Tag Archives: cells

Biology resources for students: Part 1

Good morning!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been updating various pages within my website, and as I work, I keep encountering all these different websites and digital resources I’ve bookmarked over the years. My bookmarks bar is organized by broad scientific subjects: astronomy,biology, chemistry, ecology, and physics. I’ve also got a folder dedicated solely to scientific games. I will share the resources in these folders in subsequent posts, organized by subject area. Once posted in the blog, I’ll then add all bookmarks to the general science pages in my website, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to share them with the broader global community as well. I have so many of these resources that I’m going to have to split the list into two parts – the bookmarks from my Chrome browser and those from Firefox.

Today: biology resources for students (and teachers!) in no particular order.

  • The Cell: Basic Unit of Structure and Function by McGraw-Hill. Animations, quizzes, flashcards, and other resources aligned with their Human Anatomy textbook. Links to other chapters can be found in the sidebar.
  • Bioman Biology. Interactive biology games on a variety of topics, including physiology, cells, ecology, genetics, evolution, DNA, respiration, and photosynthesis.
  • Carbon cycle animation from the University of Alberta, Canada. A simple but comprehensive flow chart (system diagram) of the global carbon cycle.
  •  InstaGrok interactive concept maps. Pre-made concept maps showing links between a whole bunch of topics in general biology. Click on a term to see links to other biology topics, facts, websites, videos, images, or add your own notes.
  • Cells Alive! This site has been around for years. Good, easy-to-understand interactive cell models.
  •  DNA video from NotCot.org. A beautiful 3 minute animation explaining DNA for BBC Knowledge from Territory.
  • John Kimball’s online biology textbook. This guy has been teaching biology for decades, and he’s amassed an incredible amount of resources on his site around every conceivable topic in biology. It’s kind of an old-school site, but it’s thorough.
  • Learn.Genetics at the University of Utah, USA. I use the tutorials from this site extensively in my genetics and evolution units.
  • Bozeman Science biology playlist on YouTube. 76 videos! 76! This playlist contains videos that could be useful in AP Biology, IB Biology, Biology, and other life sciences, all from the amazing Paul Andersen.
  • Mitosis World Home at University of North Carolina, USA. An aggregate of several other biology resources.
  • Discover Biology animations from W.W. Norton & Co. High-quality animations that can be viewed straight through, step-by-step, or narrated.
  • Interactive transpiration animation from ScienceMag. Adjust plant parameters and environmental conditions to see different effects on the movement of water through plants. With some creativity, you could run a virtual lab from this animation.
  • Understanding Evolution at the University of California – Berkeley. Densely packed with information and thoroughly researched. I use this site as a main reference for my evolution units. The site has been around a long time and is showing its age, but it’s still highly useful.
  • Sex determination video at TED-Ed. One of many useful resources from the TED people. Includes a review quiz and discussion questions.
  • Biology for Life. A great website from Gretel von Bargen at Skyline High School in Washington state, USA. It follows the new IB Biology syllabus. Also linked to her Twitter feed. I use this site a ton.
  • Bioknowledgy. Probably my favorite site for IB Biology. Chris Paine in Shanghai has created an extensive library of resources and materials aligned with the new IB Biology syllabus. Includes presentations, videos, and guided revision questions, among other resources. Awesome!

I hope that’s a good start for now. If you find any helpful resources you think I’ve missed, please send them my way in the comments, and I’ll add them to the second batch.


Mr K

What’s on the 9th-Grade Biology Test?

We are 1 week from the summative unit test in grade 9 science, which means it’s time to start revising. Here’s a list of the major topics you’re likely to find on the test.

  • Cell structure and function
  • Plant vs animal
  • Biological molecules
  • Energy flow through ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles within ecosystems
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Food webs
  • Levels of organization
  • Trophic levels

There will be several skills assessed on the test: recalling scientific facts (vocabulary and definitions, labeling diagrams), explaining scientific concepts, analyzing results, and evaluating trends in experimental data. Make sure you know this stuff well!

What’s on the Biology Quiz?!?

Image Credit: by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, via school.discoveryeducation.com

Image Credit: by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, via school.discoveryeducation.com

I’ve heard this question a bunch of times already this week, and it’s only Tuesday morning! If you’ve been paying attention in class, you should already have a pretty good idea of what will be on the quiz. If you haven’t been paying attention, I’m going to give you a couple of hints in this post.

Quiz Dates

  • 9A + 9C: Friday 4 October
  • 9B: Monday 7 October

Quiz Format

  • Criterion C1: Explaining Scientific Information
  • Level 1-2 Questions: Matching definitions with vocabulary, labeling diagrams
  • Level 3-4 Questions: Identifying and correcting True/False statements
  • Level 5-6 Questions: Describing and explaining scientific concepts.

Quiz Topics

  • Cell structure and function
  • Biological molecules
  • Ecological pyramids
  • Food webs
  • Trophic levels

Plants and Animals: Cellular Differences

Plants and animals are both eukaryotes, meaning they have distinct nuclei. (Bacteria, by contrast, are prokaryotes, which means they don’t have a nicely organized nucleus.)

Plants and animal cells have many other similarities: ribosomes, mitochondria, chromatin, cell membranes, smooth and rough endoplasmic reticula (ER), vacuoles, and Golgi complexes, among some other organelles we’re not studying in this unit. However, there are some fundamental differences between plants and animals on a cellular level:

  • cell wall in plants
  • chloroplasts (plastids) in plant cells
  • large central vacuole in plant cells
  • centrioles in animal cells
  • some differences in the structure and function of the Golgi complexes

Watch this video for a nice summary, and please do click on the links he posts at the end for a deeper explanation of the topics he covers.

The following video is a bit more ‘scientific’ and uses some nice computer animation to tour plant cells. It’s worth a quick watch, too.


Organizing Life

Now that we’ve spent some time getting to know our key vocabulary in the biology sequence, let’s start to delve a little deeper into the links and relationships among those words.

The Cell Theory is one of the foundational ideas behind all of biology, and it is something you must be familiar with before starting any future classes in bio. There are 3 main postulates to the Cell Theory, which I’ve listed below.

  1. All living things are made of cells.
  2. All cells come from pre-existing cells.
  3. The cell is the smallest unit of life.

Even though all living things are made of cells, not all cells are alike. Living organisms are classified into 5 kingdoms of life based on differences in their physiology and cell function. I think the link above and the image below nicely summarizes the way we classify living organisms.

In this unit we’ll look at one of the key distinctions among Earth organisms: the differences between plant and animal cells. The notes packet and diagrams you received in class contain the “official class notes” on this topic, so don’t lose them! You might also find the following items somewhat useful:

Biology – key vocabulary

proteinsimage source: filebox.vt.edu

Welcome to the biology unit, kids! I’ve added a couple of helpful documents to this post, which you will want to refer to as we move through our unit on the organization of life on Earth.

The first document, G9 Biology Vocabulary, is an outline of the major concepts in this unit. It’s basically a big list of important vocabulary words. I’ve intentionally left out the definitions, examples, and explanations, because that’s what you need to add – that’s how you learn! You should download this document and add to it as we cover different topics during the unit.

The second document, G9 Biology vocabulary matchup, is the collection of cards we used in class. You’ll find vocabulary terms and definitions organized into columns and sorted by topic. This will be a nice reference in case you miss something during a class.