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Life Science

  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Cyanobacteria In this lab students observe two examples of cyanobacteria and make a simple comparison to a eukaryotic green alga. View »
  • Comparative Metamorphosis In this investigation, students observe development of 3 different insects from the larva or nymph stage through the adult stage. They also complete a comparative development study of metamorphosis, observing complete and incomplete metamorphosis. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Introduction to Hydra This lab introduces students to Phylum Cnidaria. The activity also serves as an introduction to animals. View »
  • Fetal Pig Dissection Pigs are excellent and engaging specimens for studying mammalian anatomy. They exhibit hair, a muscular diaphragm, a 4-chambered heart, and mammary glands. View »
  • Isolating Bacteria from a Mixture How does a microbiologist isolate bacteria from a sample? In this lab students practice streaking a plate to isolate a single species of bacterium from a known mixture. 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 Sterile Technique In this lab, students practice transfer of a bacterial culture using sterile technique. 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 »
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