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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Excellent Resources for Teaching the Protists



Excellent Short Videos of Protists

Just as my school was getting out for the Christmas break, I was finishing up a unit on the Protists with my biology classes.  I am very fortunate to have the use of an extremely well equipped high school lab, but before I took my students to the lab to complete my protist lab, I wanted some short video clips to use in the classroom during my lecture.  Most sites that host video are blocked at my school, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find several sites that I could access and use in my classroom.

Here are a few of the sites that I found.  What I liked the best was the short length of each clip.  With each of these sites, I could show 20-30 seconds of one organism and then move on to another organism.

Each of the sites listed below are free and the quality of the video is excellent.

Nikon Microscopy:  This was my favorite site.  Not only did it have the clips of the protists I was looking for, but it also has video clips of annelids, cnidarians, crustaceans, etc.  I'll be going back and using this site again and again.

Fun Science Gallery:  This site has 38 movies of bacteria, protists and freshwater multicellular organisms.  This site gives a few short sentences on particular structures to watch for as the video plays.

Natural History Museum Microbiology Video Collection:  All I can say about this site is just "Wow!!"  If you can't find what you are looking for here, it probably doesn't exist!

After teaching the about the protists in my classroom, I took my students to the lab for my 3-day lab on the protists.  Having used the short video clips in the classroom made my lab run smooth and easy.  I have already written a blog post about this lab.
You can access it and read about it here:   The Living Protists Lab

Happy Holidays and Happy Teaching!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scientific American "Citizen Science" - A Fantastic Resource




Turn your students into scientists!

Your students can actually help collect data for actual scientific research projects!

Hardly a day goes by that I don't check the Scientific American web site.  Not only does it have great news stories for me to share in my classroom, but it has a section called "Citizen Science" that is just a fantastic way for us science teachers to involve our students in actual, ongoing scientific research projects.  This explanation comes directly from the Citizen Science section of the web site:

Currently, there are two projects available that particularly interest me.  Both of these can be done with students at school, or can be done by children with their parents at home during the holidays.

This project is called "Christmas Bird Count".  "The National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count(CBC) is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of citizen scientists across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24 hour period to count birds.
Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24-kilometer diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. All CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day.
The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years."

You have to sign up for this project through the link above to find out if this is being done in your area.  You will be assigned a specific route to follow.  

This project is called "The Whale Song Project - Whale FM".  

I particularly like this project because it can be done in the classroom or at home on your computer.

"Through the Whale Song Project, citizen scientists are presented with a whale call and shown where it was recorded on a map of the world’s oceans and seas. After listening to the whale call citizen scientists are asked to listen to a number of potential matching calls from the project’s database. If a match is found, the citizen scientist clicks on that sound’s spectrogram and the results are stored.
The dataset generated by this project should help scientists to answer a number of questions regarding whale communication."



There are new projects being added to Citizen Science all the time.  This is a fantastic opportunity for the students in our science classrooms to participate in current scientific research projects.


Happy Teaching!!


P.S.  I am adding this little tidbit of information.  After my blog post was published, I was made aware of this site:  SciStarter.  It has a wealth of information on projects that you can join.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebration and Freebies!

Over 500 Facebook Followers!
Over 500 Twitter Followers!

It's Time for a celebration and some giveaways!!

Thank you so so so much to all of my followers.  What a great year I have had!  I am excited that for some time now I have had over 500 twitter followers, and just yesterday I soared past 500 facebook followers.  (If you are not yet a follower and would like to be, click the links in the right side bar.)

In appreciation I would like to offer a couple of freebies to you.  The two items listed below are normally for sale in my TpT store, but for the next 48 hours I will have them listed as free.

The two products are called:  "Let's Build a Cladogram!"  and "Measurement Madness!"  Here are the links to the two products:

Click picture to download product.

Click this picture to download product.


At the end of 48 hours, these two products will return to being "for sale" products, so grab them while you can!  Clicking on the links above will take you to my TeachersPayTeachers.com store.  There the products can be downloaded for free.  While you are there, go ahead and download all of the 14 products I have listed that are always for free.  A list of these products can be found in the left hand sidebar of my blog.  If you feel compelled to become a follower of my TpT store, I would appreciate that also!  Science Stuff Store on TpT

You will need to sign up for an account on TpT to complete the downloads, but there is certainly no obligation to buy anything.  In fact, TpT has over 16,000 FREE items.  You can literally find tons and tons of materials for any subject and any grade level for FREE on TpT.

Many, many thanks for your support during this year.  I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Living Protists Lab



Click here to view product.


The microscopic world is fascinating to students. Students of all ages love to look at living organisms under the microscope. 


I just spent the last three days in the lab with my biology students observing a variety of living protists.  I use this lab for both my standard Biology I students as well as my AP Biology students.  No matter what the age or the ability level, kids love this lab!  


This lab provides an extensive look at many different species of living algae and protozoa. 


To complete this lab as written, you will need to order the following protist cultures from a biological supply company. 
1) Spirogyra
2) Algae Survey Mixture (Contains 6 representative algae)
3) Diatom Mixture
4) Protozoa Survey Set (Contains 6 representatives: Ameba, Euglena, Paramecium, Spirostomum, Stentor, and Volvox)
5) Marine Dinoflagellates
6) Preying Protozoa Set


This lab was written with a high school biology class in mind, but it is so easily adaptable to younger ages.  This is one of those labs that just gets kids excited about science.  I have not had a student yet who did not enjoy watching these amazing organisms under a microscope.  Even students who have shown no previous interest in your class will perk up during this lab.  


Happy Teaching!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas -- The Last Day!!





Day 12 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!



On the twelfth day of Christmas, Charity Preston sends to you.....  


"Quote Pack 1".


Please visit Charity Preston at one of the following:




Click here to see the newsletter.    From the newsletter you can download Chairty's free product of the day!

Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Thanks so much to Charity Preston for organizing this awesome event!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

DAY 11 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!! MY TURN!!!




DAY 11 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!  I am so excited that it is finally my day!!



On the eleventh day of Christmas, Charity Preston and SCIENCE STUFF send to you.....  


"Science Skills PowerPoint and Student Worksheets:  Comparing and Contrasting".




Please visit Science Stuff at one of the following:



Click here to see the newsletter.  From the newsletter you can download this free product of the day!

I am so happy to be able to offer this free product to all who have supported me throughout the year.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, and a joyous new year.  Many, many thanks for your support!


Happy Teaching!



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!!





Day 10 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!



On the tenth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Addie Williams send to you.....  


"Poetry Package:  7 Assignments to Engage and Involve Students".


Please visit Addie Williams at one of the following:



Click here to see the newsletter.   From the newsletter you can download Addie Williams's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Friday, December 9, 2011

DAY 9 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!!





Day 9 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!



On the ninth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Oddball Science send to you.....  


"Bug Hunt, Penguin Hunt and Turkey Hunt".


Please visit Oddball Science at one of the following:


Teacher Pay Teacher Store



Click here to see the newsletter.   From the newsletter you can download Oddball Science's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

DAY 8 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!!





Day 8 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!






On the eighth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and MiddleSchoolTeacher send to you.....  


"The Grinch Mini Unit".


Please visit MiddleSchoolTeacher at one of the following:






Click here to see the newsletter.   From the newsletter you can download MiddleSchoolTeacher's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DAY 7: The Twelve Days of Christmas!





Day 7 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!






On the seventh day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Kristen Bowers of Secondary Solutions send to you.....  


"101 Writing Prompts for Winter".


Please visit Kristen Bowers of Secondary Solutions at one of the following:



Click here to see the newsletter.  From the newsletter you can download Kristen's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teach Classification and Make It Fun!!


What is this organism?  

What characteristics does it have?  To what other organisms is it similar?  Is it a vertebrate or an invertebrate?  What does it eat?  What role does it play in an ecosystem?

All biology teachers have particular topics that they really don't like to teach, and topics that we LOVE LOVE to teach.  Teaching classification is a topic that I LOVE!


Classification involves problem solving and critical thinking.  Basically a taxonomist is a "living organism detective".

I have two really fun activities that my students always enjoy.  The first is called "Let's Learn to Use and Build a Dichotomous Key".    This product teaches students all about dichotomous classification keys.  Students will learn why classification is necessary, the definition of a dichotomous key, and how to use a dichotomous key.  Students will analyze the included pictures of 7 different cone-bearing plants, using the included dichotomous key to classify them.   




Finally students will learn to construct a classification key of their own.  Students are given pictures of 12 different primates and asked to make their own classification key.  There are also 10 follow up questions for students to answer.



The second activity that I love to do with my students is called "Let's Build A Cladogram".  Cladistics is one of the newest trends in the modern classification of organisms.  It shows the relationship between different organisms based on the presence or absence of characteristics called derived characters.  In this activity, students will look at pictures  of 7 different animals to determine if they possess certain derived characters.  This data will then be used to build a cladogram.



There are just so many fun things to do when teaching classification.  I always have to make myself wrap up the unit and move on to a new topic!

DAY 6 of the Twelve Days of Christmas!





Day 6 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!






On the sixth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Shelley Gray send to you.....  
"Apples:  Compare, Order and Sort Math Centers."


Please visit Shelley Gray at one of the following:






Click here to see the newsletter.  From the newsletter you can download Shelley's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Monday, December 5, 2011

DAY 5: The Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas





Day 5 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!






On the fifth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Scipi send to you.....  
"Christmas/Holiday Fractions: Identifying Fractional Parts"


Please visit Scipi at one of the following:





Click here to see the newsletter.  From the newsletter you can download Scipi's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DAY 4: The Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas





Day 4 of the Twelve Days of Teacher Christmas!






On the fourth day of Christmas, Charity Preston and Linda Nelson send to you.....  
"Word Wall Partner Activites"


Please visit Linda Nelson at one of the following:





Click here to see the newsletter.  From the newsletter you can download Linda's free product of the day!
Don't forget! These products are normally for sale and you are getting them for free!!  :)


Happy Teaching!


PS - Science Stuff is coming up on Day 11!