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
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
Evolution 101
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What is evolution and how does it work? Evolution 101 provides the nuts-and-bolts on the patterns and mechanisms of evolution. You can explore the following sections: An Introduction to Evolution (evolution briefly defined and explained); The History of Life: looking at the patterns (how does evolution lead to the tree of life?); Mechanisms - The Processes of Evolution (how does evolution work?); Microevolution (how does evolution work on a small scale?); Speciation (what are species anyway, and how do new ones evolve?); Macroevolution (how does evolution work on a grand scale?); and The Big Issues (what are some of the big questions that evolutionary biologists are trying to answer?)

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Full Course
Reading
Student Guide
Provider:
National Center For Science Education
NSDL Staff
University of California Museum of Paleontology
Provider Set:
Key Concepts in Biology
Understanding Evolution
Date Added:
11/04/2004
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
Generations of Traits
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In this hands-on activity, learners track and record the passage of colored "pompom traits" through three generations of gingerbread people. In doing so, learners discover that traits are passed from parents to offspring and that siblings may or may not receive the same traits from their parents. This guide includes activity sheets in English and Spanish.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Mathematics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Simulation
Provider:
Genetic Science Learning Center
NSDL Staff
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
Teach.Genetics
Key Concepts in Biology
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
April Mitchell
Harmony Starr
Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Genetic Services Branch and the March of Dimes
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Precollege Science Education Initiative for Biomedical Research Institutions Award
Molly Malone
University of Utah
Date Added:
11/04/2006
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
Restricted Use
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