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Life Science

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Animals

Ancient Creature of the Deep
Coelacanths have been found near South Africa, the Comoros Islands, and Indonesia. Ask students to locate these places on a map or globe and estimate the distances between them...

Ape Genius
Ask students to describe how the non-human great apes"which include chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans"are usually portrayed on TV or in movies...

Brain Eater, The
While infectious diseases are generally caused by living organisms, some scientists suspect that Mad Cow Disease is caused by a non-living protein molecule...

Crocodiles!
To encourage students to think about their current knowledge of crocodiles, have them work in small groups to prepare Crocodile Profiles...

Curse of T. rex
Taking fossils from federal land without a permit is illegal. Only scientists are granted such permits, and most commercial dealers disagree with this policy...

Dinosaurs of the Gobi
Ask students to brainstorm types of jobs and responsibilities that are required in paleontology...

Dogs and More Dogs
To help students understand the program's basic science concepts, review the following terms with them: gene, gene pool...

Flying Casanovas
Remind students that behaviors are one type of adaptation. The bowerbird's behavior is determined in part by heredity and in part by experience...

Garden of Eden
Have students locate the Seychelles on a world map or a globe and make some predictions about its climate based on its latitude...

Japan's Secret Garden
Rice is one of the world's main food crops. It is grown in fields that are flooded every year. Organize students into two large groups...

Journey to Kilimanjaro
The mountains featured in this program are in Kenya and Tanzania. You may want to create a historical perspective for this program...

Kings of Camouflage
Show students the images of the cuttlefish and its parts...

Mammoths of the Ice Age
During the Ice Age, the climate changed dramatically, glaciers covered much of the Earth, and extinct mammals roamed the planet...

Missing Link, The
Tetrapods are vertebrate animals with four leg-like appendages. Ask students to define tetrapod and list examples...

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
Have students locate the Kalahari on a map of Africa. What is its longitude and latitude? In which countries of Africa will you find the Kalahari?...

NOVA scienceNOW: Bird Brains
Investigate how to communicate without words

NOVA scienceNOW: First Primates
Identify the characteristics of a primate

NOVA scienceNOW: Profile: Edith Widder
Create a class poster illustrating ocean zones

NOVA scienceNOW: Profile: Erich Jarvis
Accurate language and terminology are critical to understanding. In the program, Erich Jarvis discusses the importance of using correct terminology to name the different parts of birds' brains...

Perfect Pearl, The
Collect some bivalve shells, such as oysters, clams, or mussels, and a fake pearl. Using hand lenses, have students investigate the nacre...

Secrets of the Crocodile Caves
Ask students to find Madagascar on a world map. How might the fact that Madagascar is an island affect its biodiversity?...

Shadow of the Condor
Ask students to discuss what they know about how and why certain animals became extinct. Make a list of students' answers on the board...

Shark Attack!
Elicit students' ideas about sharks, and take notes on the board. What do they know for sure about shark behavior? What else have they heard that they think is true?...

Volcanoes of the Deep
On a map of the floor of the Pacific Ocean, have students locate the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Review with students how the Earth's crust is made of tectonic plates that move...

Wild Wolves
Have students do a five-minute "free-write" in which they write and draw everything they know about wolves. Encourage students to brainstorm freely...


Botany

First Flower
Have students bring in flowering plants and distribute them among groups...

Garden of Eden
Have students locate the Seychelles on a world map or a globe and make some predictions about its climate based on its latitude...

Harvest of Fear
Review with students the difference between traditional plant breeding and breeding done through genetic engineering...

Japan's Secret Garden
Rice is one of the world's main food crops. It is grown in fields that are flooded every year. Organize students into two large groups...

Journey to Kilimanjaro
The mountains featured in this program are in Kenya and Tanzania. You may want to create a historical perspective for this program...

Methuselah Tree
Ask students what they think the oldest living organism might be. An animal? A plant?...


Classification

First Flower
Have students bring in flowering plants and distribute them among groups...

Missing Link, The
Tetrapods are vertebrate animals with four leg-like appendages. Ask students to define tetrapod and list examples...

Neanderthals on Trial
The illustration below left, published in 1909, represents one of the first depictions of Neanderthals. The photograph on the right represents a modern interpretation...


Ecology

Crocodiles!
To encourage students to think about their current knowledge of crocodiles, have them work in small groups to prepare Crocodile Profiles...

Fire Wars
Ask students what kind of fires they have seen or heard about. Have students brainstorm the similarities and differences between a structural fire and a wildland fire...

Flying Casanovas
Remind students that behaviors are one type of adaptation. The bowerbird's behavior is determined in part by heredity and in part by experience...

Garden of Eden
Have students locate the Seychelles on a world map or a globe and make some predictions about its climate based on its latitude...

Harvest of Fear
Review with students the difference between traditional plant breeding and breeding done through genetic engineering...

Japan's Secret Garden
Rice is one of the world's main food crops. It is grown in fields that are flooded every year. Organize students into two large groups...

Jewel of the Earth
Scientists look to the fossil record to learn about the different kinds of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago...

Journey to Kilimanjaro
The mountains featured in this program are in Kenya and Tanzania. You may want to create a historical perspective for this program...

Methuselah Tree
Ask students what they think the oldest living organism might be. An animal? A plant?...

Night Creatures of the Kalahari
Have students locate the Kalahari on a map of Africa. What is its longitude and latitude? In which countries of Africa will you find the Kalahari?...

Perfect Pearl, The
Collect some bivalve shells, such as oysters, clams, or mussels, and a fake pearl. Using hand lenses, have students investigate the nacre...

Secrets of the Crocodile Caves
Ask students to find Madagascar on a world map. How might the fact that Madagascar is an island affect its biodiversity?...

Shadow of the Condor
Ask students to discuss what they know about how and why certain animals became extinct. Make a list of students' answers on the board...

Shark Attack!
Elicit students' ideas about sharks, and take notes on the board. What do they know for sure about shark behavior? What else have they heard that they think is true?...

Volcano Above the Clouds
Define the word "ecosystem" for your students...

Volcanoes of the Deep
On a map of the floor of the Pacific Ocean, have students locate the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Review with students how the Earth's crust is made of tectonic plates that move...

Wild Wolves
Have students do a five-minute "free-write" in which they write and draw everything they know about wolves. Encourage students to brainstorm freely...

World in the Balance
Ask students to estimate how many people live in the United States (about 290 million)...


Entomology

Japan's Secret Garden
Rice is one of the world's main food crops. It is grown in fields that are flooded every year. Organize students into two large groups...

Jewel of the Earth
Scientists look to the fossil record to learn about the different kinds of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago...

Master of the Killer Ants
Using a world map, have students first locate Africa and then Cameroon...

The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
Discuss the concept of migration


Evolution

Alien From Earth
Use a map to locate where scientists found the Homo floresiensis skeletons

Ancient Creature of the Deep
Coelacanths have been found near South Africa, the Comoros Islands, and Indonesia. Ask students to locate these places on a map or globe and estimate the distances between them...

Boldest Hoax, The
Have students research the time line of humans. Ask some students to research where Piltdown man was supposed to fit in...

Dinosaurs of the Gobi
Ask students to brainstorm types of jobs and responsibilities that are required in paleontology...

Dogs and More Dogs
To help students understand the program's basic science concepts, review the following terms with them: gene, gene pool...

Family That Walks on All Fours
Have students recall people they know or have read or heard about who have coped with physical challenges...

Four-Winged Dinosaur, The
Use a map to locate where scientists found the Microraptor fossils...

Journey to Kilimanjaro
The mountains featured in this program are in Kenya and Tanzania. You may want to create a historical perspective for this program...

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
Ask students to describe the nature of science and the process by which scientists investigate the natural world...

Missing Link, The
Tetrapods are vertebrate animals with four leg-like appendages. Ask students to define tetrapod and list examples...

Neanderthals on Trial
The illustration below left, published in 1909, represents one of the first depictions of Neanderthals. The photograph on the right represents a modern interpretation...

NOVA scienceNOW: Artificial Life
On the board, write the following question: "What is the difference between nonliving and living things?" Have student pairs generate a list of characteristics necessary for life...

NOVA scienceNOW: First Primates
Identify the characteristics of a primate

NOVA scienceNOW: Little People of Flores
Use a map to locate where scientists found the Homo floresiensis skeletons...

Odyssey of Life, Part I -- The Ultimate Journey
Distinguishing fact from theory can prove challenging. It is, for example, a fact that life on Earth has changed over geologic time...

Secrets of the Crocodile Caves
Ask students to find Madagascar on a world map. How might the fact that Madagascar is an island affect its biodiversity?...

Volcanoes of the Deep
On a map of the floor of the Pacific Ocean, have students locate the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Review with students how the Earth's crust is made of tectonic plates that move...


Genetics

Cracking the Code of Life
To help students understand terminology, review the concepts of and relationships among DNA, genes, protein, chromosomes, and traits...

Dogs and More Dogs
To help students understand the program's basic science concepts, review the following terms with them: gene, gene pool...

Family That Walks on All Fours
Have students recall people they know or have read or heard about who have coped with physical challenges...

Ghost in Your Genes
Epigenetic effects employ the chemical mechanisms involved with DNA. As a class, review the following definitions: DNA, chromosome, and genome...

Harvest of Fear
Review with students the difference between traditional plant breeding and breeding done through genetic engineering...

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
Ask students to describe the nature of science and the process by which scientists investigate the natural world...

Life's Greatest Miracle
Review the male and female human reproductive systems with students and examine how the systems function...

Lost Tribes of Israel
Discuss and record characteristics of a traditional Jewish belief system. Some of these include...

NOVA scienceNOW: 1918 Flu
Compare bacteria and viruses...

NOVA scienceNOW: Aging
Graph the age demographics of your town or city...

NOVA scienceNOW: Artificial Life
On the board, write the following question: "What is the difference between nonliving and living things?" Have student pairs generate a list of characteristics necessary for life...

NOVA scienceNOW: Bird Brains
Investigate how to communicate without words

NOVA scienceNOW: Of Mice and Memory
Model a nerve cell. Explain to students that the nervous system functions as the body's communication and control system

NOVA scienceNOW: Personal DNA Testing
Research and categorize medical conditions that affect human health

NOVA scienceNOW: Stem Cells Breakthrough
Explore terms related to stem cells and have student pairs match cell and genetics terms to their definitions

Real Jurassic Park, The
Discuss the difference between a project that is theoretically possible and one that is technically feasible...


Microbiology

Bioterror
Review with students the terms bacteria, toxin, antibiotic, and vaccine...

Brain Eater, The
While infectious diseases are generally caused by living organisms, some scientists suspect that Mad Cow Disease is caused by a non-living protein molecule...

Cancer Warrior
What exactly is cancer and how does it spread? Discuss with students their initial ideas about what cancer is and how it works...

Eighteen Ways to Make a Baby
To get students thinking about the possibility of genetically engineered children, have each student make a list of all the characteristics they would want a son or daughter to have...

Killer Disease on Campus
Discuss the meaning of vaccine. Ask students to raise their hands if they have been vaccinated for any diseases...

Most Dangerous Woman in America, The
Review the following terms with your students: bacteria, contagious, epidemiology, infectious, and quarantine...

Mysterious Life of Caves
Ask students what they think it is like to do cave research. How much light might there be?...

NOVA scienceNOW: Artificial Life
On the board, write the following question: "What is the difference between nonliving and living things?" Have student pairs generate a list of characteristics necessary for life...

NOVA scienceNOW: Killer Microbe
Assess student understanding of bacteria and antibiotic resistance

NOVA scienceNOW: Obesity
Introduce the key components of a generalized hormone-receptor system...

NOVA scienceNOW: Profile: Judah Folkman
Watch profiles of scientists and identify the traits that helped them succeed

NOVA scienceNOW: Stem Cells
Review stem cell-related vocabulary. Students should understand the following terms...

Odyssey of Life, Part II -- The Unknown World
Microorganisms help decompose dead plants and animals into substances that can be used again. Ask students what they know about the role microorganisms play in this important process ...

Origins: How Life Began
Have the class create a time line of major events using the program's 24-hour clock analogy. Draw two 12-hour clocks on chart paper...

Surviving AIDS


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