Middle School Biology

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Middle School Biology Collection Resources (67)

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Adaptations for Bird Flight – Inspiration for Aeronautical Engineering
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This activity first asks the students to study the patterns of bird flight and understand that four main forces affect the flight abilities of a bird. They will study the shape, feather structure, and resulting differences in the pattern of flight. They will then look at several articles that feature newly designed planes and the birds that they are modeled after. The final component of this activity is to watch the Nature documentary, "Raptor Force" which chronicles the flight patterns of birds, how researchers study these animals, and what interests our military and aeronautical engineers about these natural adaptations. This activity serves as an extension to the biomimetics lesson. Although students will not be using this information in the design process for their desert resort, it provides interesting information pertaining to the current use of biomimetics in the field of aviation. Students may extend their design process by using this information to create a means of transportation to and from the resort if they chose to.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bacteria Are Everywhere!
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
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Students are introduced to the concept of engineering biological organisms and studying their growth to be able to identify periods of fast and slow growth. They learn that bacteria are found everywhere, including on the surfaces of our hands. Student groups study three different conditions under which bacteria are found and compare the growth of the individual bacteria from each source. In addition to monitoring the quantity of bacteria from differ conditions, they record the growth of bacteria over time, which is an excellent tool to study binary fission and the reproduction of unicellular organisms.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Biology
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Janet Yowell
Jasmin Hume
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Biodomes
Conditions of Use:
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Students explore the biosphere's environments and ecosystems, learning along the way about the plants, animals, resources and natural cycles of our planet. Over the course of lessons 2-6, students use their growing understanding of various environments and the engineering design process to design and create their own model biodome ecosystems - exploring energy and nutrient flows, basic needs of plants and animals, and decomposers. Students learn about food chains and food webs. They are introduced to the roles of the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles. They test the effects of photosynthesis and transpiration. Students are introduced to animal classifications and interactions, including carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, predator and prey. They learn about biomimicry and how engineers often imitate nature in the design of new products. As everyday applications are interwoven into the lessons, students consider why a solid understanding of one's environment and the interdependence within ecosystems can inform the choices we make and the way we engineer our communities.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Christopher Valenti
Denise W. Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
11/11/2008
Bioinformatics
Conditions of Use:
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This exercise contains two interrelated modules that introduce students to modern biological techniques in the area of Bioinformatics, which is the application of computer technology to the management of biological information. The need for Bioinformatics has arisen from the recent explosion of publicly available genomic information, such as that resulting from the Human Genome Project.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Teaching With Data
Author:
Monica Bruckner
Date Added:
08/28/2012
Bug Hunt
Rating

“Bug Hunt” uses NetLogo software and simulates an insect population that is preyed on by birds. There are six speeds of bugs from slow to fast and the bird tries to catch as many insects as possible in a certain amount of time. Students are able to see the results graphed as the average insect speed over time, the current bug population and the number of insects caught. There are two variations to try for the predator, one where the predator pursues the prey and one where the predator stays still and captures insects that pass nearby. In the first case the “bird” catches the slow insects and the faster ones survive, reproduce and pass genes on. The average speed of bug should increase over time. In the second case the faster bugs come near to the bird more often than the slow ones. The slow ones survive more, reproduce and pass their genes on.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Northwestern University
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Author:
Wilensky, Uri
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Cell Celebration!
Conditions of Use:
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In this lesson, the students look at the components of cells and their functions. The lesson focuses on the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Each part of the cell performs a specific function that is vital for the cell's survival. Bacteria are single-celled organisms that are very important to engineers. Engineers can use bacteria to break down toxic materials in a process called bioremediation, and they can also kill or disable harmful bacteria through disinfection.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Glen Sirakavit
Janet Yowell
Kaelin Cawley
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cell Membrane Color Sheet and Build a Cell Membrane
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Students color-code a schematic of a cell and its cell membrane structures. Then they complete the "Build-a-Membrane" activity found at http://learn.genetics.utah.edu. This reinforces their understanding of the structure and function of animal cells, and shows them the importance of being able to construct a tangible model of something that is otherwise difficult to see.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Amber Spolarich
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cell Membrane Structure and Function
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students learn about the different structures that comprise cell membranes, fulfilling part of the Research and Revise stages of the legacy cycle. They view online animations of cell membrane dynamics (links provided). Then they observe three teacher demonstrations that illustrate diffusion and osmosis concepts, as well as the effect of movement through a semi-permeable membrane using Lugol's solution.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Amber Spolarich
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cells
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

In this unit, students look at the components of cells and their functions and discover the controversy behind stem cell research. The first lesson focuses on the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. In the second lesson, students learn about the basics of cellular respiration. They also learn about the application of cellular respiration to engineering and bioremediation. The third lesson continues students' education on cells in the human body and how (and why) engineers are involved in the research of stem cell behavior.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Full Course
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Cellular Respiration and Bioremediation
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

In this lesson, students learn about the basics of cellular respiration. They also learn about the application of cellular respiration to engineering and bioremediation. And, students are introduced to the process of bioremediation and several examples of how bioremediation is used during the cleanup of environmental contaminants.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Janet Yowell
Kaelin Cawley
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Clipbirds
Rating

This variation on the classic bird beak activity demonstrates variation of beak size within a population and shows how the proportion of big-, medium-, and small-beaked birds changes in response to the available types of food. The “birds” with binder clip “beaks” live in Clipland where the large population becomes divided into two smaller populations by a mountain range. Popcorn, lima beans and marbles are the three types of food available in the two areas. Food is spread out for the birds to eat and then after 15 seconds it is counted to see whether birds have gathered enough food to survive. The big billed birds need to eat more than the medium and small billed birds to survive and each bird needs to eat more than the minimum amount of food for survival to be able to reproduce. Four years pass during the simulation and students are asked to describe what happened to the Clipbird populations and what they think caused the changes. A link to Rosemary and Peter Grant’s research on finch populations in the Galapagos is identified for those teachers who want to connect the simulation to a real life example.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
UC Museum of Paleontology
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Author:
Al Janulaw, Judy Scotchmoor
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Corn for Fuel?!
Conditions of Use:
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In this activity, students examine how to grow plants the most efficiently. They imagine that they are designing a biofuels production facility and need to know how to efficiently grow plants to use in this facility. As a means of solving this design problem, they plan a scientific experiment in which they investigate how a given variable (of their choice) affects plant growth. They then make predictions about the outcomes and record their observations after two weeks regarding the condition of the plants' stem, leaves and roots. They use these observations to guide their solution to the engineering design problem. The biological processes of photosynthesis and transpiration are briefly explained to help students make informed decisions about planning and interpreting their investigation and its results.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Christopher Valenti
Janet Yowell
Karen King
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Creation of Dichotomous Keys From a BioBlitz
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This activity is a field investigation of the biodiversity in a given area. The exercise will give students experience making scientific observations and creating a dichotomous key.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Carl Pedersen
Date Added:
08/10/2012
The Day the Mesozoic Died
Rating

This three-act film tells the story of the detective work that solved the mystery of what caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. Shot on location in Italy, Spain, Texas, Colorado, and North Dakota, the film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants, and microorganisms. Science practices in geology, physics, biology, chemistry and paleontology all contributed to the solution to this compelling mystery. Lesson plans are included that have students identify evidence and construct an explanation to tie it together. Summary questions are included at the end and a class discussion is recommended. (This activity will be the only one evaluated in this review.) Another resource is “Finding the Crater” where students “visit” different K-T boundary sites. There are also lessons where students analyze various characteristics of the asteroid such as its size and energy, chemical data about the asteroid, and the iridium fallout from an asteroid impact. A hands-on activity where students study the differences in foraminifera fossils below and above the K-T boundary is also included as well as an article that outlines more details about each of the discoveries covered in the film. You can view the film on the website or HHMI will send you a free DVD. Lesson plans including teacher notes and a student handout can be found at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/following-trail-evidence.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Author:
Mary Colvard
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Determining Bulk Density of Different Soil Samples and Data Analysis
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This activity combines field exercise soil collection with lab analysis of soil bulk density. Students develop a lab procedure to measure density and analyze data using Microsoft Excel computer software.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Leslie Kreller
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Diffusion Demonstration
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

In this interactive demonstration students will make observations of diffusion of a semi permeable membrane and be able to compare these observations to the functions of a cell membrane.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Simulation
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Kari Donze
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Digest Your Food!
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In a multi-week experiment, student teams gather biogas data from the mini-anaerobic digesters that they build to break down different types of food waste with microbes. Using plastic soda bottles for the mini-anaerobic digesters and gas measurement devices, they compare methane gas production from decomposing hot dogs, diced vs. whole. They monitor and measure the gas production, then graph and analyze the collected data. Students learn how anaerobic digestion can be used to biorecycle waste (food, poop or yard waste) into valuable resources (nutrients, biogas, energy).

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Caryssa Joustra
Daniel Yeh
Emanuel Burch
George Dick
Herby Jean
Ivy Drexler
Jorge Calabria
Lyudmila Haralampieva
Matthew Woodham
Onur Ozcan
Robert Bair
Stephanie Quintero
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Diversity of Life in Your Neighborhood
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Rating

This is a field investigation on diversity of life where students count the number of kinds organisms in two locations. Students report their results on posters and propose reasons why there might be difference in diversity between the locations.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Daniel C. Bearfield
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Dueling Mandates
Rating

Using dilemma cards describing some of the issues affecting Yellowstone National Park, students work in small groups to consider management issues that meet both of the conflicting mandates that the National Park Service must follow." There are 6 dilemmas that the class can be broken into groups to research. These dilemmas include wolf reintroduction, bison diseases, non-native trout, wildfires, resource sharing, and winter use of park lands. After researching each dilemma, students will make a pros/cons list, a final decision, and a brief presentation to the class. While the website recommends completing this lesson "after the expedition" to Yellowstone park, it can be done without visiting the park.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Effect of Environment on Plant Growth
Rating

This activity demonstrates the effect of changes in the environment on the growth of plants. The plants are placed in environments such as high salinity, cold, heat, or drought and observe the different reactions (growth) of the plants to these conditions. Students discuss the desirability of breeding new types of plants that are better able to withstand these changes if they occur in the general environment. The objectives of this activity is to: 1. Plant, grow and maintain plants under different environmental treatment conditions. 2. Observe differences in plant growth between these treatments. 3. Compare the growth of treated plants with the growth of control plants

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
American Phytopathological Society
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Author:
Janice Stephens
Jan Leach
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Eggs and the Equinox
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

Students test the question, "Do eggs balance on the equinox?" Students develop their own procedure, analyze their data and come up with their own conclusions.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Jeanette Landin
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Energy Flow through Organisms: An Introduction to Photosynthesis and Respiration
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This classroom activity introduces students to energy flow through organisms, producers & photosynthesis, and consumers & respiration.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Brad Snyder
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Healthy Waters
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Rating

This activity is a mock investigation into different macroinvertebrates found in the streams in your local city. Students will record and analyze data that will lead them to learn if the water quality is good or bad in their backyard.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Jason Voss
Date Added:
08/10/2012
How to Make Yeast Cells Thrive
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students set up and run the experiments they designed in the Population Growth in Yeasts associated lesson, using simple yeast-molasses cultures in test tubes. Population growth is indicated by the amount of respiration occurring in the cultures, which in turn is indicated by the growth of carbon dioxide bubbles trapped within the culture tubes. Using this method, students test for a variety of environmental influences, such as temperature, food supply and pH.

Subject:
Engineering
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Insect Investigations
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This activity is a field investigation or bio-blitz where students are collecting as many different types of insects as they can. Back in the lab, they will record their findings, sort and classify the insects found. This will lead into a class discussion on biodiversity and the importance of insects and their benefits all living things.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Jaime Souza
Date Added:
08/16/2012
Introduction to Dichotomous Keys
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This activity is a lab where students learn to classify objects that are similar into groups and technically describe their classifications. Introduction to dichotomous keys.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Lindsey Oliver
Date Added:
08/10/2012
An Introduction to and Investigation on Keystone Species
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Rating

This activity is a project in which students research keystone species and report on specific species to the class.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Sarah De La Forest
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Investigating Microbes in a Nature Center
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Rating

This field and classroom activity involves identification of similarities, differences, advantages, and disadvantages in survival, method of locomotion, food acquisition, and reproduction in three fresh-water microbes.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Mary Holmberg
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Investigating Osmosis Using Water and Gummy Bears
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This activity is a classroom lab where the students gather data on the affect water has on gummy bear candies and develops an experiment based on a new question regarding a not plain water solution. Students will perform calculations and graph their results.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Katie Melgaard
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Investigating Photosynthesis
Rating

Students design and conduct simple experiments using elodea (aquatic plant sold in pet stores) and Bromthymol blue to determine whether plants consume or release carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis. Students will record their data which will be used to conclude whether carbon dioxide was consumed or released by the elodea. Through class discussion of student data, students will learn that carbon dioxide was consumed during photosynthesis.

Subject:
Biology
Ecology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
MNStep
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Investigating Reproductive Strategies
Rating

Students work in pairs to compare five aspects of an organism that reproduces sexually, asexually, or both sexually and asexually. The activity comes with a chart for the students to fill out and with information sheets on twelve organisms. As a class, students share their comparisons and generate a list of general characteristics for each mode of reproduction and then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both. Included in the discussion are reproductive mechanisms and genetic variation.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
University of Utah
Provider Set:
NGSS@NSTA
Date Added:
10/12/2015
Investigating Soils
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

This guided inquiry is a laboratory investigation on soil textures where students gather and analyze data, compare findings and develop new experimental questions.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Wayne Buckley
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Investigating Water Quality Through Quantative and Qualitative Analysis of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sampling
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

In activity is a Biology field lab where students will investigate the relative health of an aquatic system based on bioindicators. Students will then summarize and reflect upon their findings.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Matthew Duffee
Date Added:
08/10/2012