Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science
What Is Life? Bottle Biology
Bottle Biology Spotlight
There are four Bottle Biology systems to choose from. Each has been designed to provide application and extension activities for the topics being addressed in the sequential pairs of sessions that compose the course.
The “TerrAqua Column” has been designed as a companion to Sessions 1 and 2 — reinforcing concepts related to defining life and classifying living things. Sessions 3 and 4 focus upon animal and plant life cycles. The “Brassica and Butterfly System” allows firsthand experience with plant and animal life cycles that are intertwined. The basics of biological evolution are addressed in Sessions 5 and 6. Using the “Field Population System,” you can do an experiment that demonstrates how evolution works. Sessions 7 and 8 explore interdependence in the living world. The “EcoColumn” offers a way of exploring large-scale concepts at a “bottle-sized” scale.
During the first two weeks of your course, you should choose one of the systems, assemble the necessary bottle materials, construct the system involved, gather the living and habitat materials you’ll need, and stock your system. By the end of the second week, your system should be stocked and ready to go.
After that, you should select from the activities suggested for each system on the Web site. At the Web site, you can share your experiences with your colleagues as you explore with your own Bottle Biology system.
Life Science has also set up these same systems and done some of the suggested activities. You can track our progress and compare it to your own. We’ll make suggestions called “Bottle Biology Spotlights” that are relevant to each session.
Bottle Biology Spotlight: Session 1
|Is It Alive?
Note: Bottle Biology activities have been designed to occur over a six-week study period, once a system has been stocked. This allows two weeks over an eight-week period for start-up activities. Be aware that your Life Science course may occur over a different period of time—Bottle Biology can be modified to fit your course.
Session 1 What Is Life?
What distinguishes living things from dead and nonliving things? No single characteristic is enough to define what is meant by "life." In this session, five characteristics are introduced as unifying themes in the living world.
Session 2 Classifying Living Things
How can we make sense of the living world? During this session, a systematic approach to biological classification is introduced as a starting point for understanding the nature of the remarkable diversity of life on Earth.
Session 3 Animal Life Cycles
One characteristic of all life forms is a life cycle — from reproduction in one generation to reproduction in the next. This session introduces life cycles by focusing on continuity of life in the Animal Kingdom. In addition to considering what aspects of life cycles can be observed directly, the underlying role of DNA as the hereditary material is explored.
Session 4 Plant Life Cycles
What is a plant? One distinguishing feature of members of the Plant Kingdom is their life cycle. In this session, flowering plants serve as examples for studying the plant life cycle by considering the roles of seeds, flowers, and fruits. A comparison to animal life cycles reveals some surprising similarities and intriguing differences.
Session 5 Variation, Adaptation, and Natural Selection
What causes variation among a population of living things? How can variation in one generation influence the next generation? In this session, variation in a population will be examined as the "raw material" upon which natural selection acts.
Sessions 6 Evolution and the Tree of Life
Why are there so many different kinds of living things? Comparing species that exist today reveals a lot about their relationships to one another and provides evidence of common origins. This session explores the theory of evolution: change in species over time.
Session 7 Energy Flow in Communities
Communities are populations of organisms that live and interact together. The structure of a community is defined by food web interactions. The process of energy flow is the focus of this session as the interactions between producers, consumers, and decomposers are examined.
Session 8 Material Cycles in Ecosystems
Studying an ecosystem involves looking at interactions between living things as well as the nonliving environment that surrounds them. Life depends upon the nonliving world for habitat, as well as energy and materials. In this session, material cycles will be explored as critical processes that sustain life in an ecosystem.