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Life Science

  • Strawberry DNA Extraction Introduce students to DNA with this activity. A discussion of how this DNA extraction procedure works might also touch on the plant cell wall, the cell membrane, and DNA's lack of solubility in ethanol. Includes materials list and step-by-step instructions. View »
  • Phases of the Cell Cycle A concise take on the life cycle of a typical eukaryotic cell. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Plant Biodiversity Field Activity This field activity introduces students to biodiversity through the study of plants and animals in a designated area. But here’s the twist—instead of using a quadrat to designate the area of study, students use a Hula Hoop® instead. View »
  • Easy Variation and Natural Selection Lessons with Wisconsin Fast Plants® Seed Disks Explore a technique that makes teaching variation and natural selection lessons with Fast Plants® easier than ever. In this activity, students examine the effects an abiotic environmental change (salinity) has on an experimental plot of Fast Plants®. Includes detailed background information and instructions. View »
  • Invertebrate Biodiversity and Abiotic Factors Understanding the relationships between biotic diversity and abiotic factors in an ecosystem can be a difficult task. Using soil invertebrates, students can identify both the number of species present in a soil sample and the number of individuals within a species. 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 »
  • Carolina's Recommended Reading for AP® Biology Teaching AP® Biology this year? Go beyond the textbook and take students on an exploration of key concepts with these teacher-tested and recommended books. View »
  • Getting a Handle on Variation of Traits This article is designed to help students and teachers think about the nature of various determinants underlying biological variation. View »
  • Bacteria: The Citrate Test In this lab students perform a test on two different bacteria to determine whether the organisms can use citric acid as their sole carbon source. The citrate test is often performed as part of the IMViC (Indole, Methyl Red, Voges-Proskauer, and Citrate) series of tests used to differentiate common species of enteric bacteria. View »
  • Introduction to Sterile Technique In this lab, students practice transfer of a bacterial culture using sterile technique. View »