One more link, the one below discusses an honors level class that I taught a few years ago before I started posting about each class, but it has an outline of topics and labs that we covered.
For the lab, I collected pillbugs (and sowbugs) from my yard, which are actually crustaceans, not bugs. Students were to design experiments for the pillbugs and observe their behavior. Students tested whether the pillbugs preferred dark or light, wet or dry habitat, hot or cold, etc. The one experiment that had very clear results was the hot vs cold. Students warmed up water in the microwave and poured it into a ziplock bag and placed it in a foil pan next to a ziplock bag full of ice water. We placed a petri dish so half of it was on the cold bag and half was on the hot bag. All 4 sowbugs went directly to the cold side and everytime they wandered over the border into the warm side they quickly reversed course and returned to the cold side.
The bright spot in the photo is just a reflection of the overhead lights.
Pillbugs and sowbugs are easy critters to round up for these experiments and easy to handle (they don’t bite). The only problem we had was they kept trying to escape or hide under the experiment which is why the hot/cold experiment was done in a closed petri dish.
We ended class by watching the first half of a video, “Bird Brains”, on Curiosity Stream, which appears to be a slightly different version of an episode of NOVA. It showed how some birds can solve puzzles, use tools and learn from each other.
That’s it for the high school Biology class. Next year we’l be doing the Big History Project, basically a semester of Astronomy and then a semester of Earth Science. I taught Big History before when the kids were younger but will be teaching both a middle school and a high school version of it next year.
Middle School biology class taught from August 2018 to May 2019.
I got this lab from the Holt curriculum, Chapter 26, A Birds Airframe. I didn’t have duck bones but managed to buy some beef soup bones in the freezer section of the grocery store and cleaned the meat off some chicken wings. I also happened to have some song bird skulls that I had saved, when I found the dead birds in my chimney during some house repairs last month. Lastly, I had an unknown bone that I had picked up somewhere, which we determined to be a coyote ulna. Students measured the density of the bones by finding their mass on a triple beam balance and found their volume using water displacement. The densities weren’t actually too different, which I found surprising, but the bones we used were not from the same part of each animal, for example, they weren’t all leg bones, which would lead to a better comparison. Another factor is that some of the bones were quite old, while others were ‘fresh’, some had been boiled and some had not.
Students cracked open the chicken bone and saw that the bone is not solid bone but has a goey center – bone marrow. We looked at both the bone and bone marrow under the microscope.
I wasn’t planning on dissecting pigs and frogs with the middle school class but there weren’t as many high school students willing to dissect as I thought there would be so I had an extra fetal pig and an extra frog. I had kept the high school specimens so we were able to compare the two fresh dissections, which were both male to the female frog and pig that were done last week. I gave the students a diagram of the digestive organs of the pig and they had to label the different organs.