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Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students

Science lab at workHands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students provides hands-on, minds on activities to help students learn about:

The expression "hands-on, minds-on" summarizes the philosophy we have incorporated in these activities - namely, that students will learn best if they are actively engaged and if their activities are closely linked to understanding important biological concepts. 

Most of our activities support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). 

Additional resources for teaching biology are available at Minds-on Activities for Teaching Biology.  These teaching resources include remote ready analysis and discussion activities, games, and overviews of important biological topics, including major concepts, common misconceptions, and suggested learning activities. We encourage you to subscribe to our listserv to receive notices when we post new activities or significantly improved versions of current activities.

We invite general comments in this comments section. If you have comments on specific activities, please use the links above to get to the comments section for each activity.  We welcome suggestions for other teachers, including useful preparatory or follow-up activities, additional resources, any questions you have, or a brief description of any problem you might have encountered.

If you would prefer to send your comments or questions in a private message, please write Ingrid Waldron at


Claudia's picture

IB Biology

As a first year IB Biology teacher in Australia, I am very grateful for all of Ingrid's hands-on, minds-on activities. I love how they link to real-world scenarios, add meaning and foster critical thinking. Thank you so much!

MH's picture

Thank you!

I am a public high school science teacher, and I've used many of your materials. When I need something new, I often go to your site first because you have such high-quality, hands-on, minds-on, NGSS-aligned activities.

Thank you for creating these resources and for making them free. These resources are needed and much appreciated!

Cheryl Ann Hollinger's picture

Thank you!

I've been a big fan of your Serendip Studio resources for years! I've used many of your activities in my Biology and my AP Biology classes. Your site is always one of the top 3 that I mention to other Biology teachers when they ask for recommendations of great websites. Thank you so much for your dedication to Biology education.

Kristen's picture


I am a high school Biology teacher and have been for ten years. I just wanted to thank you for making your amazing materials so accessible. It is very rare to find activities that are so accurate and comprehensive. I rarely need to modify the activities but it is helpful to be able to given the word document format. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Jonathan 's picture


I am training to be science teacher and will graduate next year (2015) and I find very helpful in retrieving your lab practicals. I have retrieved many and hope it will help me much in my teaching career. Thank you very much you producing this practicals.

Dan's picture

Science and PBL

Hi! I am the Chair of Science of an alternative learning school that focuses on Project Based Learning Curriculum. This is by far and away the best website that I have ever seen, in all of my years of teaching, for Science PBL Tasks. Thank you very much for your assistance. And please notify me of updates.

Dee Bowen's picture

Biology. AP Biology, Forensic, Anatomy

I teach four HS sciences and found your activities to be a wonderful addition to my curriculum in all four areas! They provide excellent reinforcement and depth to the content we are studying. Your activities truly help the students learn and have saved me a lot of time in preparation. I highly recommend these activities. THANK YOU and well done.

Jessica G's picture

Thank you!

This is my first year teaching Biology, and as I work to incorporate more meaningful labs into my curriculum, your site has been so very valuable! I especially appreciate how your labs include the scientific method so thoroughly and allow for student design of experiments! Also thank you for providing the word documents to allow teachers like me to edit the labs to fit our specific groups of students! Keep up the good work!

Ricardo Azpiroz's picture


I am a Community College instructor on the prowl for activities and resources to incorporate into our Intro Biology lab. I have found wonderful stuff here and have used the Sockosome Meiosis activity with great success.

I do have a question: What is your policy regarding distribution of printed materials? I would like to incorporate some of your content into a lab manual to post online for our students to access. This would save them money and save us the hassle of dealing with publishers and the college bookstore. The copyright to our current manual is owned by the publisher (though we created it) so we need to come up with new material. What are your terms of use?

Ricardo Azpiroz, PhD
Richland College
Dallas, TX

iwaldron's picture

Using our material in an online lab manual

Dear Ricardo,

We are happy to learn that you have found our material useful.

If you want to post some of our materials in a lab manual on a website with access restricted to students in your courses, you are free to use any of our material, provided you acknowledge the source, including authors and website.

If you want to post any of our materials in a lab manual on a website with public access, we request that, instead of copying our material, you provide a brief explanation with a link to the relevant part of the Serendip website.

Please let me know if you would like any additional information.



Ingrid Waldron, Ph.D.

Department of Biology
University of Pennsylvania


Chris's picture


I'm a new science teacher and I found your website at /sci_edu/waldron while looking for activities for my biology class. I just want to thank you for the INCREDIBLE resources you provide! Not only are you helping high school students learn biology concepts in an urban school in Las Vegas, you are helping a new teacher become more effective in the classroom. Thanks again!

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