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Life Science

  • Photosynthesis Introduce students to photosynthesis in a visual way. As Elodea uses carbon dioxide from an initial solution, a change in pH occurs, causing a color change in the solution. 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 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 »
  • Having Friends Over for Lunch: The Mutualism of Paramecium bursaria and Endosymbiotic Algae When you teach symbiosis and endosymbiotic theory, consider using Paramecium bursaria, a protist that forms a mutualistic relationship with algae. View »
  • Making Algae Beads In this activity students create spheres of green algae for use in experiments that explore the metabolic processes of plants. Includes a materials list and step-by-step instructions. View »
  • Observing Plant Cells In this lab students observe Elodea leaves under magnification. They will see cell walls and chloroplasts. From the movement of chloroplasts they will infer that cyclosis, or protoplasmic streaming, is occurring. They also will observe that most chloroplasts are pressed tightly against the cell wall and should infer from this that much of the cell is occupied by a vacuole. 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 »
  • Survival: Swim to the Light For this lab, students gather observations of algae in full light, change habitat conditions by reducing light, and apply the observations. Essential question: Can all organisms survive equally well in the same habitat? 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 »
  • Bacterial Growth on MacConkey Agar In this lab students culture three bacteria on nutrient agar and MacConkey agar and record the results. View »
  • Flipping Molecular Structures The flipped classroom model often starts with replacing whole-class lecture time with traditional homework and using video podcasts to get the notes done in the individual learning space. Few teachers who flip their classes successfully stay in this mode for very long. 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 »