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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

System: Activity:
TerrAqua 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.

Series Directory

Essential Science for Teachers: Life Science


Produced by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 2003.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-730-4