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Key Concepts in Biology

The Key Concepts in Biology collection provides quick and easy access to high-quality high school biology resources. These resources have been selected by trusted educators to correlate with the BSCS Biology: A Human Approach Curriculum. This curriculum highlights nine key concepts in six units of study: Evolution, Homeostasis, Energy, Matter, and Organization, Reproduction and Inheritance in Living Systems, Growth Development, and Differentiation, and Ecology.

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  • Key Concepts in Biology
Abiotic and Biotic Factors
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This two-day lesson helps students understand abiotic and biotic factors. Once the concept has been grasped, they can trace the interactions of these factors within a system.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Richmond, Mary Janice
Date Added:
10/06/1999
Acids in Proteins
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This lesson describes how amino acids build proteins in a person's body. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks for the structure of an organism. A link to a quiz is provided at the end of the lesson to check comprehension.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/19/2012
BioEd Online: Homeostasis
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This presentation from Baylor College of Medicine's BioEd Online website provides a great introduction to the topic of homeostasis. Students will watch a presentation from Wade Haaland and view the accompanying slides. The entire program's running time is 36:19, and students may skip around the lecture by choosing from the slides on the right hand side of the page. In addition to covering the basics of homeostasis, this presentation goes into the necessary components of a homeostatic system, disruption of homeostasis and more. Flash is required to view the presentation.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lecture Notes
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Haaland, Wade
Date Added:
03/04/2009
Carrying Capacity
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This one-day activity challenges students to understand the ecological concept of carrying capacity through the physically-active process of role playing. Upon completion, students will be able to formulate and test hypotheses related to ecosystems and carrying capacity as well as describe the significance of carrying capacity.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/1992
Cell Differentiation
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In this video segment from The Secret of Life, a fertilized egg cell progresses from its earliest stages through cell differentiation and ultimately the development of an embryo, with simple but identifiable body parts including a spinal cord, a heart, and eyes. The video is accompanied by a background essay, discussion questions, and standards alignment.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
09/26/2003
Cells and Homeostasis
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This presentation from Bruce Coulter covers the basics of how cells contribute to the process of homeostasis. Sixteen slides are included and cover the transport of materials into and out of the cell, the process of homeostasis, what tissues are, plasma membranes, the fluid mosaic model, membrane proteins, cholesterol molecules, and passive and active transport. The slides also include a number of links to useful animations depicting these processes. A transcript is provided, and Flash is required to view the slides.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Coulter, Bruce
Date Added:
09/16/2010
Classification Fun
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Taxonomic information shows the evolutionary relationships between organisms. In this lesson plan, students will classify organisms by kingdom and apply their own understanding of classification to identify organisms. The students should already have an understanding of the basics of the five kindoms and the seven categories of classification. The document includes a pre-test on the topic to gauge student understanding and two classroom activities. The activity is intended for sixth grade students, and should take three to four class periods to complete.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Shubinski, Carol
Date Added:
06/11/2012
DNA Presentation
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This 28 minute presentation provides basic information on DNA. The structure of DNA as well as the four bases are discussed in detail. The process of creating proteins is also explained.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lecture Notes
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2010
The Diversity of Animals
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This presentation from Hippocampus introduces the concept of biodiversity via a series of narrated animations. The material is broken down into five sections: Animal Fundamentals, Body Plans, Protostomes and Deuterostomes and a conclusion. Students will learn both how species are different from one another and the common bonds all living things share. Students may choose to skip between sections, or explore other related concepts on the biology portion of the Hippocampus site.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Energy Cycle in Living Things
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This diagram shows how energy from the sun cycles through plants and animals. Plants create sugars through photosynthesis which animals can then use for energy. ATP, glucose, and the mitochondria are also explained. Many key terms are hyperlinked to provide more detailed definitions.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2012
Energy and Order in Biological Systems
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This lesson explains how energy is used to keep the structure of an organism maintained. Otherwise, systems naturally progress from order to disorder according to the second law of thermodynamics. Key terms are hyperlinked to provide more detailed explanations.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/19/2012
Food Chains and Food Webs
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This lesson explains how energy travels through an ecosystem. This flow can be diagrammed in food chains and food webs as shown in the lesson's illustrations. Key terms are hyperlinked so students can easily view definitions of new concepts.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/14/2012
Homeostasis And Transport
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This webpage covers the basics of homeostasis and transport of substances across cell membranes. Students will learn the role cell membranes have in the process of homeostasis and how diffusion and osmosis work. Each subsection of the webpage includes educational graphics to accompany the text.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/18/2012
Homeostasis as a Characteristic of Life
Restricted Use
Copyright Restricted
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This lesson plan serves to introduce the concept of homeostasis in the human body to younger learners. The teacher will ask students to think about body functions such as fever and metabolism and consider the effects these functions have on the internal balance of the body. Three short in-class activities are outlined, including having the students explain how a body system helps to maintain homeostasis, researching a disease and explaining how the disease impacts the body and the effect it has on homeostasis, and drawing a diagram representing the process of homeostasis.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Froust, Kathy
Patsalides, Laurie
Date Added:
11/04/2014
The Human Organism: Introduction to Human Body Systems
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This multimedia lesson from Baylor College of Medicine's BioEd Online project introduces the systems of the human body. Deanne Erdmann covers the levels of organization in the body, the types of tissue, organ systems, and the skeletal system. The total running time for the program is one hour three minutes. Real player is required to view the content.

Subject:
Life Science
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Erdmann, Deanne
Date Added:
06/19/2012
The Human Spark: Being Human
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Copyright Restricted
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This lesson plan from PBS covers a variety of biology topics related to the human as an animal. Students will view and discuss segments from the PBS program The Human Spark. In the first learning activity, the class will explore how human thought differs from that of other species. In the second learning activity, students will examine different traits and abilities, how these abilities have evolved to help humans deal with their environment, and how they distinguish humans from other animals.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.)
Date Added:
07/05/2010
Laws of Thermodynamics
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This lesson explains the two laws of thermodynamics that govern the relationship between energy and natural systems. These are the Law of Conservation of Energy and Law of Entropy. Key terms are hyperlinked so that students can easily find definitions to unfamiliar words.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Meiosis and Sexual Reproduction
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This lesson describes how meiosis makes sexual reproduction possible. Specifically, meiosis produces haploid cells and allows for genetic variation. Key terms in this lesson are hyperlinked so students can easily find definitions to new words.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2014
Metabolism - Common Metabolism Concepts
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This article explains how solar energy is the energy source for almost all living systems on earth. Photosynthesis, catabolic reactions, and anabolic reactions are briefly discussed. Lastly, common questions are answered about converting food to energy.

Subject:
Life Science
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2014
Natural Selection Simulation
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This classroom activity introduces the concept of natural selection and how it relates to evolution. Students will use a variety of utensils including clothespins, tweezers and spoons to mimic animals with differently shaped mouths. The class will go through several trials, picking up at least twenty beans in one minute with their assigned utensil. If they fail to do so, their creature has died, demonstrating what happens to animals that cannot compete in the wild. Several discussion questions are included along with the activity.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
05/29/2012
Photosynthesis
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This 13 minute lecture discusses how plants convert sunlight into carbohydrates through photosynthesis. The chemical equations and reactions involved in this process are explained in depth including light and dark reactions.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Lecture Notes
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2010
Producers, Consumers, Decomposers
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Educational Use
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In this three part lesson, students gather evidence to understand how organisms in an ecosystem are interconnected by their need for energy. Lesson components include three videos, an optional activity, and two handouts. Details procedures and standards alignment are also included.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2003
The Punnett Square
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This lesson provides an introduction to Punnett Squares. Key terms are hyperlinked so that students can easily bring up definitions to unfamiliar words. Graphics further explain the concepts in the lesson.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lecture Notes
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/04/2012
Punnett Square Case Study
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In this lesson, students will gain experience using Punnett Squares. The case study determines the probability of children having freckles from a freckled father and non-freckled mother. Illustrations guide each step of the case study.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Case Study
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2014
Reproductive Strategies
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Students work in pairs to compare five aspects of an organism that reproduces sexually with one that reproduces asexually. A variety of organisms are profiled including sand scorpions, red kangaroos, and meadow garlic. As a class, students share their comparisons and generate a list of general characteristics for each mode of reproduction, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both. References are included for information on reproduction of various organisms.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
11/04/2008
Requirements for Life - Energy
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This short lesson explains why energy is required for all living things. Types of energy are discussed and an illustration shows examples of the different types of energy. Key terms are hyperlinked so students can easily view definitions to unfamiliar words.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Requirements for Life - Matter
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This short lesson explains that matter is required for all living things. An accompanying illustration shows how a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made of matter. Key terms are hyperlinked so students can easily view definitions of unfamiliar terms.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Sizing Up Species
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This lesson plan introduces students to taxonomy. Students will learn how evolutionary relationships are used to classify similar organisms, how species are defined, all about scientific names and more. The class will classify organisms using a classification flow chart, play a game to see how many species may exist within different groups of organisms and create graphs to compare the number of species, both worldwide and statewide, in different groups of organisms. The lesson should take about two class periods to complete.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Trophic Levels
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This lesson explains how energy cycles in biological communities through the different trophic levels. These include producers, consumers, and decomposers. Key terms are hyperlinked so that students can easily find definitions to unfamiliar words.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
Trophic Pyramids
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This lesson shows how to use a trophic pyramid to investigate the structure and matter flow of an ecosystem. A trophic pyramid is made up of producers, consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. Key terms are hyperlinked so students can easily find definitions to unfamiliar words.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Date Added:
06/11/2012
The Web of Life
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This lesson plan helps students understand the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem through five activities. From these activities, students will understand that an animal's needs determine its preferred habitat, the concept of ecosystems and interdependence, and that interrelating communities are components of an ecosystem.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
NSDL Staff
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Author:
Duane Friend
Date Added:
11/04/2014