activities for teaching biology

Cell Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to cells, organelles, and the plasma membrane.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. 

The first file below provides the master copy for creating the card decks for this game, and the second file below provides the teacher notes, including instructions for playing the game.

How do biological organisms use energy?

This analysis and discussion activity is designed to help students understand the basic principles of how biological organisms use energy, with a focus on the roles of ATP and cellular respiration. This activity provides a useful basic understanding of cellular respiration and provides an important conceptual framework for students who will be learning the complex specifics of cellular respiration. This activity concludes with a brief introduction to two important principles: conservation of energy and the inefficiency of energy transformations. 

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes. The Teacher Notes provide background information and instructional suggestions and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Genetics Review Jeopardy Game

This game reviews genetics, with 25 questions of varying levels of difficulty. After you open the game in the PowerPoint attachment, click on slideshow and then view show to operate in full screen mode. Clicking on a number in the game board brings you to a question. When that question has been answered click on the yellow box in the lower right corner and you'll be brought back to the game board screen.  Spaces for questions that have already been answered will now appear blank, just like on the TV show.  

Genetics Vocabulary Review Taboo Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to genetics.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. 

The first file below provides the master copy for creating the card decks for this game, and the second file below provides the teacher notes, including instructions for playing the game.

 

Genetics Web Search Activity

This web search activity provides instructions and recommended sources to investigate genetic conditions and diseases.

Should States Repeal Their Laws Banning First Cousin Marriage? – Effects of first cousin marriage on health risks for their children

This minds-on discussion/worksheet activity challenges students to analyze which types of genetic conditions will be more common among children of first cousin marriage and to use evidence concerning the magnitude of observed health effects to evaluate whether laws banning first cousin marriage in 25 states should be repealed.  

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes.

 

This Genetic Condition Was Not Inherited

This minds-on discussion/worksheet activity guides students to think about how mutations and meiotic nondisjunction can result in genetic conditions that are not inherited (most cases of achondroplasia and Down syndrome, respectively). 

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes. The Teacher Notes provide background information and instructional suggestions and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Soap Opera Genetics – Genetics to Resolve Family Arguments

This analysis and discussion activity contains four "soap opera" episodes that can be used to reinforce understanding of principles of genetics and the relevance of genetics to everyday life. Concepts covered include Punnett squares, co-dominance, incomplete dominance, sex-linked inheritance, test cross, polygenic inheritance, and the interacting effects of genes and the environment on phenotypic characteristics. Each section can be used separately or with other sections, depending on your teaching goals. 

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes. The Teacher Notes provide background information and instructional suggestions and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

 

Genetics – Major Concepts and Learning Activities

This overview summarizes important genetic concepts and provides links to suggested learning activities. Part I provides an outline of key concepts needed to understand how genes are transmitted from parents to offspring and how genes influence phenotypic characteristics. Part II recommends learning activities to develop student understanding of these key concepts. This activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

The attached file has the key concepts and suggested learning activities.

 

Mitosis, Meiosis and Fertilization - Major Concepts, Common Misconceptions and Learning Activities

These teacher notes summarize important concepts concerning mitosis and meiosis and propose a sequence of learning activities that will help students understand and learn these concepts and progress beyond common misconceptions. Students also learn how understanding meiosis and fertilization provides the basis for understanding how inheritance occurs.  Links to suggested activities are provided, including a hands-on simulation of mitosis, meiosis and fertilization, a card sort activity, a discussion activity about the effects of mistakes in meiosis, and a vocabulary review game. This activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

The attached file has the key concepts and suggested learning activities.

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