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Classroom Activities

  • Estimating Populations Using Mark-Recapture Mark-recapture is one of the most common methods used by ecologists to determine population size. Engage your students with this exciting activity to get hands-on experience with the Mark-recapture method. 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 »
  • Newton's Law of Cooling Confirm Newton's law of cooling by collecting and analyzing data on samples of water undergoing a temperature change. View »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Teaching with Ecosystem Aquariums By creating and maintaining an aquarium ecosystem in the classroom, students can understand the web of relationships that link organisms to one another, and they can develop a growing sensitivity to living things and what they need to survive. View »
  • Food Calorimetry: How to Measure Calories in Food Help your students learn how to determine the calories in food with this hands-on lab activity. Using common, inexpensive materials, students construct a calorimeter and test several food samples to determine their energy content. Addresses selected National Science Education Standards for grades 9–12. View »
  • Teaching Chemistry with Manipulatives Manipulatives can help students (especially visual and tactile learners) understand abstract concepts by allowing them to “see” a chemical structure or process. We offer 2 ideas for creating manipulatives and how to use them. View »
  • Copying Nature’s Success: Teaching Students About Biomimetics Ready to create a model home that draws on biomimetics? In this activity, students research, design, and build structures that incorporate ideas inspired by the natural world. View »
  • Two Quick, Easy Ways to Collect Insects for Diversity Studies Get your students outside and engaged with the world around them. In this activity, we’ll look at 2 techniques that make collecting insects in the field quick and easy. Use one or both to collect insects from microenvironments around your school and then examine diversity using Shannon’s or Simpson’s diversity index. View »
  • End the Year with an Outdoor Classroom Everything’s better in the great outdoors. Celebrate the warmer weather and engage your students during the final stretch of the school year with these fun activities. View »
  • Urban Stream Syndrome Urban streams often suffer from urban stream syndrome, which is characterized by changes in nutrient levels, hydrology, biodiversity, and other factors. In this activity, students learn how to identify streams that suffer from urban stream syndrome based on visual evidence. 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 »
  • Pill Bug Behavior Choices This introductory investigation into animal behavior uses pill bugs and choice chambers. Students begin with an experiment to test how pill bugs respond to humidity and can go on to design an inquiry to test another environmental factor. View »
  • Thermochemistry: An Endothermic Reaction In this thermochemistry demonstration, students observe an extreme, spontaneous endothermic reaction between 2 solid compounds, measure changes in temperature, and make observations. View »
  • Carbon Snake In this teacher-directed demonstration of an exothermic reaction, students observe the dehydration of a carbohydrate using concentrated sulfuric acid. View »
  • Elephant Toothpaste This demonstration showing the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, catalyzed by iodide ions, provides students with visual evidence of a chemical reaction. View »
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