Biology/Life Science

Understanding Germs (Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi)

Author(s): Helen Hwang, Mary Mohrin, David Allyn, Mithril Cox

Understanding Germs (Bacteria, Viruses and Fungi)

This lesson focuses on understanding "germs" (specifically bacteria, viruses, and fungi), how they cause illness, how they can help us, and some lessons about personal hygiene (protecting ourselves from germs).  Students learn about the different classes of germs via a book and discussion, assign germ names, symptoms and modes of contraction to microbe stuffed animals, and finally try to wash "Glo Germ" off their hands to emphasize the importance of personal hygine.

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The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

We introduce the concept that life needs energy to grow. We explain a little about microscopy and then the students observe different stages of zebrafish development (except we do not tell them that it is a zebrafish). Then student predict what animal they are observing leading up to a big reveal.

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Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Students learn what a model is by comparing a model of the tongue to their own tongue. They practice asking themselves, "How is this model like the thing it represents, and how is it different?"  This format of questioning can be used when using any model in science and can be used to check students' understanding and misconceptions.

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How does an infectious disease spread? HIV simulation

Author(s): SEP staff

How does an infectious disease spread? HIV simulation

Students will simulate the exchange of bodyfluids and then test whether they got infected with a disease. This activity will show how one person who is infected with a disease can infect other people, who in turn infect others. Students will be able to see how behavior can effect their risk of getting infected.

The lesson plan was inspired by many educators. Thanks to Lance Powell at June Jordan HS in San Francisco, Jennifer Doherty and Dr. Ingrid Waldron, University of Pennsylvania

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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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DNA structure and replication

Author(s): SEP staff

DNA structure and replication

Students assemble a DNA molecule, using magnetic pieces representing sugar, phosphate and the nitrogenous bases on magnetic whiteboards. Students then model the process of semi-conservative DNA replication applying the complementary base pairing rule.

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Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Author(s): SEP Quattro Staff

Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Teacher(s) will describe an ecosystem scenario and ask students to ponder why the population of deer in a particular area fluctates from year to year. Students will research the question through a simulation of deer in nature. The teacher will record data from the activity in the form of a graph. Before analyzing the graph, students will record words they used in the activity and sort others used in the context of ecology. While analyzing the graph and sharing their experiences, students will use these words to create sentences and eventually a paragraph describing the patterns of the data collected.

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What is Life?

Author(s): SEP Academic staff, past and current

What is Life?

Students will investigate different objects and discuss whether they are alive or not alive. Students are challenged to provide evidence for their decision and defend their opinion.

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Comparison of Normal vs Mutant Zebrafish Embryos

Author(s): Karen Moreira, Isla Cheung

Comparison of Normal vs Mutant Zebrafish Embryos

Objective: Apply observation, description skills and teaching to your peers what you learned.

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Wetland Ecosystems, Non-living and living components and Brine Shrimp

Author(s): Jen Chu

Wetland Ecosystems, Non-living and living components and Brine Shrimp

Students work in whole class and small group settings to discuss, observe and learn about a wetland ecosystem (salt ponds) and some of the organisms that live there. Abiotic and biotic factors of species survival are discuss. Live brine shrimp are used in observation.

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