Posts Tagged ‘Apologia Biology’

Biology Comedy Show

Monday, January 20th, 2014

biology-comedy-show-1As the culminating activity for our year of high school biology, we decided to do a fun and corny Biology Comedy Show. We performed it during my son’s amoeba birthday party. You can take a look at the amoeba cake we ate, the live amoebas we looked at through the microscope, and the Lego bacteria my son put together.

My husband put up a green screen behind our Biology Comedy Show, so that we could superimpose some amoeba footage that my son had captured earlier. The whole family was involved in the show. You will hear sounds from the audience who was watching, especially during the charades section of the show, where my son acted out various topics from biology. The whole show is less than five minutes, even though it took us a year to accumulate all the jokes.

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If you enjoyed this comedy show, I recommend you go watch our other corny comedy show: Ancient Rome Comedy Show. We performed it years ago when my kids were younger.

If you are a homeschooling family who is studying biology, I highly recommend joining the Unit Study Treasure Vault, which has tons of biology videos in it. I filmed everything we did for our high school biology in our family, and I show you how to modify the topics for younger siblings to enjoy.

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Food Web Activity

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

food-web-activity

Look at this exciting food web activity you can do with your biology students! All you need is a pile of plastic animals, a dark blue poster, string, a silver Sharpie marker, and tape. This food web activity will help your biology students to understand which animals eat which other animals. This is more complicated than the food chain that goes in a straight line that you learn about in elementary school. In real life, some animals eat each other!

Grab the dark blue poster and set it down on the table. Dump the plastic animals out of the bag. I bought a huge bag of plastic animals at a yard sale for fifty cents, so you don’t have to buy the plastic animals new. Goodwill is another source. Or you can borrow the animals from a friend with young children, and give the animals back after this activity.

Students will now set up the animals with the tertiary animals near the top, the secondary animals near the middle, and the primary animals at the bottom of the poster. You might want to include a plastic plant because many animals are herbivores. All primary animals are herbivores, so connect the string from the plant to the herbivore. Tape it down on each end. With a silver marker, draw an arrow indicating that the herbivore eats the plant. (The arrow points to the plant. Unless you want to show how the food energy flows, then do it the opposite direction.)

Continue in this way. The secondary animals eat the primary animals, but some of them also eat plants. One animal can point to more than one food source. This is why the food web looks like a tangled spider web. The tertiary animals eat the secondary animals.

You will notice that an eagle will eat a snake, but that a snake can also eat an eagle! Amazing!

For more fun biology activities, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

 

Lego Bacteria

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

lego-bacteria

When studying about bacteria in biology, one of my sons decided to build a Lego bacteria. He used two small base plates, which he connected with black Legos representing the cell wall. Green Legos projected out of the cell wall, representing the pili used for locomotion. The flagellum is made of green Legos, and it looks like a tail coming out of the back of the bacterium. The flagellum is also used for locomotion.

The ribosomes are red Legos, and they synthesize protein in the cell. The ribosomes are what powers the bacterium because they take the DNA and turn it into protein for the cell to use. The DNA is made out of blue Legos arranged in a squiggly pattern. Without DNA, the cell would die very quickly because the ribosomes would not be able to make any protein.

Many bacteria are harmful to humans, but other bacteria help humans. People who study bacteria help us to stay healthy, which is one reason why my son wants to be a microbiologist.

If you enjoyed making Lego bacteria, you will love the biology activities in the Unit Study Treasure Vault. If you are homeschooling, your whole family can enjoy biology through the videos and activity demonstrations in the biology section of the Vault!

You Can Order Live Amoebas!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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You can order live amoebas! You ask, “Why on earth would I want to order live amoebas?” Well, if you are studying biology and you are not impressed by the dead amoeba specimen in the slide set, you will want to order a live amoeba so that you can actually see it move! You know, with its pseudopods squishing along.

Of course, I was reluctant when my son began begging me for live amoebas. After all, I grew up in a third-world country where I suffered from amoebas all the time. Let me tell you, they are everywhere: in the water, in the strawberries, in the ice cubes… Don’t drink the water from third-world countries. Just don’t.

But the sweet begging of my son and the fact that he had aced his biology exams at age 11 caused me to re-examine my reluctance. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to order them. My son screamed, “Yes!!” as if he had scored a goal.

We ordered our live amoebas from this company. I was disappointed by 2 things:

  1. It looks like they only cost $7, but they force you to do at least 2-day shipping (or the amoebas will die), so it’s more like $30. I would rather they had said, “This will cost you a total of $30, plus any medicine you will need to get rid of the sickness in your house.” (I’m just kidding about the sickness. None of us got sick.) But the amoebas cost $30. I still think they were worth ordering.
  2. When the flask arrived in the mail, my son jumped up and down like it was Christmas. At first we could not find ANY amoebas. They say there are enough amoebas for a classroom full of 30 kids, so I was expecting the amoebas to be easy to find. My son’s right eyeball was going blurry as he asked me to please look until my right eye went blurry. Then I called my husband to come home from work and look, and of course, my husband found one. Because he is my knight in shining armor, and he always saves the day in our homeschool.

live-amoebasMy son squealed with delight when we actually captured the moving amoeba with his microscopic camcorder he got for Christmas last year. He was excited to see the live amoebas moving around with their pseudopods, sloshing along. We filmed the amoebas with a micro-camera, and we will be uploading the video to the huge biology section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault. (You should join the Vault if you are studying biology, because there are lots of fun videos and printables of every topic covered in a typical high school biology textbook.)

Thankfully none of us got sick, and we disposed of the amoebas in a sealed container in the trash. Since amoebas need oxygen to survive, they pretty much die within a few days.

I must say that the live amoebas looked “gorgeous,” according to my son. They looked like they were full of Christmas lights, since they had lots of vacuoles for getting rid of excess water. The nucleus kept moving around, and the amoeba squished itself forward, right in front of our eyes. Amazing!

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