Hands-on Biology Activities

Enzymes Help Us Digest Food

In the hands-on activity, Enzymes Help Us Digest Food, experiments with the enzyme lactase and discussion questions help students to learn about enzyme function, enzyme specificity, and the molecular basis for lactose intolerance. Students also learn about the scientific method by interpreting evidence to test hypotheses and designing the second and third experiments to answer specific scientific questions about lactase. An alternative version of the Student Handout which gives specific instructions for all three of the experiments is provided as an attachment below.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students

 The expression "hands-on, minds-on" summarizes the philosophy we have incorporated in these activities -- namely, that students will learn best if they are actively engaged and if their activities are closely linked to understanding important biological concepts. For example, it is helpful to use hands-on models to engage student interest and foster multiple modality learning, but it is crucial to closely link the modeling activity to student understanding of the actual biological processes. Many of our activities are somewhat similar to other versions available elsewhere on the Web or in print (as indicated in our acknowledgments), but the hands-on, minds-on versions offered here generally have a greater focus on linking the activity to student u

Investigating Osmosis

In the lab, Investigating Osmosis, students make predictions about the effects of osmosis and design an experiment to test these predictions. The experimental approach is similar to the diffusion activity, but focused specifically on osmosis.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

Who Took Jerell’s iPod? -- An Organic Compound Mystery

In the lab, Who Took Jerell’s iPod? -- An Organic Compound Mystery, students learn how to test for triglycerides, glucose, starch, and protein and then use these tests to solve a mystery. The activity reinforces students understanding of the biological functions and food sources of these different types of organic compounds.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

What Parts of a Plant Do We Eat?

In the lab, What Parts of a Plant Do We Eat?, Students review the structure of angiosperm plants and learn about the diversity of plant form by using evidence from examination of fruits and vegetables to identify which part of the plant each fruit or vegetable is.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students

We invite general comments on Hands-on Activities for Teaching Biology to High School and Middle School Students in this comments section.  If you have comments on specific activities, please use the links on the right to get to the comments section for each activity.  We welcome suggestions for other teachers, including useful preparatory or follow-up activities, additional resources, any questions you have, or a brief description of any problem you might have encountered.

If you would prefer to send your comments or questions in a private message, please write Ingrid Waldron at iwaldron@sas.upenn.edu.

 

 

Alcoholic Fermentation in Yeast

In the lab, Alcoholic Fermentation in Yeast, students learn about the basics of aerobic cellular respiration and alcoholic fermentation and design and carry out experiments to test how variables such as sugar concentration influence the rate of alcoholic fermentation in yeast. In an optional extension activity students can use their yeast mixture to make a small roll of bread.

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

Get the Lead Out! Game

This board game reinforces learning about the sources and biological hazards of lead exposure. The first file has the game and the second file has teacher notes, including background information on lead.

We invite comments on this  activity, including suggestions for other teachers who are planning to use the activity, useful preparatory or follow-up activities, additional resources or any questions you have related to the activity, or a brief description of any problem you might have encountered. If you prefer to send your comments or questions in a private message, please write Ingrid Waldron at iwaldron@sas.upenn.edu.

 

Sexual Health and Reproduction

This activity provides questions and Web sites to guide student investigation of birth control methods, fetal development, risks of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, changes during puberty, and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.  The first file has the student handout and the second file has teacher notes.

Studying Our Senses

In the lab, Studying Our Senses, students investigate how a person identifies different flavors of jellybeans, including the contribution of smell to taste sensations. Students also explore the surprising ways the brain interprets the patterns of light and dark that reach our eyes; visual illusions illustrate general principles of sensory processing. 

Download Student Handout: PDF format or Word format

Download Teacher Preparation Notes: PDF format or Word format

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