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Biology activities and lessons allow students to investigate and learn about biology through hands-on experience. Below is a list of 10 great biology activities and lessons for K-12 teachers and students.
K-8 Activities and Lessons
1. CellsThis is a diagram of an animal cell. colematt/iStock/Getty Images Plus
The Cell as a System: This activity enables students to explore the components of a cell and how they work together as a system.
Objectives: Students will identify major cell components; know structures and functions of components; understand how the parts of a cell interact together.
Cell Anatomy - Discover the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Cell Organelles - Learn about the types of organelles and their function within cells.
15 Differences Between Animal and Plant Cells - Identify 15 ways in which animal cells and plant cells differ from one another.
2. MitosisThe Cell Cycle. By Kelvinsong (Own work) CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mitosis and Cell Division: This lesson introduces students to the process of cell mitosis.
Objectives: Students will understand the processes of cell reproduction and chromosome replication.
Mitosis - This stage-by-stage guide to mitosis describes the major events that occur in each mitotic stage.
Mitosis Glossary - This glossary lists commonly used mitosis terms.
Mitosis Quiz - This quiz is designed to test your knowledge of the mitotic process.
Meiosis and Gamete Production: This activity helps students explore meiosis and sex cell production.
Objectives: Students will describe the steps in meiosis and understand the difference between mitosis and meiosis.
Stages of Meiosis - This illustrated guide describes each stage of meiosis.
7 Differences Between Mitosis and Meiosis - Discover 7 differences between the division processes of mitosis and meiosis.
4. Owl Pellet DissectionThis image shows small animal bones found in an owl pellet. Dave King/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images Plus
Dissecting Owl Pellets: This activity allows students to explore owl eating habits and digestion through dissecting owl pellets.
Objectives: Students learn how to examine, gather, and interpret data through owl pellet dissections.
Online Dissections - These virtual dissection resources allow you to experience actual dissections without all of the mess.
5. PhotosynthesisA young boy studies photosynthesis and is using a microscope. Andrew Rich/Getty Images
Photosynthesis and How Plants Make Food: This lesson explores photosynthesis and how plants use light to make food.
Objectives: Students will discover how plants make food, transport water, and the importance of plants to the environment.
The Magic of Photosynthesis - Discover how plants turn sunlight into energy.
Plant Chloroplasts - Find out how chloroplasts make photosynthesis possible.
Photosynthesis Quiz - Test your knowledge of photosynthesis by taking this quiz.
8-12 Activities and Lessons
1. Mendelian GeneticsDrosophila melanogaster (fruit fly, vinegar fly). Sinhyu/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Using Drosophila to Teach Genetics: This activity is designed to help students apply basic genetics concepts to a living organism.
Objective: Students learn how to use the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to apply knowledge of heredity and Mendelian genetics.
Mendelian Genetics - Explore how traits are passed from parents to offspring.
Genetic Dominance Patterns - Examine the differences among complete dominance, incomplete dominance, and co-dominance relationships.
Polygenic Inheritance - Discover the types of traits that are determined by multiple genes.
2. Extracting DNADNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule, illustration. KTSDESIGN/Science Photo Library/Getty Images
Extracting DNA: This activity is designed to help students learn about the structure and function of DNA through DNA extraction.
Objectives: Students understand relationships between DNA, chromosomes, and genes. They understand how to extract DNA from living sources.
Resources: DNA From a Banana - Try this simple experiment that demonstrates how to extract DNA from a banana.
Make a DNA Model Using Candy - Discover a sweet and fun way to make a DNA model using candy.
3. The Ecology of Your SkinStaphylococcus epidermidis bacteria are part of the normal flora found in the body and on the skin. Janice Haney Carr/ CDC
Bacteria That Live on the Skin: In this activity, students discover the diverse organisms that live on the human body.
Objectives: Students examine the relationship between humans and skin bacteria.
Bacteria That Live on Your Skin - Discover 5 types of bacteria that live on your skin.
Microbe Ecosystems of the Body - The human microbiome includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even mites.
A Guide to Different Types of Pathogens - Learn about six types of pathogens that can make you sick.
Top 5 Reasons to Wash Your Hands - Washing and drying your hands properly is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of disease.
4. The HeartHuman heart cross section showing blood circulation through the heart. jack0m/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images
Heart to Heart: This lesson helps students explore heart function, structure, and blood pumping activity.
Objectives: Students explore the anatomy of the heart and blood circulation.
Heart Anatomy - This guide provides and overview of the function and anatomy of the heart.
Circulatory System - Learn about the pulmonary and systemic paths of blood circulation.
5. Cellular RespirationCellular Respiration. Purestock/Getty Images
ATP Please!: This lesson helps students explore the role of mitochondria in ATP production during aerobic cellular respiration.
Objectives: Students will be able to identify the steps of ATP production and the function of cell mitochondria.
Cellular Respiration - Discover how cells harvest the energy from the foods we eat.
Glycolysis - This is the first step of cellular respiration where glucose is split into two molecules for the production of ATP.
Citric Acid Cycle - Also known as the Krebs Cycle, this is the second step of cellular respiration.
Electron Transport Chain - The majority of ATP production occurs in this final stage of cellular respiration.
Mitochondria - These cell organelles are the sites of aerobic cellular respiration.
For information on science experiments and lab resources, see:
- Biology Science Project Ideas - Discover great ideas for biology related science projects.
- Biology Lab Safety Rules - Follow these tips to learn how to stay safe in biology lab.