The Biology Corner


Photo by:  Rick Takmajian

Biology is the study of life and living organisms, from the smallest bacteria to giant sequoias.    Biologists use observation and experimentation to gain an understanding about the natural world.  Branches of biology include anatomy, biotechnology, botany, cell biology, ecology, genetics, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, and zoology.   Many people entering the field of biology become specialized in a particular area.

As a course, biology encompasses four main themes:

1.  The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life
2.  Biological systems utilize free energy to grow, reproduce, and  maintain life functions
3.  Living systems store and transmit information essential to life processes
4.  Biological systems interact with each other, and those interactions possess complex properties.

The Biology Corner is a resource site for biology and science teachers and students.  It contains a variety of lessons, quizzes, labs, web quests, and information on science topics for all levels, including introductory life science and advanced placement biology.    You can find lessons related to biology topics in the links  listed under “topics” on the sidebar as well as specific curriculum for biology classes taught in high school.

Spotlight Lessons:  Molecular Genetics

Next Generation Science Standard:  HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring

HS-LS3-2 Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors


Drosophilab:  This virtual lab is a good substitute for busy classes that don’t have the time to conduct experiments with real fruit flies.  Students do basic crosses showing how traits are inherited, and conduct chi square analysis to determine if the observed outcomes match the expected outcomes.   (Program is downloadable and free)

Corn Genetics:   Count kernels on corn to see how closely they match the predicted 9:3:3:1 ratio.

DNA Extraction:  Instructions for extracting DNA from strawberries, cheek cells and onions.  Super easy to do for any age level!

Recombinant DNA Simulation:  Using paper and scissors, students simulate the process of splicing DNA from one organism into another to create a genetically modified bacteria.

Who Ate the Cheese?!:  Another simulation that investigates how DNA fingerprints are used to solve crimes

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