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Life Science


The BEETLEs project is an excellent resource for activities, lessons, and curriculum that explore the natural world. Designed for K-12 and informal science spaces, content focuses on the natural world and how humans understand it.

Gender Inclusive Biology

This website is a collection of lesson materials, teaching guides, and other resources for biology teachers with a focus on gender inclusion as part of the Next Generation Science Standards. The audience is primarily K-12 teachers, but touches on many of the topics addressed GED and HSE science classes.

National Geographic: Adaptations

This activity combines videos, images, and readings to explore the evolution of flight and gliding in lizard species. Students will compare and contrast images and videos of fossils of flying dinosaurs such as Pterosaurs with current species of lizards that use appendages to glide through their habitat. Students will look at similarities and differences between species over time, with the ultimate goal of understanding how animals adapt within their environment. It is a strong lesson that can introduce concepts of evolution and natural selection.

National Geographic: Antibiotic Resistance is Beefing Up

This is a leveled reading for 3-12th grade and discusses the genetic resistance of bacteria and its impact on public health. The reading introduces the concept of genetic resistance, which is a common topic on the GED/HiSET exams.

Nature for New Minnesotans – Fishing and Mercury Pollution: Public Health

This lesson provides reading, writing, and speaking opportunities for students to learn about mercury in fish and its impact on public health. With a focus on Minnesota, the lesson first asks students to share their own experiences with warnings around fish consumption. After reviewing vocabulary, a reading on the dangers of mercury is provided, as well as an online activity that uses the Minnesota Department of Health website to determine safe consumption limits for different groups of people. A hands-on extension activity is included to help students understand the phenomenon of bioaccumulation and biomagnification in fish.

Nature for New Minnesotans – Plants in Minnesota

This curriculum, piloted by Nature for New Minnesotans and University of Minnesota Extension, provides learners with an overview of Minnesota's edible and dangerous plants. The unit was designed for adult EL learners that are low beginner-intermediate, and contains lessons with reading, speaking, and writing opportunities. Science topics covered include photosynthesis, plant nutrients, and invasive species. Informational cards on common edible and dangerous plants in Minnesota are also included.

PhET – Biology

PhET provides a suite of free, online simulations in a variety of different science disciplines. There are also links to additional resources such as lesson plans and student worksheets. The Natural Selection simulation offers students an opportunity to explore concepts of evolution, natural selection, extinction, and the impact of genetic mutations on a population.

The Biology Corner

The Biology Corner is a resource site for introductory to more advanced levels in biology. Student handouts, quizzes, and PowerPoint presentations reinforce science concepts. Simple lab investigations give students the opportunity to observe, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions, all skills for scientific thinking.

The Scientific Method in Vaccine History

This selection of readings outlines the steps of the scientific method in the context of the history of vaccines. This resource is excellent for students practicing reading complex scientific texts and also is a way to introduce the scientific method to students. This selection of readings is part of a larger website documenting the history of vaccines. Included in this website is a timeline of vaccine history, a conversation about the ethics of vaccines, and common misconceptions about vaccines.

Water: An ESL Curriculum for Adults

This five lesson curriculum was developed by the University of California Extension program. It was designed explicitly for adult EL students and contains simultaneous content and language instruction. The lessons focus on watersheds, water quality, and the water cycle in Los Angeles, CA. Each lesson contains readings, vocabulary, and grammar lessons.

What Caused the Tiger Salamanders to Disappear

This unit focuses on the disappearance of tiger salamanders from a vernal pool (where salamanders breed). This curriculum, originally adapted for EL learners at a 5th grade reading level, has nine weeks of life science curriculum material. The curriculum was developed by the NYU SAIL research lab, who was awarded a design badge by the Next Generation Science Standards for high quality curricula. It has activities that are designed to cultivate scientific literacy skills alongside building content.