Teaching Modules

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Lesson plans designed to meet the Georgia State High School Science Standards – Biology and based on the template.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Topic Grade Overview
Biotechnology 9-12 An overview of biotechnology concentrating on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) techniques to be introduced and non-PCR techniques discussed throughout the semester. Also emphasizing their relation to biology today and culminating in a often used modern day molecular biology technique PCR.
Microorganism 9-10 Students learn about the ubiquity of bacteria and the diverse nature of those organisms. Also, they discover proper biosafety techniques including handwashing and disposal of biohazardous materials in order to prevent illness and contamination. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is discussed and related to the medical field.
Exploring Molecular Biology Techniques: Sickle Cell Anemia Study 9-12 This curriculum unit provides students the opportunity to explore methods in molecular biology that scientists use in genetics and epidemiological studies. Students will learn about general techniques in molecular research and how to perform these techniques.
Sustainable Ecosystem 8-12 Through this hands-on curricular unit, students will learn the importance of nutrient cycling to organism diversity in a pond ecosystem. After testing water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, nitrates, ammonia, and pH, students will be able to create their own ecosystem of plants and animals that are best suited for the pond environment. Most importantly students can create their own model of sustainability that they can share with their family and community.
DNA Sampling, Extraction and Analyses 9-12 Students learn about the basic structure of DNA. Also, students will learn the processes and techniques of DNA sampling, extraction and analyses.
Molecular Ecology; Understanding Species Roles 9-12 Students are introduced to scientific research papers, how to read them and how they can be used in ecology. They are then able to choose an endangered species to research and share the importance of saving this species with peers through a PowerPoint, brochure, and a wildlife foundation. Students get to look at the genetics of their species and how genetic studies can be used to aid in conservation. Finally, the students get to see how Homo sapiens affect the world.
Cellular Machines: Enzymes 9-12 An overview of enzymes with a restriction enzyme activity to introduce protocols and interpreting data. Also emphasizing their relation to biology today.
Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques: DNA Extraction and Polymerase Chain Reaction 9-12 This curriculum unit provides students the opportunity to practice more advanced skills in molecular biology including DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In order to conduct this lab, students should already have a mastery of basic pipetting and gel electrophoresis techniques.
Forensics: From Candy DNA to Solving Crimes 9-12 Students begin using candy DNA models to learn about DNA structure and function. They will continue with an activity that gives them practice with basic molecular techniques such as micropipetting and agarose gel electrophoresis. Then students will be presented with a scenario in which they must use restriction enzymes to solve a crime. Finally, they will need to use agarose gel electrophoresis to compare the DNA fingerprints of various suspects to find out who dunnit.
DNA: Heredity, Structure, Function, and Genetic Applications 9-12 This unit gives an introduction to heredity, the structure and function of DNA as well as its use in forensics and other genetic applications. Students will learn how DNA is passed through generations by using paper chromosomes to find the phenotypes and genotypes of parents and offspring. Students then complete multiple labs that concentrate on the structure and function of DNA from the creation of models to DNA extractions. Next students learn the basic techniques needed to work safely and efficiently in a laboratory setting. Finally, students use these techniques and information to solve a crime and discuss controversial topics in genetics.
Exploring Natural Selection Monsters and E.coli 9-12 Students will learn how mutation and natural selection lead to antibiotic resistance and speciation.
Analysing Genotype and Phenotype using Molecular Biology – Under Construction 9-12 DNA structure and function, genetics, and molecular biology are presented in a unique way that uses modern molecular biology techniques to determine the genotype of a fruit fly using both breeding techniques and RFLP analysis. Students are shown how classical principles in genetics relate to modern discoveries on how genes are organized and how they function.
Human Impacts on Ecological Systems 9-12 Students participate in a variety of activities to understand the impacts we have as humans on the environment around us. In the first activities, students learn about how unsustainable practices can adversely affect wildlife populations. Students discover that even renewable resources like lobsters can become nonrenewable if we are not responsible.
Pond Ecology 9-12 Students will experience wetland biodiversity first hand through exploration of an on-campus pond. Through an active outdoor classroom students will expand their knowledge of ecosystems and hopefully any negative perceptions will be changed.
Genetics and DNA Technology 9-12 In the study of DNA, it is vital to understand its structure and function. The use of DNA technology also affects every aspect of our daily lives. Through a series of five hands-on activities students explore DNA structure and function, purify DNA, and perform DNA profiling and transformation activities.
The Flow of Energy 9-12 The steps that occur in living organisms during the process of photosynthesis and respiration are affected by a number of different factors. For example, through osmosis and diffusion, important molecules are exchanged between living organisms and the environment. In cellular respiration, enzymes catalyze chemical reactions that provide all the energy needed by an organism.
The Biological Side of Chemistry 9-12 Students will perform multiple experiments that highlight the integration of chemistry concepts into the field of biology.
The Chemistry of Genetic Engineering 9-12 Understanding the chemistry concepts behind genetic engineering is essential to understanding physiological mechanisms of organisms as well as molecular techniques used to investigate these mechanisms.
Fishy Genetics 9-12 Fishy Genetics is a teaching module designed to introduce high school students to DNA with emphasis on structure, function, and inheritance.
Sustainability 9-12 The goal of this sustainability module is to make students knowledgeable of environmental sustainability issues, learn about ways to be more sustainable and put those activities into practice.
Ogeechee River Theme 9-12 This module focuses on using the Ogeechee River (or river near your school) as a model system to which biological curriculum can be referenced.
Linking Physical Science to Molecular Biology 9-12 Through this lesson, students will examine the principles behind gel electrophoresis after performing a number of hands-on activities on electricity and magnetism.
Bioluminescence 9-12 Bioluminescence is the process by which living organisms emit light. It is a biological process that scientists have harnessed for various forms of research. This module focuses on the basis of bioluminescence and the various techniques through which scientists utilize it. Concepts covered include gel electrophoresis, bacterial transformation, and the properties of enzymes.
Ticks and Other Vectors 9-12 The ticks and other vectors of disease module can be completed in any high school environmental science class. The students will complete four different activities. The first activity will teach them to use dichotomous keys and to identify vectors. The following two activities will introduce students to the process of DNA extraction from ticks followed by analysis of the tick DNA via agarose gel electrophoresis. The final activity reveals how pathogens are transferred and diseases are transmitted.
Building Sustainable Awareness 9-12 Sustainability can be a hard concept to teach in a classroom setting because it is so distant from real life examples. In this module students learn concepts of sustainability through three activities. The first activity allows students to purchase green building technologies and construct models of their green design. In the second activity, students calculate their household carbon emissions by using a carbon calculator on the EPA’s website. In the final activity, students build a house on a river bank and see how the resulting development affects the water quality around them and downstream homes.
Atomic and Molecular Interactions 9-12 Interactions on the atomic and molecular level are fundamental to understanding the most basic aspects of biology. It is important for students to understand the properties of matter, radioactivity, exothermic/endothermic reactions, and solubility in order to be able to connect this to why and how these things may affect living organisms. This knowledge can contribute to overall knowledge of not just how cells regulate intracellular chemical composition, but also why, and what the impact would be if they were not able to do so.
Human Impacts on the Environment 9-12 This module focuses on how humans have changed the world around us in a myriad of small and large ways. Students start with an activity that explores the rapid spread of disease in dense populations (such as a city). Next, students use bacteria and common household antiseptics to examine evolution. This lesson emphasizes the accelerated evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria due to over-use of antibiotics and antiseptics. In the third activity, students create a model neighborhood and river community to examine the impact of their every day actions on the environment. The conclusion to the unit is a molecular investigation into the unanticipated results of pesticide runoff. In this activity, students test to see how species diversity is affected in an area that does not receive pesticide spraying. A genetic analysis, including DNA gel electrophoresis, helps students answer this question.
Exploring Evolution 9-12 In this lesson, students will explore evolution through a number of different hands-on activities to understand how it operates at both the micro and macro levels.
Genetic Traits: From Nucleotides to Species 9-12 This module concentrates on the flow of genetic information from a single nucleotide to whole organisms.
Water Sustainability 9-12 The students will complete four different activities. The first activity will teach students the various properties of water. The following activity will simulate the water cycle process and allow the students to observe the simulation over the period of a week. The third activity requires the students to work with water quality test kits to test the quality of water from various environments. The final activity reveals how the choices of humans impact the world’s water systems.
Change Over Time: From Fossil to Monsters 9-12 This module focuses on the processes of evolution. Students will become familiar with the process of investigation and discovery, and how it relates to the evolutionary theory. Students will also develop an understanding of the genetic contribution to the change of species over time and the challenges of the survival of the fittest.
Basic Physical Science Concepts 9-12 This module revolves around chemical reactions and solubility, which are key concepts in the Physical Science curriculum. Students will engage in multiple hands on activities that investigate these key topics. The main focal point in this module is to give students a chance to make predictions, record observations and write summaries during each activity.
Essential Arthropods 9-12 This unit utilizes arthropods as a tool to teach multiple scientific principles to students. They will learn to classify organisms using dichotomous keys, to build a phylogenetic tree using actual DNA sequences from mosquitoes, and students explore how scientists use DNA technology to identify individuals, analyze evidence, and solve crimes.
Science and Agriculture 9-12 The activities in this module seek to encourage inquiry-based learning about how scientific advances continue to lead to agricultural practices that allow the Earth’s human population to reach levels that would be otherwise impossible. Activities also explore how this ever growing human population affects
Earth’s ecosystems and how the health of these ecosystems affect the number of people who can survive on our planet. Activities inform and encourage discussion of the balance that must be maintained between advancement and conservation while introducing topics such as nonpoint source pollution, Genetically Modified Organisms, and biomagnification of agricultural chemicals.
Decomposition 9-12 These activities revolve around the process of decomposition in stream ecosystems and the main focus is to calculate the decomposition rates between different treatments.
Energy Transfer  9-12 In physical science, energy is described as the ability to do work. This work can be changing position, speed, or form of matter. Students will perform experiments and participate in activities that will demonstrate how energy is transferred from one object to another and what role this transfer of energy plays in everyday life.
Physical Evidence at Crime Scenes This physical evidence module will teach students how to analyze evidence that can be found at a crime scene. This module is based off one of the most important principles for forensic science the Locard Exchange Principle that states that there is always cross transfer of evidence between suspect and victim.
Alien Invasion  9-12  Invasive species are having a huge influence on our surroundings. Not only are non-native species threatening agriculture and forests, they are also causing major impacts to several of our communities. Using hands-on activities that encompass the mechanisms in which invasive species are introduced, how they establish themselves and ways of prevention, students will become knowledgeable in how invasive species influence the environment around them. Activities will engage the students to understand the importance of conservation and how invading species could affect them personally.
Exploring the Chemical World 9-12  The first few lessons in this module will teach and help students understand the chemical properties of elements and how those properties can cause elements to interact with each other. After students have grasped a working knowledge of elements and chemical reactions, they can explore more advanced topics like reactions rates, acids and bases, and the law of conservation.
Water Quality Assessment 9-12 Students will assess the quality of a local aquatic environment through a series of interactive
activities. At the end of the module students will have knowledge of several tools that can be
used to assess water quality. Students begin by assessing the biotic and abiotic factors of the
water body. They then complete a leaf pack experiment that spans 2-3 months where they look
at leaf decomposition in an aquatic environment and assess local macroinvertebrates.
Additionally, students work to create a map of their local watershed and relate that to potential
sources of water pollution in the area.
Biological Communities 9-12 Students are walked through modern molecular biology techniques used to examine soil microbe communities. Students must compile and organize information into a graph and then compare their results to real-world microbial communities to draw inferences about their simulated soil sample. Other student activities include a bacterial and fungal investigation of their school and classroom. Students swab and air-expose Petri plates around their school to gain insight on the otherwise invisible microbial communities all around them. Other activities include a simulation of DDT bioaccumulation in a coastal marine community.


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