Life Science

The lesson ideas below are engaging, project-based ideas that you can use in your classroom to fulfill the NGSS.

Here are the grades 9-12 NGSS for Biological Structures, Biological Matter and Energy, Ecoystem Relationships, Genetic Traits, Sustainability, and Evolution.


National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation hosts this website that has resources of recent scientific discoveries. These discoveries include issues with coral reefs, manipulating the genetics of locusts, and using fungi for fuel. Inquiry lessons based on these discoveries can easily be created. Have your students determine the importance of these discoveries, the implications of the conclusions, and even how they might utilize or resolve the discovery or issue.

National Science Foundation Discoveries


PBS Media Resources

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) hosts this webiste that has a large collection of video resources from the television network. These videos include topics about what is needed for life, Earth's biomes and how to make your own, the exploration of carbon as the basis for life. These videos can be used to engage the students with the topic at hand, or to push the students one step further to investigate the topic.

PBS Learning Media Resources


National Geographic

The National Geographic main website is full of information, facts, and ideas that can spark inquiry lessons. The website cited here is specifically the activities that National Geographic has created for educators. The page lists many activites across multiple disciplines that are interative, engaging, and allow for student discovery.

National Geographic Education Resources


Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes (ENSI)

ENSI is a website hosted by Indiana University. This website lots of lesson ideas and tips for Evolution, Nature of Science, Origin of Life, and Other Biology topics. They also have an index for lessons that match the ideas of the NGSS.

ENSI Website


Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE)

WISE is a site hosted by UC Berkeley. "WISE is a research-based digital learning platform that fosters exploration and science inquiry". WISE has several interactive projects that give students the oppurtunity to investigate various biology concepts.

WISE Website


Create a DNA Fingerprint

PBS has an interactive applet that takes students through a "Who took the candy" mystery. Throughout the process, students will complete a DNA Gel Electrophoresis. This is great for shools that cannot afford the equipment to run this experiment in a lab. The applet also explains the steps as it goes through the process. Lessons can be designed that have students investigate each step as they reach it to enhance learning and retnetion.

PBS DNA Electrophoresis


University of Colorado PhET Simulations

The University of Colorado in Boulder developed this webpage that offers a multitude of online simulations that depict various concepts. These simulations include Plate Tectonics, Fluid Motion, and Orbit due to Gravity. A variety of Engage, Explore, or Elaborate activities can be designed around the simulations, especially if your school does not have the materials to create the physical simulation.

PHET Simulations


American Physiological Society General Collection

The American Physiological Society has compiled a list of Life Science activities. Most of the resources are inquiry-based and fit well in most high school classrooms. Some activites featured are Got Wings - A Lesson on Motion and Mechanics, Going Green Fast- A Lesson on Photosynthesis, and Population Changes in Algae- A Lesson on Ecology.

APS Life Science Collection


UCLA Science Inquiry

The University of California LA has created a site with the mission of developing "inquiry-based activities that are affordable, and easy to implement". The lessons span across 6 grade levels and match the California Science Standards. Some examples of lessons are The Action of Antiseptics and Disinfectants, The Chromosomes of a Frimpanzee, and LIGHT….CARBON…ACTION! Carbon Cycle Lab.

UC L.A. Science Inquiry


Vernier Scientific Experiment

Vernier Scientific has posted the introduction and materials portions of the experiments in their various lab books. The books and experiments range from basic to advanced levels in multiple subjects. The full lab books can be purchased from the website, but the free previews are enough to design an inquiry-based experiment that has the same objectives.

Vernier Labs


Institute for Biology Education

The Institute for Biology Education has activities for all ages of science students. These activities are engaging and relatabe to the student's lives. Some examples are Food for Thought: Cookie Analogy, Wanted: Exotic Invasives, What is life? - Scavenger Hunt.

Biology Education Lessons


Biology Teacher Resources

This webpage is a compilation of one teacher's Biology and Chemistry lessons, notes, tips, and activities. This website is a great resource and a place for ideas to flourish. The Biology concepts are divided into 15 different sections. Not all lessons are inquiry-based but can easily be adapted.

Biology Teacher Resources


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If you have ideas and lessons ideas that you think exemplify the NGSS, please email your ideas to Dr. Ann Haley MacKenzie