Biology

Lesson plans are subdivided according to Georgia Performance Standards.
(All files are in PDF format unless otherwise noted.)

 

Biological Evolution

  • Historical Timeline
    In this activity, students will construct a time line on cash register tape to reconstruct the changes in organisms through time from single-celled bacteria to multicellular mammals.
  • Pond Life
    This is a single-subject lecture/hands on demonstration. Its objective is to give the students experience in visual observation of single and multi-cellular organisms which are present in a pond.
  • Using Termites to Learn the Scientific Method
    This is an inquiry-based lesson plan used to teach students how to employ the scientific method. Students will learn all steps of the scientific method and use them to explore the behavior of termites. A formal lab report will help ensure that students understand the scientific method.

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Biological Relationships and Complexity

  • Assessing Student Understanding of Genetic Principles
    Students will observe Mendel's Laws of Segregation and Independent Assortment through a series of monohybrid crosses with Brassica rapa plants. Students will make inferences supporting Mendel's Laws on the basis of their interpretations of the results of these crosses.
  • How DID the Chicken Lay an Egg? Comparative Female Reproductive Anatomy (zip)
    This lesson includes a power-point lecture comparing avian female reproductive anatomy with human female reproductive anatomy. It covers follicular development, ovulation, menstruation, gestation, components of the human female reproductive tract, and anomalies in human female reproduction.
  • What's So Special About Bottled Drinking Water? Testing Water for Hardness
    This laboratory teaches students about water hardness, polar and non-polar molecules, and anions and cations.
  • C-Fern Root Tropism: What's Up With That?
    In this experiment, students will observe the growth of C-Fern plants under rather normal and abnormal conditions. They will then predict the reasons for any differences in tropic response.
  • Chocolate: Food of the Gods (zip)
    This lesson will provide students with knowledge on the history of chocolate, cultivation, production, and harvesting of chocolate. In addition it will cover myths about candies and the chemical theobromine, a natural caffeine-like component of chocolate.
  • Circulation: The Pathway of Life (zip)
    This lesson will provide students with knowledge on basic components of the circulation system, components of blood, heart rate as an indicator of cardiovascular health and an understanding of how the circulatory system interacts with and provides energy to all other body systems.
  • Classification of Plants in the Schoolyard; Creation of a Herbarium (zip)
    This lesson plan is designed to aide in the classification of plants in your schoolyard. Students will use their knowledge of plant structure and observation skills to determine the defining characteristics of the plants. Then, if desired, students can classify plants using plant reference material or the matrix based key on www.discoverlife.org.
  • Coffee Production: Sustainability, Eco-Friendly Practices and Social Impacts (zip)
    Provides students with knowledge on the history of coffee, cultivation, production, and harvesting of coffee. In addition it will cover coffee growing regions and types of coffee trees and beans. Students will learn about how coffee is differentially cultivated to produce medium vs. dark roast coffee products. Social lessons will include the connections of large coffee companies such as Starbucks and local farmers working for such companies.
  • Crucifer Cross: Studying Gravitropism in Plants
    How do plant seedlings respond to gravity?
  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • Understanding the Nature of Diversity and Speciation
    Students will have a chance to try to determine plant species through a series of experiments. Using common vegetables, students will cross various plants to determine whether or not they are the same species.
  • Eating Disorders in Teenagers Today
    Eating Disorders in Teenagers Today
  • Eye Safety: When Your Goggles are Gone and Nowhere to be Found!
    When your goggles are gone and nowhere to be found! An exercise in lab safety.
  • Food Contamination: Testing the 5-Second Rule
    In this lesson, students will test the old myth: If food is dropped onto a surface (floor, table, etc.) and is picked up within five seconds, it will not have any germs on it and is still edible. Students will test this myth through the use of both wet and dry food sources on surfaces with suspected germ activity.
  • Getting Acquainted with Seeds
    Students will be familiarized with plant seeds, as well as the techniques used to make detailed observations about their physiology.
  • How Biologically Savvy Are You?
    Testing your knowledge about biology by responding to True or False questions.
  • Human Body Systems Project
    Students will work in groups to research one of the eleven body systems. Research will focus on the structure and function of the major organs in their assigned body system. Each individual in a group will be responsible for researching and presenting information on one disease associated with their assigned body system.
  • Life in the Trenches: Biodiversity Present in Leaf Litter
    This lesson will allow students to view the components of an ecosystem found near the school and will help them to develop an understanding of the interdependence of all life forms on earth.
  • Measuring Lung Capacity (zip)
    This lesson will provide students with a concrete way to determine their individual lung capacity using both a measured balloon activity as well as a formula that relates body surface area to expected lung capacity.
  • Plant Growth - Response to Light
    By conducting their own experiments with tools that they construct, students will understand the effect of gravitropism on plant growth.
  • The Population Explosion - Plant Population Density
    The purpose of this experiment is to introduce students to population density and its effects on a population. We will explore this by creating an experiment to observe plant growth, development, and density dependent competition.
  • Respiration and Photosynthesis (zip)
    Examining the processes of respiration and photosynthesis with the aquatic plant, Elodea.
  • Effects of Salt on Plant Growth
    How does salt in the environment affect plant growth? Students will build a model for studying the effects of contaminants on plant growth, identify two ways pollutants can enter the ecosystem, and identify the effects of pollutants on terrestrial and aquatic plants.
  • Sperm Penetration
    Cutting out the germinal disc by cutting into a fertilized egg yolk and removing the disc.
  • Temperature, Fatigue and Muscle Activity (zip)
    Students will learn the physiological mechanism behind muscle contraction and explore how temperature and fatigue affect muscle contractibility. Students will differentiate between muscle contraction and relaxation. Students will explore how muscles work in pairs to allow contraction and relaxation to occur simultaneously within a muscle pair.
  • Terrarium Making and the Water Cycle
    The purpose of this lesson plan is to demonstrate the water cycle through the use of terrariums made in class by the students. The students will better understand the processes through their understanding of how a terrarium works.
  • Understanding the Plants We Eat - Lesson 1: Classification
    Consists of 2 lesson plans that will allow students to gain a greater understanding of the basic structures of plants, their nutritional and medicinal values, and how these plants gain their nutrients. The lessons vary from simple identifications and classifications of edible plants to complex scientific investigation of plant growth. These lesson plans can be use in the recommended order or individually as needed.
  • Understanding the Plants We Eat - Lesson 2: Health Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables
    Students will quickly learn the nutrient content, the health benefits and medicinal value of edible plants by studying current literature and sampling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Understanding How Vaccines Work
    Students will develop a more complete understanding of how vaccines work by reviewing the body's methods of protecting itself from foreign substances that invade the body. Students will further their understanding by creating a detailed poster describing different types of vaccines.
  • Variation in Families/Populations of Plants
    Using Wisconsin Fast-Plants, we will explore how members of plant families and populations vary, and what significance this has for the population.
  • Soil and Water Relationships
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of soil and water relationships. Students will investigate water holding capacity and porosity of soil and how soils of different textures differ in these areas.

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Botany

  • Assessing Student Understanding of Genetic Principles
    Students will observe Mendel's Laws of Segregation and Independent Assortment through a series of monohybrid crosses with Brassica rapa plants. Students will make inferences supporting Mendel's Laws on the basis of their interpretations of the results of these crosses.
  • C-Fern Root Tropism: What's Up With That?
    In this experiment, students will observe the growth of C-Fern plants under rather normal and abnormal conditions. They will then predict the reasons for any differences in tropic response.
  • Chocolate: Food of the Gods (zip)
    This lesson will provide students with knowledge on the history of chocolate, cultivation, production, and harvesting of chocolate. In addition it will cover myths about candies and the chemical theobromine, a natural caffeine-like component of chocolate.
  • Classification of Plants in the Schoolyard; Creation of a Herbarium (zip)
    This lesson plan is designed to aide in the classification of plants in your schoolyard. Students will use their knowledge of plant structure and observation skills to determine the defining characteristics of the plants. Then, if desired, students can classify plants using plant reference material or the matrix based key on www.discoverlife.org.
  • Coffee Production: Sustainability, Eco-Friendly Practices and Social Impacts (zip)
    Provides students with knowledge on the history of coffee, cultivation, production, and harvesting of coffee. In addition it will cover coffee growing regions and types of coffee trees and beans. Students will learn about how coffee is differentially cultivated to produce medium vs. dark roast coffee products. Social lessons will include the connections of large coffee companies such as Starbucks and local farmers working for such companies.
  • Understanding the Nature of Diversity and Speciation
    Students will have a chance to try to determine plant species through a series of experiments. Using common vegetables, students will cross various plants to determine whether or not they are the same species.
  • Determining the Effects of Substances on Plants
    What materials in the environment have an effect on seed germination in plants? In this lab, students will discuss/research the pollutants that may be present in their area and choose one to bioassay on seed germination. After choosing a pollutant and having the instructor approve it, they will design an experiment to test its effects on your seeds.
  • Ethnobotany: What's The Dirt Say About the Past?
    Ethnobotany is the study of the role of plants in a society. Since agriculture is the basis of ancient societies, more so than today, soil samples tell an ethnobotanist what plants were important to daily life.
  • Understanding the Functions of a Food Web (zip)
    This is a hands on activity that is used to help students understand the ecosystem by highlighting the tropic levels, producers and consumers in a particular food web. The students will construct a food web, fill out an accumulated energy chart, and prepare a poem about the ecosystem.
  • Getting Acquainted with Seeds
    Students will be familiarized with plant seeds, as well as the techniques used to make detailed observations about their physiology.
  • Moving Fluid in Plants: Experiments with Celery
    Students will explore the vascular tissue of a celery stalk. The celery stalk serves as a model for the generalized plant. In Part I of the activity, students will use a dye to determine the location of the vascular tissues. In Part II of the activity, they will explore how light influences the rate of movement of water in the vascular tissues.
  • Plant Growth - Response to Light
    By conducting their own experiments with tools that they construct, students will understand the effect of gravitropism on plant growth.
  • The Population Explosion - Plant Population Density
    The purpose of this experiment is to introduce students to population density and its effects on a population. We will explore this by creating an experiment to observe plant growth, development, and density dependent competition.
  • Respiration and Photosynthesis
    Examining the processes of respiration and photosynthesis with the aquatic plant, Elodea.
  • Effects of Salt on Plant Growth
    How does salt in the environment affect plant growth? Students will build a model for studying the effects of contaminants on plant growth, identify two ways pollutants can enter the ecosystem, and identify the effects of pollutants on terrestrial and aquatic plants.
  • Understanding the Plants We Eat - Lesson 1: Classification
    Consists of 2 lesson plans that will allow students to gain a greater understanding of the basic structures of plants, their nutritional and medicinal values, and how these plants gain their nutrients. The lessons vary from simple identifications and classifications of edible plants to complex scientific investigation of plant growth. These lesson plans can be use in the recommended order or individually as needed.
  • Understanding the Plants We Eat - Lesson 2: Health Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables
    Students will quickly learn the nutrient content, the health benefits and medicinal value of edible plants by studying current literature and sampling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Variation in Families/Populations of Plants
    Using Wisconsin Fast-Plants, we will explore how members of plant families and populations vary, and what significance this has for the population.

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Cellular Function and Structure

  • Cell Organelle Review Game
    This is a quick and easy game that students can play to review the organelles inside of a both plant and animal cells. Students will use the definition to identify the appropriate cell structure and its role inside the cell. They also will identify if these structures are present in both plant and animal cells.
  • Funky Fomites and Microbiology Techniques for Bacterial Isolation
    This laboratory exercise includes both a lecture on the purpose of practicing aseptic technique as well as an explanation of how to practice aseptic techniques. Students will actually practice aseptic technique by plating bacteria in order to isolate individual colonies of bacteria. Fomite: any inanimate object such as a desk, table, floor etc. that is capable of being a breeding ground for bacteria
  • Genes and Our Food
    Genetics can be used to improve the plants and animal we eat.
  • Getting Acquainted with Seeds
    Students will be familiarized with plant seeds, as well as the techniques used to make detailed observations about their physiology.
  • From the "Eyes" of an Infectious Pathogenic Agent: The Road to Infection
    This lesson will provide students with knowledge on the various types of pathogens that may invade a human or animal's body and the route that such pathogens taken in order to cause an infection. Students will create a narrative written in first person where they will act as if they are a pathogen (bacterial, viral etc.) and explain how they enter the body, what organ systems they affect, and how they ultimately cause infection in the body.
  • Pond Life
    This is a single-subject lecture/hands on demonstration. Its objective is to give the students experience in visual observation of single and multi-cellular organisms which are present in a pond.
  • Tropical Fruit Gelatin Lab
    This lesson explains the science behind the fresh pineapple warning on JELL-O® boxes. The warning advises against the use of certain fresh or frozen fruits because they will not allow the gelatin to solidify. Students will explore the differences when fresh, frozen, and canned pineapples are used to make gelatin. This lesson may be taught as a hands-on activity or as a classroom demonstration.

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Ecosystems and Matter-Energy Relationships

  • What's So Special About Bottled Drinking Water? Testing Water for Hardness
    This laboratory teaches students about water hardness, polar and non-polar molecules, and anions and cations.
  • Bottled Ecosystem
    Students investigate the interactions that take place among several variables of a closed ecosystem simulation.
  • C-Fern Root Tropism: What's Up With That?
    In this experiment, students will observe the growth of C-Fern plants under rather normal and abnormal conditions. They will then predict the reasons for any differences in tropic response.
  • Classification of Plants in the Schoolyard; Creation of a Herbarium (zip)
  • This lesson plan is designed to aide in the classification of plants in your schoolyard. Students will use their knowledge of plant structure and observation skills to determine the defining characteristics of the plants. Then, if desired, students can classify plants using plant reference material or the matrix based key on www.discoverlife.org.
  • Crucifer Cross: Studying Gravitropism in Plants
    How do plant seedlings respond to gravity?
  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • Understanding the Nature of Diversity and Speciation
    Students will have a chance to try to determine plant species through a series of experiments. Using common vegetables, students will cross various plants to determine whether or not they are the same species.
  • Determining the Effects of Substances on Plants
    What materials in the environment have an effect on seed germination in plants? In this lab, students will discuss/research the pollutants that may be present in their area and choose one to bioassay on seed germination. After choosing a pollutant and having the instructor approve it, they will design an experiment to test its effects on your seeds.
  • Understanding the Functions of a Food Web (zip)
    This is a hands on activity that is used to help students understand the ecosystem by highlighting the tropic levels, producers and consumers in a particular food web. The students will construct a food web, fill out an accumulated energy chart, and prepare a poem about the ecosystem.
  • Heating and Cooling of Land Forms
    The purpose of this lab is to observe heating and cooling rates of samples of soil, grass, saltwater, fresh water, and sand. The sun's energy warms different types of materials at different rates. This activity will demonstrate the different rates at which common substances seen in nature are heated by the sun's energy.
  • Introduction to Toxicology
    This lesson plan serves as an introduction to toxicology for the high school classroom. This lesson plan is useful in chemistry, physical sciences, and biology as you begin to talk about all things chemical and the importance of chemical reactions in our everyday lives, as well as the effects of chemicals on all living organisms.
  • Land Biomes Project
    Students will work together in committees to discover one Earth's biomes. As a committee, the students will focus their research on the climate, typical flora and fauna, as well as the world distribution of their biome. The committee will present work to the class in a creative manner as if they are trying to persuade the producers of the hit television show "Survivor" to hold the next season in their biome.
  • Life in the Trenches: Biodiversity Present in Leaf Litter
    This lesson will allow students to view the components of an ecosystem found near the school and will help them to develop an understanding of the interdependence of all life forms on earth.
  • Plant Growth - Response to Light
    By conducting their own experiments with tools that they construct, students will understand the effect of gravitropism on plant growth.
  • The Population Explosion - Plant Population Density
    The purpose of this experiment is to introduce students to population density and its effects on a population. We will explore this by creating an experiment to observe plant growth, development, and density dependent competition.
  • Power of Peanuts
    This lesson plan is for a laboratory activity demonstrating the amount of energy found in a peanut. Peanuts contain proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Oxidation of the molecular bonds found in these compounds leads to the release of energy.
  • Effects of Salt on Plant Growth
    How does salt in the environment affect plant growth? Students will build a model for studying the effects of contaminants on plant growth, identify two ways pollutants can enter the ecosystem, and identify the effects of pollutants on terrestrial and aquatic plants.
  • Understanding the Significance of Proteins, Lipids and Carbohydrates in our Food
    Students will use their own creative way to construct lipid, proteins and carbohydrates and compare their differences and similarities in a report (oral and/or written). This assignment will emphasize the differences in the chemical structure of the molecules, how they are classified and why each of them is significant to living organisms.
  • Staying Warm in the Cold
    Animals in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are subjected to violently cold temperatures. Still, amidst these treacherous conditions, these animals have adapted to be able not only to survive but also to thrive in the harsh cold. This laboratory activity will demonstrate one of the mechanisms used by these animals to survive.
  • Tap Water Testing (zip)
    Students will test their own tap water and determine how much chlorine is present, the pH of the water, and the hardness of the water. If desired, tests for iron and copper could be included. The students will learn why chlorine is an important component of tap water, and the effects of pH and hardness.
  • Taste the Electron (zip)
    This lesson is used to teach basic chemistry concepts. Emphasizing the role of valence electrons in the outer shell will highlight important biological elements and their reactions with other elements.
  • Using Termites to Learn the Scientific Method
    This is an inquiry-based lesson plan used to teach students how to employ the scientific method. Students will learn all steps of the scientific method and use them to explore the behavior of termites. A formal lab report will help ensure that students understand the scientific method.
  • Terrarium Making and the Water Cycle
    The purpose of this lesson plan is to demonstrate the water cycle through the use of terrariums made in class by the students. The students will better understand the processes through their understanding of how a terrarium works.
  • Variation in Families/Populations of Plants
    Using Wisconsin Fast-Plants, we will explore how members of plant families and populations vary, and what significance this has for the population.
  • Soil and Water Relationships
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of soil and water relationships. Students will investigate water holding capacity and porosity of soil and how soils of different textures differ in these areas.

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Genes and Successive Generations

  • Assessing Student Understanding of Genetic Principles
    Students will observe Mendel's Laws of Segregation and Independent Assortment through a series of monohybrid crosses with Brassica rapa plants. Students will make inferences supporting Mendel's Laws on the basis of their interpretations of the results of these crosses.
  • Banana DNA Extraction (zip)
    The DNA found in banana cells can be extracted using common, everyday materials.
  • From "Designer Jeans" to "Designer Genes": An Analysis of the Use of Biotechnology in Society Today
    This lesson will enable students to discover ethical issues surrounding the practice of genetic engineering in reproductive medicine and understand key terms and concepts related to the science of genetic engineering. ** Note: This lesson plan was adapted from a Genetic Engineering lesson plan posted on school.discovery.com
  • Determining the Effects of Substances on Plants
    What materials in the environment have an effect on seed germination in plants? In this lab, students will discuss/research the pollutants that may be present in their area and choose one to bioassay on seed germination. After choosing a pollutant and having the instructor approve it, they will design an experiment to test its effects on your seeds.
  • Genes and Our Food
    Genetics can be used to improve the plants and animal we eat.
  • Homer's Forbidden Donut: A Gel Electrophoresis exercise
    This activity is used to explain the concept behind gel electrophoresis. Students work in groups to determine who committed a crime by taking a bite out of Homer Simpson's forbidden donut.
  • Increasing Your Genetic Propensity
    Demonstrates the principles that Charles Darwin assessed when writing The Origin of Species to explain natural selection. The students will be presented with the exact questions Darwin pondered and discuss, as a class, what they believe about these concepts. Students will then create an environment where they will consider their individual characteristics to make themselves have the greatest genetic propensity of all organisms living in their environment.
  • Meiosis Game
    The objective of this activity is for the students to learn all the phases in meiosis. This will be done by utilizing the students as structures in cell division (chromitids) and having them go through the actual phases of meiosis, going from one large cell to four smaller cells.
  • Monohybrid Crosses and the Punnett Square
    Students will simulate a monohybrid cross between two heterozygous parents and utilize the experimental data to develop a Punnett Square for the prediction of the offspring. Students will learn and apply knowledge of key terms of inheritance during this exercise.
  • Pond Life
    This is a single-subject lecture/hands on demonstration. Its objective is to give the students experience in visual observation of single and multi-cellular organisms which are present in a pond.
  • Strawberry DNA Forever
    This lesson plan is for the extraction of DNA from strawberries. Strawberries are an exceptional fruit to use for this lesson because each individual student is able to complete the process by themselves and strawberries yield more DNA than any other fruit (i.e. banana, kiwi, etc.). Strawberries are octoploid, meaning that they have eight copies of each type of chromosome.

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