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Life Science

  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Bacterial Growth on MacConkey Agar In this lab students culture three bacteria on nutrient agar and MacConkey agar and record the results. 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 »
  • Introduction to Blood Types In this lab, students are introduced to the human ABO blood groups. 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 »
  • 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 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 »
  • 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 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 »
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