Middle School (6-8)
In the first lesson in this two-part series, students are introduced to the concept of microbes by collecting samples to grow on agar Petri dishes. They will isolate colonies and perform two biochemical tests that microbiologists regularly use to identify bacteria.
Overall Lesson Plan Layout:
1. Students will complete the pre-lab worksheet to assess prior knowledge and to address misconceptions.
2. The attached presentation will be used to accompany the lesson (See attachment).
3. Microbial diversity is introduced by:
- Showing a video
- Doing an activity (as a class)
4. The students are divided into groups of three for the hands-on work. Within these groups students pass around the petri dish so that each student can analyze it closely, and then they alternate between transferring colonies onto fresh agar media. Those students who are not transferring colonies can either watch the student who is doing so or draw the streak technique in their notebooks as practice until their turn. (Details for this activity are described below)View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
Students each receive similar looking objects (marble, gem stone, bead, rock) and are given some time to make and record as many observations as possible. Then students at each table group mix up their objects and take turns reading out their descriptions while the rest of the group is trying to identify the described object.View this entire lesson plan
This is a two-class lesson plan. During the first class students are entered into a "mini-medical school" where they will learn about the functions and components of blood and make a candy model to reflect their relative proportions. At the end of the class, they graduate medical school as hematologists. The next day they will be presented with a mock patient with a blood disorder. In groups, they will attempt to diagnose the patient using blood smears, results of lab tests, and patient histories.View this entire lesson plan
Students observe and dissect a sheep heart. In doing so, they learn about how the heart works and what it really looks like.
While this lesson is adaptable for many grade levels, it is a great fit with California's FOSS 5th grade Living Systems kit and that kit's goal of learning the structures and functions of the circulatory system.View this entire lesson plan
In this activity students use microscopes and slide viewers to visualize cells and record what they see. Emphasis is on *recording observations*. Students are introduced to new technologies and to the diversity of cells that make up our body and that exist in plants.View this entire lesson plan
In this lesson, students are introduced to how the brain interprets and uses sensory information from the visual system to guide how the body moves and performs various tasks. This lesson makes use of a specialized set of goggles with prism lenses that shift what the wearer sees. Using these prism goggles, students will see first hand how the brain adapts over time to changes in what we perceive. The lesson also makes a connection to the brain and brain function by giving students a chance to see and touch a preserved brain specimen.View this entire lesson plan
Students observe the browning of apples after cut and being exposed to air and brainstorm ideas about why this might be happening.
Students think about ways to slow down or prevent the browning effect and in teams create and conduct a simple experiment to test their ideas.
Dietary minerals are available through ingestion of food and supplements. In this lesson, students first examine the chemical reaction of two forms of iron, Fe0 and F+2 with various pH conditions of either the stomach or intestine to determine how it gets absorbed and eliminated in the body. Then students isolate iron from the foods we eat (such as cereal) using a magnet to attract elemental iron or Fe0.View this entire lesson plan
A crime is staged in the classroom. After observing the crime scene, student identify and collect crime scene evidence. Students use blood typing analysis, microscopy, and chromatography to analyze the evidence. The list of suspects is narrowed to identify the potential culprit. This lesson may be done in two parts or as one long session.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
Students learn that all living things are made of cells. They use a microscope to look for evidence of plant cells(from onion) and animal cells(from human cheek).
This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to supplement the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of their investigation for a grade level science fair.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
Students will test a variety of food samples for the presence of lipids, proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates.View this entire lesson plan
This activity is based on a lesson from the Living by Chemistry curriculum developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science (see citation).
During this activity students explore in depth their own understanding of what constitutes "matter" and work together as a group to create a definition for matter.
Students work in pairs to debate how to sort "items" printed on cards into three categories: "matter", "non-matter" and "unsure" and then try to determine what properties all items in each category have in common. A whole class discussion about "tricky" items follows during which students ultimately agree on a definition of matter.
You can choose which cards you would like to use depending on your students' age, abilities, and experiences. As an example, for elementary grades, you might choose not to use the entire set.View this entire lesson plan
The lesson introduces the concept of calories and provides examples of high calorie and low calorie foods. Students learn a number of ways to determine how many calories a food item has and discuss how calories influence body weight. Students learn how to measure calories by constructing and using a calorimeter.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
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 PennsylvaniaView this entire lesson plan
Students will extract DNA from their own cheek cells.View this entire lesson plan
Students will extract DNA from strawberries.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan
Students use a slinky to model earthquake waves. Learn the speed, direction and behavior of different waves which tell scientists about earthquakes.View this entire lesson plan
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.View this entire lesson plan