3 Fun Biology Activities for Teaching High School

Posted by on April 7, 2021 in Stuff with 0 Comments

High school biology is the time to expose students to scientific method. But your high school biology class can still have fun learning how to think scientifically while seeing old concepts in new detail.

Suppose you assigned your students the task of measuring the effects of light on growth on seedlings. You wouldn't need anything from Modern Biology, Inc. to do this. Just find a fast-germinating seed like cress, some potting soil, a ruler, and a camera (phones are fine).

On the first day, you put potting soil into some glass beakers. Glass is easier for measurement when the seeds germinate, although you could also use cups.

Label the cups according to the light you are going to use. You might label one container for germinating in sunlight, one for germinating in sunlight filtered by red plastic (hint: this usually increases the growth rate), one for germinating in sunlight filtered by blue plastic, and so on. You can let a control sample germinate in a closet. Have your students generate hypotheses about which cup will germinate first and which seedlings will grow the most by, say, five school days (one calendar week) after planting.

Plant your seeds, add enough water to make the potting soil moist, not soggy, and monitor once a day for growth. Make sure your students keep written notes on the height of the seedlings every day.

Then at the end of the experiment, use the cumulative data to confirm or disconfirm student hypotheses.

Even this experiment reinforces scientific method. Your students make hypotheses, set up an experiment with a control, take observations, and use data to evaluate their hypotheses. They might even get a surprise from some of the variables they create for experimental seed pots.

Once your students have some practice in scientific method and careful observation, you can use Modern Biology, Inc. to give your students a chance to create more complex hypotheses about the effects of temperature on respiration with some hands-on experiment with instrumentation.

Everybody knows that plants make the oxygen animals breathe and animals release the carbon dioxide that plants use to synthesize carbohydrates, right? Your students first need, well, probably rethink, their concepts of respiration in animals and plants before they begin In B4-1: Effects of Temperature on Cell Respiration, your students will measure oxygen consumption and hydrogen liberation of germinating seedlings with respirometers at varying temperature levels. They will use dyes to create a visual, analog measurement of respiration in plants for graphic confirmation or disconfirmation of their hypotheses about the nature of plant respiration in seedlings.

Here are two more great ways to get your high school biology classes turned on to science:

  • Do you ever get the impression that your students don't really “get” the structure of DNA? With B1-1: Properties of DNA you can discuss the geometries of DNA as your students extract visible strands of DNA, they can manipulate with glass rods. This laboratory exercise might seem a little elementary for high school students, but it's an excellent springboard for discussions of transcription, replication, and repair of DNA sequences.
  • In a related, simple exercise, your students can compare the length of the molecules in a test sample of DNA against six standards of DNA of known length in our EXP 101: Length of DNA. For students who have never been in a biology lab at all, this exercise is great preparation for more advanced experiments such as EXP 106: Protein Fingerprinting, EXP 201: Determining the Molecular Weight of a Protein, and EXP 202: Identifying Sex-Specific Proteins, they may encounter these topics in Biology II after you have them excited to study in Biology I.
  • And in EXP 702: Analysis of a Cell Surface Receptor, your students will learn about their own cell surface receptors from a buccal swab. They will study multiple sites for concanavalin A binding and the hemagglutination reaction in their own cells.

Every experiment from Modern Biology instills the skills and habits of scientific thinking. Your students came up with a hypothesis about changes in respiration at higher and lower temperatures. They exercised attention to detail, including the basic lab skill of “writing stuff down,” recording observations in real time, and they disciplined themselves to monitor their experiments at critical times. Your students learned to deal with the possibility of being wrong in their assumptions, and how to think on their feet to make adjustments in their technique as hands-on results required action. Of course, you were there to make sure those adjustments brought them to a more valid result.'

Get Fun and Creative Biology Experiments for Your High School Students

Modern Biology's DNA analysis supplies and biology experiments are always fully engaged experiments, never demonstrations. Our reagents and test solutions are valid for laboratory use in any setting.

On the other hand, every Modern Biology product is non-toxic and safe for student use. Student safety is paramount in every product we create.

Modern Biology takes the hassle out of checking out reagents and test materials. We provide all the supplies you need for each experiment for every student (although we'll assume your lab has some basic equipment used for every experiment). We will provide you with a teacher guide and a handout you can copy for your students.

Modern Biology empowers you to integrate scientific method into what is too often a descriptive course. We take care of your ordering and inventory tasks for over 20 hours of laboratory instruction, and we price our products to fit public school budgets.

Over 500,000 students learn biology with the help of Modern Biology Inc. products every year. We want to show you why thousands of teachers trust  Modern Biology Inc.

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