Tag Archives: science skills


Source: WikiJournal of Science

I’ve created this site for my students as well as teachers and learners of science around the world. My intention is to share engaging content-specific resources as well as general guidance for science learning and scientific communication. The tabs across the top of the page take you to pages dedicated to IB Biology, IB Environmental Systems and Societies, and MYP Integrated Sciences. Much of the content on those pages also applies to science classes which are not a part of the International Baccalaureate Organization structure, though the assessment criteria are specific to the IBO’s Diploma Program and the Middle Years Program.

Below, you’ll find a few resources which I think are some of the most valuable for my students, and which I want them to come back to regularly. This is where you’ll find guidance on writing lab reports, creating data tables and graphs for data analysis, and developing presentations to effectively communicate about science. You’ll also find a list of digital resources for science, which I update regularly as I unearth new tools that I think will benefit students’ learning, as well as previous blog entries (from the days when I had more time to write).

How to Write MYP Science Reports

How to Create Scientific Tables and Graphs

How to Effectively Communicate Scientific Knowledge

Digital Resources for Science

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

Unit conversions and scientific graphs

Sorry I can’t be in class today, kids – I know you’re disappointed to have a cover teacher – so here’s the low-down on what you need to do while I’m out:

  1. Review the homework problems to make sure you have the correct answers and understand the process. The process is more important than the answers.
  2. Watch the dimensional analysis video linked here, then complete the quiz on that website to verify you understand how to do dimensional analysis.
  3. Go through my zombie presentation – yes, zombies do in fact know how to do dimensional analysis – and work all the practice problems in the presentation. You may do this with a partner if you want, and I’ll go over the answers with you next lesson.
  4. Review the document titled, “How to create graphs for science” and create a bullet-point list of all the required parts of a scientific graph. I’ll check this list as another homework check next lesson.

Here’s the zombie presentation:

Here’s the “How to create graphs for science” document in a viewing window:

Dimensional Analysis

Here are some tools to help you through the Measurements in Science homework assignment.

The video linked here methodically takes you through the dimensional analysis process, and it includes a quiz so that you can check your understanding.

This page has a lot of practice problems worked out for you, and it explains the process in easy-to-understand language.

Here’s the presentation we’ll use in class. Watch it. Study it. Master it.

Oh, and here’s another link that may be helpful. From Texas A+M University.


Making Scientific Data Tables

ImageData tables are just that: tables of your results. Tables should be organized before you start your experiment, so that you can concentrate on your method instead of scrambling to organize your information while you work. Trust me on this: you will discover that your experiments go more smoothly if you come to class with your data tables set up, so that all you have to do is write the numbers in the right place.
Some rules for data tables included in your lab reports:

  1. Tables need a title! The title should identify what information is in the table.
  2. All columns should be labeled and include the units of measurement at the top.
  3. Use only numbers in the cells. (If you include the units as well, computers won’t read them as numbers, and they won’t be able to plot them on a graph for you.)
  4. Use the same number of decimal places in every measurement in a column.
  5. Center your numbers both vertically and horizontally to make the table easier to read.

Grade 9 Science Skills Test Coming Up!

Your first unit test is rapidly approaching! It will be a 5-part test on Friday 6 September (9A and 9C) and Monday 9 September (9B). Here are the 5 sections of the test:

  1. Common equipment – identify by name and use
  2. Lab safety rules – explain them
  3. Unit conversion and dimensional analysis – like the HW assignment
  4. Demonstrate use of graduated cylinder, electronic balance, and Bunsen burner
  5. Create a data table and a graph from given raw data

Please note that part 4 is a demonstration stage. Each student will be called to the central demo table, where I will observe your skills using a graduated cylinder, electronic balance, and Bunsen burner. You will have exactly 2 minutes to accomplish 3 tasks with these tools, so please make sure you are comfortable using them!

The test will be scored under Criterion C (Scientific Knowledge) and Criterion F (Attitudes in Science).