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Life Science

  • 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 »
  • Having Friends Over for Lunch: The Mutualism of Paramecium bursaria and Endosymbiotic Algae When you teach symbiosis and endosymbiotic theory, consider using Paramecium bursaria, a protist that forms a mutualistic relationship with algae. View »
  • Introduction to Lichens In this lab students observe basic lichen types (crustose, foliose, fruticose and fruticose pendant) and discover that lichens are composite organisms, consisting of fungal and algal components. View »
  • Make a Hay Infusion Hay infusions are widely used as a source of microorganisms for studying decomposition, fermentation, and disease. And preparing one is easy--simply soak fresh or dried plant material in water. View »
  • Introduction to Protista: Paramecium Complexity in a single cell. In this lab students observe Paramecium as an example of a complex ciliated protist. View »
  • Human Body: Muscular System Use this infographic to teach the structure and function of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle. View »
  • Video: How to Find a Schmoo This video can help students locate schmoos and other forms of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae [name in italics] under a microscope. View »
  • Introduction to Protista: Amoeba What characteristics do protists share with animals? In this lab students observe Amoeba proteus to find out. View »
  • Chicken Wing Musculature Explore the structures and functions of muscle tissue and practice dissection techniques with this activity. View »
  • Bacteria: The Indole Test In this lab students perform a differential test to distinguish bacteria based on the production of indole. Bacteria are grown on media containing tryptophan and then treated with Kovac’s reagent. If they possess the enzyme tryptophanase, the bacteria can metabolize tryptophan into indole, pyruvic acid, and ammonia. 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 »