biology textLast year was our first year doing a more rigorous high school science course.  As mentioned before we used a college text for non-majors and I think it worked out pretty well.  I thought it was a pretty readable textbook.  We used the second to most recent edition of Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology (9th Edition) to save some money.

popbeadsOne of the activities we did last year was to make stop motion movies of meiosis and mitosis using pop beads. The kids had fun doing this and I think acting it out helped them understand the process.  I bought the Neo Sci DNA Pop Bead Assorted Kit, 1500 pieces  on Amazon.  magnetic centromereThere are smaller sets available but I was using it for my class so I bought a big set.  You will also need to buy some Neo Sci Plastic magnetic centromeres for DNA Pop Beads to hold together the chromosomes. Make sure you buy MAGNETIC centromeres.  The kids made the movies on a white board so the magnets helped hold everything in place and it was easy to just redraw the other cell components for each frame.  We did this activity in both the high school class and the middle school class, which was using Real Science Odyssey Biology Level 2 as their text.   As you can see in the movie on meiosis you can even model the crossing over of genes (swapping of yellow/red segments) which helps increase genetic diversity in the four daughter cells (none of which are the identical).