Tag Archives: photosynthesis

Ecology resources for students: Part 1

Good afternoon!

I’m back with another set of bookmarks for students and teachers. Because I’ve taught the IB Environmental systems and societies course for several years, this set of online resources is closest to my heart. Some of these links are here simply because I think they’re cool or fun. Many may also be applicable for studying biology and chemistry as well. Let’s get to it:

Happy learning!


Mr K

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

One last revision note before the test…

Here’s the last part of revision for the test coming up at the end of this week. I’ve saved the Keynote from class as a PDF, which you can view and download below.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

Welcome back from the October break! I know you’re all excited to be back in class after a week of sleeping in and lazing around with your friends and families. Hopefully, the following lab experiment will ease everyone back into the routine of school…

The processes of photosynthesis and respiration are essentially inverse reactions. Photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water as reactants to produce glucose and oxygen gas. Respiration uses glucose and oxygen gas as reactants to produce carbon dioxide and water. The only difference is that photosynthesis requires an input of light energy to drive the reaction, energy which is stored in the C-H bonds of the glucose molecules produced.

Here you will find the instructions for Lab 31C Photosynthesis-Respiration (CO2 and O2), which I originally planned for the day we return from the break. Unfortunately, most of the science department order has not yet arrived, including our new oxygen sensors, which means we don’t have enough equipment for everyone to get to do the lab. But thanks to modern technology, we can still run the lab virtually! Open the document and read the questions and extensions after the procedure and data tables. These should help guide your thinking with the photosynthesis/respiration labs you’re designing on your own.

Photosynthesis-respiration lab setup. Screen capture image from Vernier Loggerpro.

Photosynthesis-respiration lab setup. Screen capture image from Vernier LoggerPro software.


The Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles

Biogeochemical cycles trace the movement of matter and nutrients through living organisms (“bio-“), planetary systems (“geo-“) and chemical reactions (“chemical”) throughout every part of Earth. The carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle are possibly the 2 most important biogeochemical cycles on Earth. Here are a few fun videos to help you learn about these two essential cycles in our study of life and ecology.

First, a nice explanation of the carbon cycle:

Second, a little carbon music video:

Third, click on this link to BBC Bitesize Science for a very well-thought-out activity about the carbon cycle. It incorporates photosynthesis, respiration, biological molecules, and trophic levels.

Fourth, this animated tutorial found at W.H. Freeman thoroughly explains each step in the nitrogen cycle. While not super exciting, it’s well-done and includes a brief 3-question quiz.

Fifth, CrashCourse Science at YouTube offers us this entertaining and educational video about the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles (You don’t have to know about the phosphorus cycle in this class, but it’s helpful if you take more advanced biology courses):

Planning the Photosynthesis and Respiration Lab

I’ll add more later, but for the moment, please use this lab report planner to develop the investigation you will design into photosynthesis and respiration in Philodendron hastatum and Sansevieria trifasciata.

Below is a link to the planner as a Google form. When you complete the planner and click ‘submit,’ I will receive a digital version of your responses, which means I can then quickly see what you’re planning for your investigation and give you some timely feedback in class. ***Please note that you must be signed in to your IST Gmail account in order to see and use the planner form!

Click on the following link to download a MS Word version of the planner. It covers all parts of the lab report process in MYP science and is a little more detailed than the embedded Google form above. Photosynthesis-Respiration Lab Report Planner

Photosynthesis Experiment #7

Sansevieria trifasciata

Sansevieria trifasciata

This week in grade 9 science, we’ll start the process of developing your investigations into photosynthesis and respiration in Sansevieria trifasciata and Philodendron hastatum plants. The first steps of that process are a couple of preliminary experiment to establish an understanding of these essential processes.

Philodendron hastatum

Philodendron hastatum

The experiment below is the one we’ll be doing in class on Thursday and Friday of this week. Please make sure you’ve read all the way through the procedure before we start in the lab!

You will submit digital versions of the data tables and the analysis questions for homework after you’ve finished this experiment. You may send them via email.