Grade 12

Yeast Mutagenesis

Author(s): Kamena Kostova, Darienne Myers, Larry Cohbra

Yeast Mutagenesis

In this laboratory investigation, students learn the concept of mutagenesis and explore how different substances can act as mutagens. The experiment utilizes a strain of yeast that lacks several DNA repair mechanisms, allowing it to accumulate mutations after exposure to mutagens. Students expose this strain of yeast to everyday substances (soda, soap, Aspirin, glue, etc.) and record the effects. Using this data, students will infer the affect of these substances on living organisms. 

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Amylase Experiment 2.0

Author(s): Sam Pollock, Daniel Hensley, Deb Apple

Amylase Experiment 2.0

Students will use the amylase starch digestion experiment to see enzymes in action. After they've done a run-through of the basic protocol, they'll add a variable of their choosing in a student-designed experiment and share their results.

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Neuronal Signaling and Pain

Author(s): Chuchu Zhang, Amanda Paulson, Tom Dallman

Neuronal Signaling and Pain

The lesson has two parts: part one introduces the nerve circuitry for somatosensation and demonstrates the nature of neuronal signaling - electricity; Part two explores the concept of an action potential.

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Problems in Meiosis Lead to Disease

Author(s): Tiffani Quan, Elizabeth Pierson, Sabine Jeske

Problems in Meiosis Lead to Disease

This lesson is a variation on the traditional pipe-cleaner simulation of mitosis/meiosis. Initially, students review the normal process of meiosis.  The students are then presented with monosomy and trisomy gametes and asked to work backwards through the stages of meiosis in order to determine where the error may have occurred.  Students are then introduced to the concept of nondisjunction.

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Food production, Population growth and GMOs

Author(s): George Cachianes, Raquel Gomes, and Kristin Patrick

Food production, Population growth and GMOs

This interactive lesson is part of a lesson series (3 total) that focuses on topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The first lesson focuses on agriculture, food production, natural resources and population growth. The second lesson focuses on GMOs and their possible uses in agriculture as a way to fight world hunger and diminishing resources (this could be a very controversial issue and a great way to get students engaged in their learning). For the final lesson students are asked to (a) research the pros and cons of the use of GMOs in agriculture (b) propose other possible sustainable solutions to the current food crisis (c) propose individual behavioral changes in our daily lives or community solutions to protect our natural resources and avoid a more catastrophic food crisis.

The goal of the first lesson is to get students engaged in current global issues while learning and brainstorming about possible solutions. In this lesson the students are asked to look at data sets from multiple sources and summarize the main points by presenting them to the rest of the class. Student presentations promote discussion between students and help to integrate previously learned concepts such as the food chain, energy pyramid, water cycle, water footprint, flowering plants and agriculture. Additionally, students are introduced to new concepts such as population growth and limited natural resources.

Throughout the presentations the teacher guides the students to draw conclusions and helps them make connections with current world issues. After going through the data, there is a brief presentation on the historical timeline of the development of agriculture. The presentation also introduces the industrial revolution and agriculture's green revolution and their effects on human population growth. Overall, this lesson plan is an introduction to the use of GMOs in agriculture as one of the possible solutions to the current food crisis.

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Amylase - Exploring digestion and evolution through a molecular machine

Author(s): Becky Fulop, Juliet Girard, Thomas Noriega

Amylase - Exploring digestion and evolution through a molecular machine

The lesson is designed around two sets of experiments. The first set demonstrates that amylase is a digestive enzyme that degrades starch into sugar, can do so repeatedly and, like many enzymes, is sensitive to acid. The second set of experiments demonstrates the variability of amylase activity in different students' saliva. 

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Exploring chemical bonding

Author(s): SEP staff

Exploring chemical bonding

Students will engage in an exploration demonstrating the Octet rule and chemical bonding using paper models of elements forming covalent and ionic compounds.

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Antigen switching in malaria

Author(s): Mary Kate Alexander

Antigen switching in malaria

In this activity, students will model how the parasitic malaria protist Plasmodium falciparum evades the host immune response through a phenomenon called antigen switching.  Specifically, slips of paper representing malaria-infected red blood cells will be used to demonstrate how random changes in the expression of Plasmodium proteins that display on the surface of human red blood cells helps the parasite avoid destruction by the host immune system.  Students start with a single infected red blood cell with a specific surface marker protein, and from there will simulate the spread of infection through multiple generations of infection (each generation consisting of a parasite infecting a red blood cell, dividing and multiplying inside the red blood cell, then bursting to release new parasites that go on to infect new red blood cells).  Student will find that the parasite occasionally changes the type of surface marker protein expressed over several generations.  When the immune system begins destroying infected cells displaying the original surface protein, cells that have switched to expressing a different protein survive and continue to divide.

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Mini Mystery Boxes

Author(s): SEP Coordinators

Mini Mystery Boxes

This lesson is designed to help students better understand the nature of science. It uses simple, readily available mini-mystery boxes to model how scientists study things they cannot see (see http://www.lab-aids.com/catalog.php?item=100). Scientists often study things that cannot be seen - either because they are incredibly small (inside of cells/atoms) or too far away (other galaxies). In such work, scientists must rely on indirect information. Mystery boxes – each with a small steel ball and a raised terrain inside – demonstrate this aspect of science to participants. The students will draw a model and discuss in groups what they think the box looks like inside.

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Mystery Box

Author(s): SEP Coordinators

Mystery Box

This lesson is designed to help students better understand the nature of science. It uses a Mystery Box (see attached photos) which has a funnel at the top and a beaker underneath. When water is poured into the top funnel, colored water flows out the bottom. A turn of the funnel and then pouring in more water results in either a different colored water or no water at all. The teacher demonstrates this Mystery Box to students and challenges them to propose models of the inside of the box. The students draw models of what they think the inside of the box looks like and share and discuss these models. Students can also construct their own mystery box using cardboard boxes and other common materials. For this option, you will need an additional class period.

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Detecting Photosynthesis- Analyzing Other Scientists' Data

Author(s): SEP Staff (Architecture of Life Course)

Detecting Photosynthesis- Analyzing Other Scientists' Data

Students will analyze the results of another scientist's experiment by examining leaves that have been exposed to different treatments, and draw conclusions about the process of photosynthesis.

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Properties of Metals

Author(s): Philip Merksamer, Beatrice Wang, Sue Mocklin, Sarah Simson

Properties of Metals

Students will be able to see the iron filings in breakfast cereal fortified with iron and qualitatively compare the iron content between 2 different cereals.   They will also see that as part of a salt solution, some elements give off characteristic colors when placed in a flame.

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Extract your own DNA from cheek cells

Author(s): SEP staff

Extract your own DNA from cheek cells

Students will extract DNA from their own cheek cells.

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