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Life Science

  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Cyanobacteria In this lab students observe two examples of cyanobacteria and make a simple comparison to a eukaryotic green alga. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Bacteria What are bacteria? In this introductory lab students make smears of bacteria on microscope slides from pure cultures, perform a simple stain, and observe their stained slides under a microscope View »
  • Maggot Michelangelos: Using Artwork to Gain Behavioral Insight In this activity, students use house fly larvae to answer morphological and behavioral questions—all while creating unique artwork! Students create and test hypotheses, and learn about the complete metamorphosis life cycle. View »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Starch In this lab, students culture two bacteria on potato dextrose agar, which contains starch. When grown on potato dextrose agar, bacteria that can secrete amylase—an enzyme that hydrolyzes starch—create a zone around their colonies in which starch is absent. When the agar is flooded with iodine solution, most of the plate stains dark blue–black, but clear areas are left around colonies that secrete amylase. View »
  • Bacterial Motility In this lab, students perform two exercises that investigate microbial motility. One is on a microscopic level, using the “hanging drop” slide preparation method to directly observe motile cells. The second exercise is on a macroscopic level and involves inoculating motility test media. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Archaea In this lab, students are introduced to Halobacterium, a representative of the Archaea, one of the three domains of life (along with Bacteria and Eukarya). View »
  • How Do They Hiss? and Other Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Questions Answered The Madagascar hissing cockroach is one of the most widely recognized exotic insects because of its large size and dynamic behavior. Read on to learn more about it . . . View »
  • Isolating Bacteria from a Mixture How does a microbiologist isolate bacteria from a sample? In this lab students practice streaking a plate to isolate a single species of bacterium from a known mixture. View »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Casein In this lab, students culture two bacteria on skim milk agar. The protein casein gives milk its white color. Some bacteria secrete protease enzymes that can hydrolyze casein. When these bacteria are grown on skim milk agar a clear area develops around the colonies, indicating that casein has been hydrolyzed into its component amino acids. View »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Lipids In this lab, students culture two species of bacteria on agar medium that contains an emulsion of plant oils and the dye, sprit blue, which forms a complex with the triglycerides of the oils and gives an opaque blue color to the agar. Colonies of bacteria that can secrete lipase, an enzyme that hydrolyzes triglycerides, develop a light area or “halo” in the surrounding medium, due to the diffusion of lipase into the medium and the resultant breakdown of the oil/spirit blue complex. View »
  • Bees, Butterflies, and Flowers Introduce your students to the symbiotic relationships between these organisms and to their impact on our food supply and environment. Carolina product developer Brent Atkinson offers background information, a brief discussion of each relationship, and tips for using your schoolyard to attract and sustain pollinating insects. View »
  • Introduction to Sterile Technique In this lab, students practice transfer of a bacterial culture using sterile technique. View »
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