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Life Science

  • 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 »
  • Introduction to Feeding Preferences in Caenorhabditis elegans The nonparasitic soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has served as a model organism for research scientists since the 1960s. This lab introduces students to the organism and provides them with the tools necessary to perform simple experiments. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • From Jellyfish to the Bench: How Green Fluorescent Protein Is Used in Research Students may be familiar with green fluorescent protein (GFP) from classwork or seeing transgenic animals in their local pet store. However, they may not know that it’s also an important research tool. Use this overview to help them discover how scientists use GFP to study many of the major questions in biology. View »
  • Bacterial Growth on MacConkey Agar In this lab students culture three bacteria on nutrient agar and MacConkey agar and record the results. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Cyanobacteria In this lab students observe two examples of cyanobacteria and make a simple comparison to a eukaryotic green alga. View »
  • Infographic: What's Your Blood Type? Use this exciting infographic as a teaching aid for your classes as your students discover the ABO/Rh blood groups. 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 »
  • Science Notebook: An Owl Pellet Inquiry This introductory owl pellet dissection is a springboard for teaching the techniques of using a science notebook while having students engage in the scientific practices. View »
  • Snakeheads Invade the United States Teach your students about the challenges nonnative species pose by focusing on a current example, the northern snakehead fish. Native to China, Russia, and Korea, this fish has established breeding populations in several states. Find out how this might have happened and what scientists are doing about it. 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 »
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