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Life Science

  • Copying Nature’s Success: Teaching Students About Biomimetics Ready to create a model home that draws on biomimetics? In this activity, students research, design, and build structures that incorporate ideas inspired by the natural world. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Biodiversity of Soil Animals In this lab, students use a Berlese funnel to take samples of soil-dwelling animals, and then compare the numbers and kinds of organisms collected from different habitats. View »
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