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Life Science

  • Optics of the Human Eye A cross-curricular lesson in biology and physics allows students to make a simple model of the human eye. Students investigate how geometric optics can be applied to this complex, biological structure in order to describe how the images we see are formed when special tissues in our eye, the cornea and the lens, refract the light entering the pupil to create an image on the back wall of the eyeball (the retina), like a miniature, organic movie projector. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Infographic: Human Body Systems Teach the main body systems with the help of this infographic. 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: Cyanobacteria In this lab students observe two examples of cyanobacteria and make a simple comparison to a eukaryotic green alga. View »
  • Constructing a Cladogram with Hydra, Planaria, and Daphnia In this lab students compare the body structure and functions of three invertebrates to that of a vertebrate. They use their data to construct a cladogram. View »
  • Introduction to Invertebrates In this lab, students study representatives of several invertebrate groups. View »
  • Introduction to Sterile Technique In this lab, students practice transfer of a bacterial culture using sterile technique. View »
  • Human Body: Nervous System Teach the functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems with this infographic. View »
  • From Euglena to Zebra Fish: An Overview of the Diversity of Eyes Did you know scientists study zebrafish to gain further understanding of diseases of the human eye? Why is this? What is the connection between zebrafish and human vision? View »
  • Introduction to Planaria In this lab, students examine the anatomy and behavior of the planarian, a simple animal with bilateral symmetry. View »
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