future production of food for the world’s growing population. (NGSS) (revised 8/2022)

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Introduction to Global Warming

To begin this minds-on analysis and discussion activity, students learn about the correlated increases in global temperatures and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Next, students evaluate an example that illustrates that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Then, they analyze several types of evidence to test the hypothesis that increased CO2 in the atmosphere has been a major cause of the increase in global temperatures. This activity concludes with a very brief discussion of how global warming has contributed to harmful effects (e.g., increased flooding) and possible actions to reduce these harmful effects. (NGSS) (revised 9/2022)

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Resources for Teaching and Learning about Climate Change 

This annotated list includes resources that can help your students to develop a scientifically accurate understanding of the causes and consequences of global warming and climate change. This list also includes resources for learning about how to reduce greenhouse gases and how to mitigate the effects of climate change. Given the nature of the topic, the approach is interdisciplinary. These resources are appropriate for middle school, high school and/or college students. (revised 11/2022)

Download these Teacher Notes and view comments.

The Ecology of Lyme Disease 

natural selection

This analysis and discussion activity engages students in understanding the lifecycle and adaptations of black-legged ticks and the relationships between these ticks, their vertebrate hosts, and the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Students use this background to analyze when and where human risk of Lyme disease is greatest, why rates of Lyme disease have increased in recent decades in the US, and ecological approaches to preventing Lyme disease. (NGSS) (new 4/2015)

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Human Physiology and Health

Negative Feedback, Homeostasis, and Positive Feedback – Examples and Concepts  

Runner

This minds-on, hands-on activity begins with an anchoring phenomenon, how a person’s breathing changes when he/she is re-breathing the air in a plastic bag. Students develop a negative feedback model of how the changes in breathing stabilize blood levels of O2 and CO2. To understand changes in breathing when running, students analyze cellular respiration. Next, students use a negative feedback model to understand temperature regulation and homeostasis. Then, students analyze how failures of negative feedback can result in diabetes. Finally, students compare and contrast positive and negative feedback. The Appendix for the Teacher Preparation Notes suggests an optional activity in which each student group investigates a question or hypothesis concerning negative feedback, homeostasis and changes in breathing. (NGSS) (revised 6/2023)

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Negative Feedback, Homeostasis, and Positive Feedback  

Runner

Analysis and discussion questions develop student understanding of negative and positive feedback and homeostasis. For example, students develop a model of negative feedback regulation of body temperature; this model includes a temperature control center in the brain that uses information about differences between a setpoint and actual body temperature to regulate sweating, shivering, and changes in blood flow to the skin. The setpoint for negative feedback can be changed; for example, in response to an infection the temperature setpoint can be increased, resulting in a fever. Negative feedback contributes to homeostasis. Sometimes negative feedback does not function properly; for example, diabetes results from abnormalities in negative feedback regulation of blood glucose levels. Finally, students analyze how positive feedback contributes to rapid change (e.g., rapid formation of a platelet plug). (NGSS) (revised 6/2023)

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Regulation of Human Heart Rate 

Students learn how to measure heart rate accurately. Then students design and carry out an experiment to test the effects of an activity or stimulus on heart rate, analyze and interpret the data, and present their experiments in a poster session. In this activity students learn about both cardiac physiology and scientific method. (revised 7/2013)

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How do we sense the flavors of food?

In this minds-on, hands-on activity, students develop science practice skills by developing plans for a hands-on investigation, carrying out the investigation, analyzing the data, and interpreting the results. Then, students answer analysis and discussion questions as they develop a basic understanding of how taste and olfactory receptor cells function and how sensory messages to the brain contribute to flavor perception and flavor-related behavior. (NGSS) (new 7/2017)

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COVID-19 Vaccines – How do they work?

Students begin by proposing a hypothesis to explain why the risk of severe Covid-19 is substantially lower for people who have been vaccinated and for people who have previously had Covid-19. Next, students analyze the immune system response to a coronavirus infection and learn how this response differs after a first vs. second exposure to the coronavirus. Finally, students analyze the biological effects of an mRNA vaccine and develop an evidence-based hypothesis about how a vaccine protects against severe Covid-19. (NGSS) (revised 9/2022)

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Resources for Teaching about Coronavirus

These Teacher Notes provide links to recommended learning activities and reliable ongoing sources of information. (revised 11/2022)

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Using Molecular and Evolutionary Biology to Understand HIV/AIDS and Treatment 

DNA

This analysis and discussion activity introduces students to the biology of HIV infection and treatment, including the molecular biology of the HIV virus lifecycle and the importance of understanding molecular biology and natural selection for developing effective treatments. The questions in this activity challenge students to apply their understanding of basic molecular and cellular biology and natural selection and interpret the information presented in prose and diagrams in order to understand multiple aspects of the biology of HIV/AIDS and treatment. (NGSS) (new 8/2012)

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Resources for Teaching Cancer Biology

These Teacher Notes describe multiple learning activities that introduce students to varied aspects of cancer biology. These Teacher Notes also describe multiple sources of reliable information about cancer and provide suggestions about how to convert information sources to learning activities. (NGSS) (new 7/2022)

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Carbohydrate Consumption, Athletic Performance and Health – Using Science Process Skills to Understand the Evidence 

This analysis and discussion activity is designed to develop students' understanding of the scientific process by having them design an experiment to test a hypothesis, compare their experimental design with the design of a research study that tested the same hypothesis, evaluate research evidence concerning two hypothesized effects of carbohydrate consumption, evaluate the pros and cons of experimental vs. observational research studies, and finally use what they have learned to revise a standard diagram of the scientific method to make it more accurate, complete and realistic.  (new 11/2012)

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Vitamins and Health – Why Experts Disagree 

In this analysis and discussion activity, research concerning the health effects of vitamin E is used as a case study to help students understand why different research studies may find seemingly opposite results. Students learn useful approaches for evaluating and synthesizing conflicting research results, with a major focus on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies (laboratory experiments, observational studies, and clinical trials). Students also learn that the results of any single study should be interpreted with caution, since results of similar studies vary (due to random variation and differences in specific study characteristics). (new 11/2012)

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Should You Drink Sports Drinks?  When?  Why?

The questions in this activity help students to understand the effects of consuming sports drinks and when and how the consumption of sports drinks can be beneficial or harmful. This activity provides the opportunity to review some basic concepts related to osmosis, cellular respiration, mammalian temperature regulation, and how our different body systems cooperate to maintain homeostasis. (revised 9/2013)

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If you have any comments or would like additional information, please contact Ingrid Waldron at iwaldron@upenn.edu.

Copyright, 2003- 2024 by Drs. Ingrid Waldron, Jennifer Doherty, Scott Poethig, Mecky Pohlschroder and Lori Spindler, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania

Teachers are encouraged to copy and modify these activities for use in their teaching.

Comments

iwaldron's picture

Comment from teacher Ruth Seabaugh

"I found your website Serendip Studio and have used several of the materials in my 9th-grade biology class. I absolutely love the brains-on activities! This is exactly what I was looking for and it is so wonderful not to have to recreate the wheel. So many activities are regurgitation and require no student thinking, so I wanted to thank you so much for making these materials available for free." (Quoted with permission)

Ruby Sangha's picture

Request for signal transduction files

Hi Ingrid
Cannot thank you enough for all of your effort and help. Am obliged !
Ingrid, I would be grateful if you could add some files on 'Signal transduction', 'Gene expression', 'Operon model', 'Gene regulation' because I cannot find resources to teach these topics in a simple way.

Regards
Ruby

iwaldron's picture

Thanks for your feedback

Good morning,

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. I will add your suggestions to my list of potential projects, but I should mention that this list is already long, so it might be quite a while before I get to this. Meanwhile, we do have one activity that may be relevant, “Cell Differentiation and Epigenetics” (/exchange/bioactivities/epigenetics). Please let me know what you think of this activity. Thank you.

Ingrid

iwaldron's picture

NGSS-aligned Activities for Teaching Chemistry

We have received a couple of inquiries about NGSS-aligned activities for teaching chemistry. Our first suggestion is NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Classroom Resources, available at http://ngss.nsta.org/Classroom-Resources.aspx. (Chemistry activities are included under physical science.)

 You may also find some useful learning activities in:

 We welcome your comments on these resources and your suggestions of additional resources.

Ingrid

Serendip Visitor's picture

THANK YOU!!!

I have been looking for meaningful and inexpensive labs for my class!!! these are wonderful!!!!

Nicole's picture

THANK YOU

Thank you so much for developing this content and making it available for free online!

Serendip Visitor's picture

great resources

Hello,
Thanks for the great resources. I didn't realize before I started to use the photosynthesis and respiration minds-on activities that these lessons were designed for classrooms with limited internet access, and I wanted to add my two-cents about that. I do have regular internet access in a computer lab or with a laptop cart, and most students now have a mobile device that they can share with others. Web activities and quests are great, but I find that with these minds-on activities (I like that term a lot), my students are more likely to read carefully, study diagrams, refer to previous lessons, and are overall more engaged than if they were using screen time to accomplish similar learning tasks. I use these activities using a POGIL style approach, and my students have a much deeper understanding of these difficult topics - and they enjoy the opportunity to work on them together. I would encourage more teachers who are concerned about students obtaining a deep understanding of biological topics to steer clear of flashier web based applications and make some of these resources work for their classrooms (thank you for publishing the resources in Word so it is easier to do this). I wish I had found them years ago!
Ben

Serendip Visitor's picture

Fantastic!

Thank you very much for putting together this content at a time when my country is grappling with the challenge of shortage of science teachers. I am looking for ways this content can be used by the learners with minimum guidance from a teacher. Secondly, our curriculum is being revised so as to make it more relevant and I find most of your content useful in this regard.

Serendip Visitor's picture

WOW!

Thanks for putting together this site. My colleague and I are re-vamping our grade 9 Biology curriculum to be skills based learning, and there are so many hands-on activities for learning we will be able to use. Brilliant!

Serendip Visitor's picture

using sight for teacher and student curriculum

I am viewing this sight for lesson plans that are more electronically friendly to the classroom.

iwaldron's picture

Web resources

The activities on this website have been designed for teachers whose students do not have easy classroom access to the web. There are many excellent web-based activities available. Examples of websites with useful activities that you may want to investigate are:

Ingrid

Nelly Celis's picture

biology resources

excellente all this material. thank you

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