Labs & Activities

Battle-jar Galactica- Matt Downing

In this investigation students will study the types of bacteria that grow during the formation of sauerkraut, identify some characteristics of each, as well as research the type of respiratory pathway used by the organisms to break down the cabbage to get their energy. Downloads pH Questions (Matt Downing) Bacteria… read more

Comparing Aquatic Communities

Teams of students measure physical and chemical characteristics of different sites in streams and/or ponds and collect benthic invertebrate organisms. They interpret patterns in the structure of the biological community at each site in light of the abiotic (physical  and chemical) and biotic nature of the environment. Downloads Comparing Aquatic… read more

HIV Transmission

“This is the best way I can imagine to introduce such a sensitive/vital issue in a non-embarrassing way and still get the message across: the HIV virus is transmitted by sharing body fluids, there are specific high risk behaviors, and what you choose to do is the greatest determining factor… read more

Microscopy and Cell Biology

Students will identify the parts of a microscope. Students will observe, manipulate, write and memorize. Students will also compute total magnification of the objective lenses. The lab can be modified to suit higher grade levels using the attached handouts for various observation stations. Downloads Pollen Station Red Onion Cell Station… read more

Pseudomonas Labs

Module 1: This classroom activity demonstrates interactions between plants and specific strains of Pseudomonas (a plant-pathogenic bacteria). Students will design an experiment that demonstrates the specificity of the hypersensitive response. This serves as a starting point to learn the importance of model systems through comparisons of two pathogens. Both Pseudomonas,… read more

Rotifers Lab- Beth Chagrasulis

These instructions detail how to collect bdelloid rotifers from moss, extract them, and view them under a microscope along with protozoa, nematodes, and tardigrades that also live in moss. Download Rotifer Article (Beth Chagrasulis) Rotifer & Tardigrade Collecting (Beth Chagrasulis)

Soft Rot

Students will investigate the bacteria (plant pathogens) that cause soft rot on grocery produce (that mushy mess you often see on vegetables). By bringing some of this rotting produce from the store back to the lab students can isolate bacteria that are responsible for the disease (and sometimes yeasts, other… read more

Spice Lab

Downloads Spice Lab (Student Edition) Spice Lab (Teacher Edition) Supplemental Reading: Why Cilantro Tastes Like Soap, for Some Supplemental Reading: Why 10% of the Population Hates Cilantro Supplemental Reading: Antimicrobial Functions of Spices

Stomata Safari- Carolyn Wilczynski

On a “stomata safari,” students will view and compare the number and location of stomata from leaves of several species of plants. Once they have learned how to sample stomata, they will be able to investigate how plants distribute their stomata depending on the environment. Downloads Stomata Safari Lab (Carolyn… read more

Tardigrade Lab

Downloads Students will explore the microscopic world found living on lichens and mosses. Using a simple collection and extraction process, students will observe extremophiles called tardigrades. This lab includes a reading activity with questions as well as an anticipation guide handout for use with a YouTube video Tardigrade Lab (Student… read more

Vegevaders- PPI

Playing this game allows students to experience through game-play the continuing co-evolution between plants and their microbial pathogens that occurs during the battle to detect/defend (plants) versus evade/invade (pathogens). This battle is ongoing in nature over evolutionary time and observable in agricultural fields from one season to another, where crop… read more


Lab 1 Goal: To introduce students to the incredible diversity and abundance of insects and to prepare specimens for DNA analysis. Upon completion of this activity, students will: Describe the diversity of insects collected in one location. Identify insects using taxonomic classification. Sort insects into “morphospecies” – similar looking species…. read more