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Life Science

Classroom Activities


Animals

Ancient Creature of the Deep
In "Fish Anatomy," students compare and classify a "living fossil," the coelacanth, in relation to a moray eel and a bull shark. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Ape Genius
In "Ape Genius," use a viewing guide while watching a program about the science of ape intelligence and after watching discuss answers to questions related to similarities and differences between intelligence in apes and in humans. Grades 9-12.

Buried in Ash
In "What Happened Here?," students interpret animal track patterns to describe what might have happened at a fictitious forest site. Grades 6-8.

Can Chimps Talk?
In "Protecting Animal Rights," students consider the issues involved in using animals in research. Grades 6-8.

Crocodiles!
In "Whom to Believe?," students evaluate the accuracy and reliability of information by comparing crocodile facts collected from various sources. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Dogs and More Dogs
In "From Wolf to Dog," students learn through an evolution card game how selective pressures can affect an organism's evolution. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Flying Casanovas
In "Bowerbird Basics," students compare and contrast various styles of bowers created by bowerbirds. Grades 6-8.

Garden of Eden
In "I Can Live Here," students collect and analyze information in order to invent an organism with adaptations to fit a particular niche, and then predict its impact on other populations. Grades 6-8.

Great Wildlife Heist, The
In "Choices for the Birds," students consider different policy viewpoints regarding bird smuggling practices. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird
In "Dateline 2014," students explore the complex interactions of social, economic, and ecological issues involved in developing environmental policies. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Evolution in Isolation," students explore environmental factors involved in evolution of plant and animal life on Hawaiian volcanic islands. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Japan's Secret Garden
In "Insects: Villains or Heroes?," students collect, analyze, and interpret information to classify insects as helpful or harmful to society. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
In "Life In a Bottle," students explore the balance between predator and prey. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Ocean Animal Emergency
In "Diving Into Research," research five types of marine mammals, then plot tracking data on a map to determine which of the five species the tracked information represents. Grades 6-8.

Odyssey of Life, Part I -- The Ultimate Journey
In "Timing Is Everything," students sequence the developmental stages for a fish, chick, pig, calf, and human. Grades 6-8.

Rat Attack
In "Acorns Aplenty," students use the Population Explosion interactive to explore forest ecosystem dynamics. Grades 6-8.

Secrets of the Crocodile Caves
In "Home Sweet Home," students learn about a small segment of the complex food web of a region in Madgascar. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Shadow of the Condor
In "Do You Know This Bird?," students observe and list the physical features of the condor and make inferences about its habits. Grades 6-8.

Shark Attack!
In "Shark Dodging," students use knowledge of shark behavior to design a solution to help surfers avoid being attacked. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef
In "Fish Sorting," students classify nine fish based on different characteristics. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Volcanoes of the Deep
In "Lean on Me," students research and classify symbiotic relationships between individual organisms of different species. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wild Wolves
In "Relocation Challenge," students analyze some of the social and political aspects of wolf relocation. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Botany

Garden of Eden
In "I Can Live Here," students collect and analyze information in order to invent an organism with adaptations to fit a particular niche, and then predict its impact on other populations. Grades 6-8.

Harvest of Fear
In "Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?," students research and debate the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified foods. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Evolution in Isolation," students explore environmental factors involved in evolution of plant and animal life on Hawaiian volcanic islands. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Methuselah Tree
In "Tree-Ring Science," students determine the age of living and non-living trees. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Rat Attack
In "Acorns Aplenty," students use the Population Explosion interactive to explore forest ecosystem dynamics. Grades 6-8.

Volcanoes of the Deep
In "Lean on Me," students research and classify symbiotic relationships between individual organisms of different species. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Classification

Ancient Creature of the Deep
In "Fish Anatomy," students compare and classify a "living fossil," the coelacanth, in relation to a moray eel and a bull shark. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Dinosaurs of the Gobi
In "Which Came First?," students practice skills scientists use in cladistics. Grades 6-8.

Japan's Secret Garden
In "Insects: Villains or Heroes?," students collect, analyze, and interpret information to classify insects as helpful or harmful to society. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Missing Link, The
In "Nailing Cladistics," students collect, analyze, and interpret information about objects in order to classify them in a cladogram. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mysterious Life of Caves
In "Microbial Townhouse," students build a Winogradsky column to learn that microorganisms can survive in many different environments and live in places where conditions are suitable for their growth. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Odyssey of Life, Part II -- The Unknown World
In "Did You See That?," students study a worm bin and other environments to investigate some of the animals that live in the microbial world. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Origins: How Life Began
In "Life's Characteristics," students investigate what characteristics define an organism. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef
In "Fish Sorting," students classify nine fish based on different characteristics. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Volcanoes of the Deep
In "Lean on Me," students research and classify symbiotic relationships between individual organisms of different species. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Ecology

Can Buildings Make You Sick?
In "Air Sampling," students collect and observe airborne particles in and out of the classroom. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fire Wars
In "Fire Season Statistics," students extrapolate information and further questions for investigation from year 2000 fire season statistics. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Flood!
In "Overflowing the Banks," students construct a model of a river system with levees to investigate how floodwalls can cause flooding in smaller tributaries. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Garden of Eden
In "I Can Live Here," students collect and analyze information in order to invent an organism with adaptations to fit a particular niche, and then predict its impact on other populations. Grades 6-8.

Great Wildlife Heist, The
In "Choices for the Birds," students consider different policy viewpoints regarding bird smuggling practices. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Harvest of Fear
In "Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?," students research and debate the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified foods. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird
In "Dateline 2014," students explore the complex interactions of social, economic, and ecological issues involved in developing environmental policies. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Evolution in Isolation," students explore environmental factors involved in evolution of plant and animal life on Hawaiian volcanic islands. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Japan's Secret Garden
In "Insects: Villains or Heroes?," students collect, analyze, and interpret information to classify insects as helpful or harmful to society. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lord of the Ants
In "Comparing Ant Characteristics," students compare and contrast ant characteristics and conduct their own local species inventory. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mysterious Life of Caves
In "Microbial Townhouse," students build a Winogradsky column to learn that microorganisms can survive in many different environments and live in places where conditions are suitable for their growth. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
In "Life In a Bottle," students explore the balance between predator and prey. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Ocean Animal Emergency
In "Diving Into Research," research five types of marine mammals, then plot tracking data on a map to determine which of the five species the tracked information represents. Grades 6-8.

Odyssey of Life, Part II -- The Unknown World
In "Did You See That?," students study a worm bin and other environments to investigate some of the animals that live in the microbial world. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Perfect Pearl, The
In "Pearls of Wisdom," students consider political, economic, and technological solutions for challenges faced by pearl farmers. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Rat Attack
In "Acorns Aplenty," students use the Population Explosion interactive to explore forest ecosystem dynamics. Grades 6-8.

Secrets of the Crocodile Caves
In "Home Sweet Home," students learn about a small segment of the complex food web of a region in Madgascar. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Venus Unveiled
In "How Warm Is Too Warm?," students debate two models of the greenhouse effect. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Volcano Above the Clouds
In "Climbing Kilimanjaro," students develop a travelogue to describe the distinct ecological regions of Mount Kilimanjaro. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Volcanoes of the Deep
In "Lean on Me," students research and classify symbiotic relationships between individual organisms of different species. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wild Wolves
In "Relocation Challenge," students analyze some of the social and political aspects of wolf relocation. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Entomology

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Evolution in Isolation," students explore environmental factors involved in evolution of plant and animal life on Hawaiian volcanic islands. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Japan's Secret Garden
In "Insects: Villains or Heroes?," students collect, analyze, and interpret information to classify insects as helpful or harmful to society. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Jewel of the Earth
In "Organism Hunt," students set sticky traps to collect organisms, identify and classify what they find, and determine when their organisms first evolved. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lord of the Ants
In "Comparing Ant Characteristics," students compare and contrast ant characteristics and conduct their own local species inventory. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
In "Life In a Bottle," students explore the balance between predator and prey. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Volcanoes of the Deep
In "Lean on Me," students research and classify symbiotic relationships between individual organisms of different species. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Evolution

Ancient Creature of the Deep
In "Fish Anatomy," students compare and classify a "living fossil," the coelacanth, in relation to a moray eel and a bull shark. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Boldest Hoax, The
In "The Great Piltdown Forgery," students learn about the Piltdown hoax and who may have been involved. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Dinosaurs of the Gobi
In "Which Came First?," students practice skills scientists use in cladistics. Grades 6-8.

Dogs and More Dogs
In "From Wolf to Dog," students learn through an evolution card game how selective pressures can affect an organism's evolution. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: Darwin's Dangerous Idea
In "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," students test Darwin's hypothesis that seeds could be immersed in sea water and still germinate. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: Extinction!
In "Why Does Evolution Matter Now?" students learn how different perspectives in a situation can have possible evolutionary implications. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: Great Transformations
In "What Is the Evidence for Evolution?" students explore how comparisons of molecular structure can suggest evolutionary relationships. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: The Evolutionary Arms Race
In "What Is the Nature of Science?" students use evidence (jigsaw puzzle pieces) revealed over time to experience the nature of science and understand its limitations. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: The Mind's Big Bang
In "How Did Humans Evolve?" students use representative hominid fossil evidence to determine the possible pattern of migration for early hominids. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: What About God?
In "Dealing with Controversy," teachers can learn about strategies for preventing potential conflict while teaching evolution. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Evolution: Why Sex?
In "How Does Evolution Work?" students gather data to see how beak mutations can influence natural selection. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Family That Walks on All Fours
In "Handwalkers Raise Questions," students use a viewing guide while watching a program about members of a Turkish family who walk on four limbs and discuss program themes after watching. Grades 9-12.

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Evolution in Isolation," students explore environmental factors involved in evolution of plant and animal life on Hawaiian volcanic islands. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

In Search of Human Origins, Part II
In "Still Evolving After All These Years," students look for trends in height and weight data of North American boys in data sets from they years 1880 and 1960. Grades 6-8.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
In "Weighing the Evidence" students evaluate a variety of data for the common ancestry of humans and chimpanzees, and consider their level of confidence in their conclusions as they review each piece of data. Grades 9-12.

Missing Link, The
In "Nailing Cladistics," students collect, analyze, and interpret information about objects in order to classify them in a cladogram. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Neanderthals on Trial
In "What Is This?," students interpret an artifact found at a Neanderthal cave site in Slovenia. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

NOVA scienceNOW: Bird Brains
In "Bird Brains," students compare the sequence of amino acids in a gene shared between humans and five other organisms and infer evolutionary relationships between the species.

Odyssey of Life, Part I -- The Ultimate Journey
In "Timing Is Everything," students sequence the developmental stages for a fish, chick, pig, calf, and human. Grades 6-8.


Genetics

America's Stone Age Explorers
In "The Hunt for mtDNA," students learn how mitochondrial DNA is inherited. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Anastasia -- Dead or Alive
In "Whose Ear Is It?," students use observation skills to identify a mystery student's ear. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Cracking the Code of Life
In "Mystery Message," students explore the process involved in sequencing the human genome by decoding simulated nucleic acid sequences. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Cracking the Code of Life
In "See Your DNA," students extract human DNA from cheek cells. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Cracking the Code of Life
In "Case Studies," students consider some of the ethical, legal, and social implications of the Human Genome Project. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Dogs and More Dogs
In "From Wolf to Dog," students learn through an evolution card game how selective pressures can affect an organism's evolution. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Family That Walks on All Fours
In "Handwalkers Raise Questions," students use a viewing guide while watching a program about members of a Turkish family who walk on four limbs and discuss program themes after watching. Grades 9-12.

First Flower
In "Extracting DNA from Bananas," students learn how to isolate DNA from bananas. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Ghost in Your Genes
In "Checking Up on Genes" students model how scientists use DNA microarrays to determine levels of gene expression in breast cancer patients, and then choose treatments based on what they learn. Grades 9-12.

Harvest of Fear
In "Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe?," students research and debate the arguments for and against the use of genetically modified foods. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
In "Weighing the Evidence" students evaluate a variety of data for the common ancestry of humans and chimpanzees, and consider their level of confidence in their conclusions as they review each piece of data. Grades 9-12.

Last Flight of Bomber 31
In "The Hunt for mtDNA," students identify which family members share the same mitochondrial DNA. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lost Tribes of Israel
In "Did the Dog Do It?," students explore the issues involved with using DNA evidence in a courtroom trial. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

NOVA scienceNOW: Bird Brains
In "Bird Brains," students compare the sequence of amino acids in a gene shared between humans and five other organisms and infer evolutionary relationships between the species.

NOVA scienceNOW: Epigenetics
In "Epigenetics," students make a model of chromatin and use it to show how chemical tags that bond to the chromatin can influence its uncoiling. Grades 9-12.

NOVA scienceNOW: Personal DNA Testing
In "Personal DNA Testing," students investigate the genetics behind the question of why different people respond differently to the same drug.


Microbiology

Bioterror
In "Helping Students Cope," teachers can find tips and resources from professional organizations for dealing with students' concerns about bioterrorism. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Ice Mummies -- Frozen in Heaven
In "This Is Rotten," students investigate the rate of microbial growth at different temperatures. Grades 6-8.

Most Dangerous Woman in America, The
In "Which Wash Wins?" students test the efficacy of different types of hand hygiene. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mysterious Life of Caves
In "Microbial Townhouse," students build a Winogradsky column to learn that microorganisms can survive in many different environments and live in places where conditions are suitable for their growth. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

NOVA scienceNOW: Killer Microbe
In "Arms Race with a Superbug," students model how horizontal gene transfer contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria.

NOVA scienceNOW: Obesity
In "Hormones and Receptors," students make hormone-receptor models to understand how hormones bind to specific receptors before initiating a cellular response. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

NOVA scienceNOW: Stem Cells Breakthrough
In "Stem Cell Breakthrough," students teams research how some of the different cells in the body arise from stem cells and use this information to build models of stem cells and various specialized cells in the body.

Odyssey of Life, Part II -- The Unknown World
In "Did You See That?," students study a worm bin and other environments to investigate some of the animals that live in the microbial world. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Origins: How Life Began
In "Life's Characteristics," students investigate what characteristics define an organism. Grades 6-8, 9-12.


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