The goal of this lesson is to introduce students who are interested in human biology and biochemistry to the subtleties of energy metabolism (typically not presented in standard biology and biochemistry textbooks) through the lens of ATP as the primary energy currency of the cell. Avoiding the details of the major pathways of energy production (such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation), this lesson is focused exclusively on ATP, which is truly the fuel of life. Starting with the discovery and history of ATP, this lesson will walk the students through 8 segments (outlined below) interspersed by 7 in-class challenge questions and activities, to the final step of ATP production by the ATP synthase, an amazing molecular machine. A basic understanding of the components and subcellular organization (e.g. organelles, membranes, etc.) and chemical foundation (e.g. biomolecules, chemical equilibrium, biochemical energetics, etc.) of a eukaryotic cell is a desired prerequisite, but it is not a must. Through interactive in-class activities, this lesson is designed to spark the students’ interest in biochemistry and human biology as a whole, but could serve as an introductory lesson to teaching advanced concepts of metabolism and bioenergetics in high school depending on the local science curriculum. No supplies or materials are needed.
High School Biology
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.
Hunt for prey and discover the meaning of evolutionary “fitness” in this physically active group game. In this simulation game, teams of predators equipped with genetically different “mouths” (utensils) hunt for “prey” (assorted beans). Over several “generations” of play, the fittest among the predators and prey dominate the population, modeling the evolutionary process of natural selection.
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about blood and its components while instilling an appreciation of its importance for survival. The lesson takes a step-by-step approach to determining the recipe for blood while introducing students to important laboratory techniques like centrifugation and microscopy, as well as some diseases of cell types found in blood. It also highlights the importance of donating blood by explaining basic physiological concepts and the blood donation procedure.
Construct a protein through cereal additions. Model the central dogma of molecular biology by constructing a colorful chain using a simple code (and some delicious cereal).
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.
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.
The topic of this video module is how to classify animals based on how closely related they are. The main learning objective is that students will learn how to make phylogenetic trees based on both physical characteristics and on DNA sequence. Students will also learn why the objective and quantitative nature of DNA sequencing is preferable when it come to classifying animals based on how closely related they are. Knowledge prerequisites to this lesson include that students have some understanding of what DNA is and that they have a familiarity with the base-pairing rules and with writing a DNA sequence.
This online interactive module of 10 pages or frames integrates textual information, 3D molecular models, interactive molecular simulations, and embedded assessment items to guide students in understanding the copying of DNA base sequences from translation to transcription into proteins within each cell. The module divides the exercises in to Day 1 and Day 2 time frames. Teachers can view student assessment responses by assigning the module within a class created within the Molecular Workbench application. This Java-based module must be downloaded to each computer.
In this video module, students learn how scientists use genetic information from dogs to find out which gene (out of all 20,000 dog genes) is associated with any specific trait or disease of interest. This method involves comparing hundreds of dogs with the trait to hundreds of dogs not displaying the trait, and examining which position on the dog DNA is correlated with the trait (i.e. has one DNA sequence in dogs with the trait but another DNA sequence in dogs not displaying the trait). Students will also learn something about the history of dog breeds and how this history helps us find genes.
Scientists who are working to discover new medicines often use robots to prepare samples of cells, allowing them to test chemicals to identify those that might be used to treat diseases. Students will meet a scientist who works to identify new medicines. She created free software that ''looks'' at images of cells and determines which images show cells that have responded to the potential medicines. Students will learn about how this technology is currently enabling research to identify new antibiotics to treat tuberculosis. Students will complete hands-on activities that demonstrate how new medicines can be discovered using robots and computer software, starring the student as ''the computer.'' In the process, the students learn about experimental design, including positive and negative controls.
This video lesson shows students that math can play a role in understanding how an infectious disease spreads and how it can be controlled. During this lesson, students will see and use both deterministic and probabilistic models and will learn by doing through role-playing exercises. The primary exercises between video segments of this lesson are class-intensive simulation games in which members of the class 'infect' each other under alternative math modeling assumptions about disease progression. Also there is an occasional class discussion and local discussion with nearby classmates.
The topic of this video module is genetic basis for variation among humans. The main learning objective is that students will learn the genetic mechanisms that cause variation among humans (parents and children, brothers and sisters) and how to calculate the probability that two individuals will have an identical genetic makeup. This module does not require many prerequisites, only a general knowledge of DNA as the genetic material, as well as a knowledge of meiosis.
Students are challenged to think as biomedical engineers and brainstorm ways to administer medication to a patient who is unable to swallow. They learn about the advantages and disadvantages of current drug delivery methods—oral, injection, topical, inhalation and suppository—and pharmaceutical design considerations, including toxicity, efficacy, size, solubility/bioavailability and drug release duration. They apply their prior knowledge about human anatomy, the circulatory system, polymers, crystals and stoichiometry to real-world biomedical applications. A Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation and worksheets are provided. This lesson prepares students for the associated activity in which they create and test large-size drug encapsulation prototypes to provide the desired delayed release and duration timing.
This is a short activity for growing the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. It includes materials needed, a three-step procedure, and helpful tips. The site is part of the Turbulent Landscapes exhibit at the Exploratorium. Links to other activities and features of the exhibit are also included.
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.
This interactive simulation of human homeostasis provides students the opportunity to explore how our body maintains a stable internal environment in spite of of the outside conditions, within certain limits. This simulation allows students to investigate a phenomenon that may in real life, be dangerous to humans. Students are asked to regulate the internal body temperature of an individual using clothing, exercise, and perspiration. A four- page exploration sheet guides students through the simulation, including a short prior knowledge piece providing information on how to use the simulation and introductory questions. Two separate activities are included: one that helps students understand the how each external factor affects initial body temperature and another that allows students to explore effects on body temperature after one hour. In the second portion of the interactive simulation students try to maintain a stable body temperature when the factors are changed. Students choose the factors of exercise level, sweat level, body position, clothing, and nutrients in terms of both water and food to maintain homeostasis. The simulation generates data tables and graphing during specific time intervals of outside temperature and body temperature. Students may also alter the outside temperature as part of the simulation. Students adjust the exercise level, amount of clothing, and sweating levels. Water level, sugar level, and fatigue level are influenced by the students choices and are illustrated by bar graphs and line graphs. This simulation can provide an introduction to a lesson or unit that explores how body systems interact. This simulation provides a good foundation for continued study of how the body systems interact and would be an excellent starting point for a lesson or unit on this concept. This interactive simulation provides students with a strong introduction to how body systems interact as the simulation illustrates how to maintain body temperature, sugar level and fatigue level and students are made aware of the consequences of not maintaining those levels. The importance of water and food are also emphasized. Students can rerun the simulation making different choices to determine the effects on homeostasis. Student exploration sheets provide guides for different runs with students setting their own parameters for the runs and drawing conclusions from the resulting changes. Teachers can view student assessment responses by assigning the simulation to a class created within the ExploreLearning site. Access to the teachers guide is provided with the free 30 day access and is helpful and complete. Vocabulary of dehydration, heat stroke, homeostasis, hypothermia, and involuntary, voluntary and thermoregulation are explained in detail in the accompanying teachers vocabulary guide.
Through two lessons and five activities, students explore the structure and function of cell membranes. Specific transport functions, including active and passive transport, are presented. In the legacy cycle tradition, students are motivated with a Grand Challenge question. As they study the ingress and egress of particles through membranes, students learn about quantum dots and biotechnology through the concept of intracellular engineering.
This Java-based NetLogo model allows students to investigate the chemical and energy inputs and outputs of photosynthesis through an interactive simulation. The simulation is a visual, conceptual model of photosynthesis and does not generate quantitative data. The central concept in the model is the role of chlorophyll in capturing light energy, and this concept is presented without delving into the biochemical details of the photosynthetic reactions. This allows students to focus on the core idea that photosynthesis transforms light energy into chemical energy. Along with exploring the basic process of photosynthesis, students can investigate the effects of light intensity, the day-night cycle (assuming the most common C3 photosynthetic pathway), CO2 concentration, and water availability on the rate of sugar production during photosynthesis. The model highlights the cycling within the chloroplasts between excited and unexcited states as energy is captured and released by chlorophyll. The lesson is written as an introductory learning experience, beginning with the question: What is needed for photosynthesis in a leaf, and what is produced? This resource is best suited as one in a series of learning experiences that either reinforce or extend the concepts addressed here. The model is embedded within an electronic form that provides instructions and guiding questions. Teachers and students should note that the electronic form does not save user data. An important limitation is that the model relies heavily on students visual perception, and this may pose a barrier for some students.
In this activity on page 1 of the PDF, learners compare the relative sizes of biological objects (like DNA and bacteria) that can't be seen by the naked eye. Learners will be surprised to discover the range of sizes in the microscopic world. This activity can be followed up with a second activity, "What's in a microbe?", located on page 3 in the same resource.
This site dissects a sheep brain to show us the anatomy of memory. See works of an artist who paints entirely from memory. (Compare his paintings to photos of places.) Play interactive games that test your memory -- learn ways to improve it. Discover why some things are easier to remember than others (droodles game). Which facial features help us remember a face? Which image of the penny is correct? Try a mnemonic device called elaborative encoding.
This Protein Purification video lesson is intended to give students some insight into the process and tools that scientists and engineers use to explore proteins. It is designed to extend the knowledge of students who are already somewhat sophisticated and who have a good understanding of basic biology. The question that motivates this lesson is, ''what makes two cell types different?'' and this question is posed in several ways. Such scientific reasoning raises the experimental question: how could you study just a subset of specialized proteins that distinguish one cell type from another? Two techniques useful in this regard are considered in the lesson.
This site shows what blood is, what happens when the immune system goes awry, what are stem cells are, and more. See videos exploring cell structure and function, cell development and motility, plankton, plants, and protozoa. Learn how the sea urchin helps us understand genes, reproduction, and cancer.
This activity shows you how to make a mold terrarium using a jar and leftover food. Learners explore mold, an "icky but necessary" thing that helps living matter rot, return to the soil, and provide nutrients for other plants. If you use a variety of food scraps, with preservatives and without, you'll see the different kinds of mold and be able to compare the rate of growth on various foods. Note: don't put meat or fish in your mold terrarium--after a few days, these would start to smell very, very bad.
Students perform an activity similar to the childhood “telephone” game in which each communication step represents a biological process related to the passage of DNA from one cell to another. This game tangibly illustrates how DNA mutations can happen over several cell generations and the effects the mutations can have on the proteins that cells need to produce. Next, students use the results from the “telephone” game (normal, substitution, deletion or insertion) to test how the mutation affects the survivability of an organism in the wild. Through simple enactments, students act as “predators” and “eat” (remove) the organism from the environment, demonstrating natural selection based on mutation.
Students learn about mutations to both DNA and chromosomes, and uncontrolled changes to the genetic code. They are introduced to small-scale mutations (substitutions, deletions and insertions) and large-scale mutations (deletion duplications, inversions, insertions, translocations and nondisjunctions). The effects of different mutations are studied as well as environmental factors that may increase the likelihood of mutations. A PowerPoint® presentation and pre/post-assessments are provided.
In this activity students analyze a familys pedigrees to make a claim based on evidence about mode of inheritance of a lactose intolerance trait, determine the most likely inheritance pattern of a trait, and analyze variations in DNA to make a claim about which variants are associated with specific traits. This activity serves as a supplement to the film Got Lactose? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/making-fittest-got-lactase-co-evolution-genes-and-culture). The film shows a scientist as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults. A detailed teachers guide that includes curriculum connections, teaching tips, time requirements, answer key and a student guide can be downloaded at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/pedigrees-and-inheritance-lactose-intolerance. Six supporting resource and two click and learn activities are also found on the link.
Population Explosion is a computer simulation which allows students to manipulate factors to see what happens over time to a population of sheep within an enclosed field. As the simulation runs, a graph shows the dynamic relationship between the sheep population size and their primary food resource, grass. Students can control factors such as initial number of sheep, grass regrowth rate, gain from food, and birthrate. Predation is represented by a reaper button which may also be controlled. The speed of the simulation can be set so that students can see more clearly what happens over time, or collect data more quickly, depending on how fast the simulation runs. Directions and a suggested simulation sequence are provided along with prompts so that students can pause and consider their results. A space within the simulation is provided for students to record observations and answers to the prompts. For each step in this suggested sequence, students take a snapshot of graphs they have created and store them in an album. At the end of the activity analysis questions help students connect the activity to wild populations. An optional extension exercise is also suggested.
Using Avida-ED freeware, students control a few factors in an environment populated with digital organisms, and then compare how changing these factors affects population growth. They experiment by altering the environment size (similar to what is called carrying capacity, the maximum population size that an environment can normally sustain), the initial organism gestation rate, and the availability of resources. How systems function often depends on many different factors. By altering these factors one at a time, and observing the results, students are able to clearly see the effect of each one.
This lesson is the second of two that explore cellular respiration and population growth in yeasts. In the first lesson, students set up a simple way to indirectly observe and quantify the amount of respiration occurring in yeast-molasses cultures. Based on questions that arose during the first lesson and its associated activity, in this lesson students work in small groups to design experiments that will determine how environmental factors affect yeast population growth.
This video aims to provide an illustrative lesson about the respiratory system in birds and how the adaptations of that system over time have made it different than that of other living creatures, especially mammals. Birds are omnipresent in our lives, and students will come to understand and appreciate the fascinating inner workings of these beautiful creatures. This lesson discusses avian features and differences for 20 to 25 minutes, with approximately 20 minutes of in-class student activities.
In this activity, learners explore how different deodorants work. Learners treat agar plates with different types of deodorants and compare the bacteria growth on the plates to the control sample.
Students learn that engineers develop different polymers to serve various functions and are introduced to selectively permeable membranes. In a warm-up activity, they construct models of selectively permeable membranes using common household materials, and are reminded about simple diffusion and passive transport. In the main activity, student pairs test and compare the selective permeability of everyday polymer materials engineered for food storage (including plastic grocery bags, zipper sandwich bags, and plastic wrap) with various in-solution molecules (iodine, corn starch, food coloring, marker dye), assess how the polymer’s permeability relates to its function/purpose, and compare that to the permeability of dialysis tubing (which simulates a cell membrane).
Students learn about water quality testing and basic water treatment processes and technology options. Biological, physical and chemical treatment processes are addressed, as well as physical and biological water quality testing, including testing for bacteria such as E. coli.
Students experience the engineering design process as they design, fabricate, test and redesign their own methods for encapsulation of a (hypothetical) new miracle drug. As if they are engineers, teams make large-size prototypes to test proof of concept. They use household materials (tape, paper towels, plastic wrap, weed-barrier fabric, glues, etc.) to attach a coating to a porous "shell" (a perforated plastic Wiffle® ball) containing the medicine (colored drink mix powder). The objective is to delay the drug release by a certain time and have a long release duration—patterned after the timed release requirements of many real-world pharmaceuticals that are released from a polymer shell via diffusion in the body. Guided by a worksheet, teams go through at least three design/test iterations, aiming to achieve a solution close to the target time release constraints.
Students are introduced to an engineering challenge in which they are given a job assignment to separate three types of apples. However, they are unable to see the color differences between the apples, and as a result, they must think as engineers to design devices that can be used to help them distinguish the apples from one another. Solving the challenge depends on an understanding of wave properties and the biology of sight. After being introduced to the challenge, students form ideas and brainstorm about what background knowledge is required to solve the challenge. A class discussion produces student ideas that can be grouped into broad subject categories: waves and wave properties, light and the electromagnetic spectrum, and the structure of the eye.
How is it that all cells in our body have the same genes, yet cells in different tissues express different genes? A basic notion in biology that most high school students fail to conceptualize is the fact that all cells in the animal or human body contain the same DNA, yet different cells in different tissues express, on the one hand, a set of common genes, and on the other, express another set of genes that vary depending on the type of tissue and the stage of development. In this video lesson, the student will be reminded that genes in a cell/tissue are expressed when certain conditions in the nucleus are met. Interestingly, the system utilized by the cell to ensure tissue specific gene expression is rather simple. Among other factors - all discussed fully in the lesson - the cells make use of a tiny scaffold known as the “Nuclear Matrix or Nucleo-Skeleton”. This video lesson spans 20 minutes and provides 5 exercises for students to work out in groups and in consultation with their classroom teacher. The entire duration of the video demonstration and exercises should take about 45-50 minutes, or equivalent to one classroom session. There are no supplies needed for students’ participation in the provided exercises. They will only need their notebooks and pens. However, the teacher may wish to emulate the demonstrations used in the video lesson by the presenter and in this case simple material can be used as those used in the video. These include play dough, pencils, rubber bands (to construct the nuclear matrix model), a tennis ball and 2-3 Meters worth of shoe laces. The students should be aware of basic information about DNA folding in the nucleus, DNA replication, gene transcription, translation and protein synthesis.
it would be ideal if students already have learned that DNA is the genetic material, and that DNA is made up of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs. It also would help if students already know that each human has two versions of every piece of DNA in their genome, one from mom and one from dad. The lesson will take about one class period, with roughly 30 minutes of footage and 30 minutes of activities.
Students learn about homeostasis and create models by constructing simple feedback systems using Arduino boards, temperature sensors, LEDs and Arduino code. Starting with pre-written code, students instruct LEDs to activate in response to the sensor detecting a certain temperature range. They determine appropriate temperature ranges and alter the code accordingly. When the temperature range is exceeded, a fan is engaged in order to achieve a cooling effect. In this way, the principle of homeostasis is demonstrated. To conclude, students write summary paragraphs relating their models to biological homeostasis.