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                                                                Science-6
 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    35. Compare the distinguishing characteristics of organisms.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, III-1



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to classify animals into major categories of
    vertebrates and invertebrates by their characteristics.

    The animal kingdom includes a large variety of animals, all of which are
    classified as animals because of similarities in their structures. The two
    major groups of the animal kingdom are vertebrates (animals with backbones)
    and invertebrates (animals without backbones). Scientists have classified
    varied species of animals living in all parts of the world from the bottom of the
    ocean to the top of mountains. About 95 percent of the known species of
    animals are invertebrates.

    In this activity, students classify animals as vertebrates or invertebrates and
    discuss differences between the groups. A large bulletin board will be needed
    for displaying activity cards. The board can be divided into two parts labeled
    VERTEBRATES and INVERTEBRATES. The activity will require two class
    periods. Lesson One includes discussion, brainstorming, classifying, and
    researching. Lesson Two allows time for students to complete research and
    concludes with a “Who Am I?” game.

    Before beginning the activity, collect various reference materials such as
    encyclopedias, textbooks, and magazines.




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IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    Two class periods



 V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Bulletin board
    Crayons
    Encyclopedias and other reference materials and/or computer
    Magazines
    Containers for collecting index cards labeled “VERTEBRATES,”
         “INVERTEBRATES,” and “WHO AM I?” game
    3” x 5” index cards (six per student)



VI. ACTIVITY “You’re a What?”

    Day One

    1. Invite students to tell their definitions of some animals. After discussing
       several definitions, remind students that they may quickly think of animals
       such as dogs, cats, frogs, or horses, but that many other less common
       animals should also be considered, such as sponges, clams, earthworms, or
       fleas. Remind students, also, that animals exist in the ocean as well as on
       land.

   2. Direct each student to list on a sheet of paper as many kinds of animals as
      he or she can. Have each student try to think of unusual animals that no
      one else would list. Have students list only real animals.

   3. Allow five to ten minutes for students to list animals.

   4. After discussing the types of animals that students have listed, have
      students choose two of their most unusual animals to include on a class list.




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5. Ask a selected number of students to contribute to the class list. (Write
   all contributions on the chalkboard, but do not duplicate students’ answers.)

6. Have students categorize the animals listed as vertebrates or
   invertebrates. List answers in two columns on the chalkboard. If one list
   is noticeably shorter than the other, have students brainstorm to think of
   additional animals to add to the shorter list.

7. Distribute two index cards to each student. Assign each student the task
   of printing the name of one animal on each index card. (Assign two animal
   names to each student.) As cards are completed, have students place them
   in one of the two containers labeled VERTEBRATES and INVERTEBRATES.

8. Shuffle the cards in both containers, and allow students to draw a card
   from each container.

9. Distribute four additional index cards to each student.

10. Explain to the class that they are about to do a research assignment, the
    results of which will create a bulletin board and a “Who Am I?” game for
    the class to play. Direct students to the four index cards, and explain that
    one is to be an information card (Examples: where the animal lives, what it
    eats, what it looks like) and one a picture card for each animal they
    research with the animal’s name on the back. (Remind students that they
    will research two animals.)

11. Review the assignment with students, and have them begin researching
    their two animals.

12. Carefully monitor students’ work during the research activity.

13. Conclude the first lesson. Explain that the second lesson will be completed
    on the following day.




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Day Two

1. Have students complete their research assignment and place two picture
   cards on the chalkboard and two information cards in the game box.

2. Divide the class into two teams to begin the second lesson of this activity.
   Have the teams play the game “Who Am I?” by allowing teams to take turns.

3. Draw a card from the game box and read the animal characteristics aloud to
   the class. Have students match the characteristics with the appropriate
   picture card on the bulletin board. Have students check the backs of the
   picture cards for verification of answers. Return cards incorrectly
   identified to the game box.




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    35. Compare the distinguishing characteristics of organisms.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, III-3



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to observe the distinguishing characteristics of
    grasshoppers or crickets and to describe a relationship between structure and
    function in anatomical features.

    Body parts help animals meet their needs. Dragonflies, for example, have
    compound eyes with thousands of individual lenses in each eye. Rabbits and
    mice have eyes that are set on both sides of their heads. This gives them a
    wider range of vision. In this activity, students will observe, handle, and
    describe live grasshoppers or crickets. They will find out that these insects
    have specialized body parts to meet their needs. This activity needs to be
    completed outdoors.

    Note: Caution students about harming the grasshoppers or crickets.

IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    45 minutes




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 V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Per group:

    Plastic container
    Hand lens
    Live adult grasshoppers or crickets (adults will have wings) put into container
    Chalkboard
    OBSERVATION SHEET (See handout provided.)
    Measuring tape
    Leaf lettuce



VI. ACTIVITY “Grasshoppers”

    1. Divide the class into pairs of students.

    2. Distribute the necessary materials to each pair of students.

    3. Tell students they are going to assume the role of scientists (wildlife
       biologists), carefully observing wildlife without harming it.

    4. Distribute one OBSERVATION SHEET to each pair of students.

    5. Tell each pair of students to share with the class some observations they
       noted about their grasshoppers.

    Notes: Some students may ask to take their grasshoppers home as pets. Talk
           about how hard it would be for a grasshopper to live in captivity.
           Discuss how much space a grasshopper needs to live.

    Extension Activity:

    Students may be directed to find out what contributions grasshoppers make to
    ecological systems and what animals use grasshoppers as food.




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                 OBSERVATION SHEET
                     Grasshoppers
1. Observe your grasshopper (or cricket) carefully and draw a picture of your
   insect in the box.




2. Find your grasshopper’s legs. How many does it have? Are they alike or
   different? Why?




3. Find the wings. How many are there?




4. Find the head. How many eyes do you see? Why do you think
   grasshoppers have so many eyes?




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5. Do you see a mouth? Does the grasshopper or cricket have lips? Try to
   feed your grasshopper a lettuce leaf. Describe how the mouthparts move.




6. Where are the antennae? Observe them carefully with your hand lens.
   Draw what you see. Why do you think a grasshopper needs antennae?




7. Many animals must protect themselves from being eaten. Describe
   something about the grasshopper’s body that would help the grasshopper
   protect itself from being caught and eaten.




8. Without harming your grasshopper, place it on the ground and make it jump.
   (It may fly instead!) Follow your insect and make it jump several times.
   Does it hop the same distance each time? Measure the distance of two
   hops. Hop 1. Hop 2. Record below.

   Hop 1.                      Hop 2.




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                                                                Science-6
 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    35. Compare the distinguishing characteristics of organisms.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARD AND
    OBJECTIVE

    IV-1



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to discuss the role of genes that pass on
    characteristics of parents to offspring.

    Genes are structures on a chromosome that determine the traits
    (characteristics) of a living thing. Genetics, the study of how traits are
    passed from parents to offspring, is a study of genes. Each trait has two
    genes representing it, and these genes are located opposite each other on
    chromosomes that make a pair. After a study about genes, the students will
    conduct a genetic project to determine if all corn seeds have genes that will
    enable them to grow into green plants.

    Before this activity is presented, genetic corn seeds, 3:1 green to albino ratio,
    should be ordered from a scientific supplier. The observation chart should be
    written on the chalkboard prior to the class period.




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IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    One class period (45 minutes)
    Ten minute sessions for next seven days



 V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Per group:

    Corn seeds (20)
    Scissors
    Hand lens
    Paper towels
    Water
    Dropper
    Marking pencil
    Large petri dish, with lid (or jars with lids placed on their sides)
    OBSERVATION CHART (See handout provided.)



VI. ACTIVITY “Basic Structures of Life”

    Day One

    1. Assign students to groups. Give each group 20 corn seeds, scissors, hand
       lens, paper towels, a dropper, a marking pen, and a dish with a lid.

    2. Have each student copy the chart from the chalkboard to use for recording
       his or her observations.




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                  OBSERVATION CHART

Day               Corn Seeds          Number with         Number with
                   Sprouted           White Leaves        Green Leaves

1             0                   0                   0



2             4                   1                   3



3             7                   2                   5



4



5



6



7



3. Discuss with students the role of the genes that pass on characteristics of
   the parent. Then ask students to examine the seeds carefully with a hand
   lens to determine which seeds will grow into green plants and which will
   grow into white plants.

4. Direct each group to use the scissors to cut four thicknesses of paper
   towels to fit the bottom of the petri dish.

5. Have each group put the paper towels in the petri dish and use the dropper
   to soak the paper towels with water.




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6. Have each group place the seeds on the paper towels and cover the dish.

7. Direct each group to label the dish with individual names or with a group
   name and place the dish where it will receive light.

Days Two through Seven

8. Have each group check the dish daily for seven days. Direct the students
   to use the observation chart to record the color of leaves as they begin to
   appear. (An example is given.)

9. Instruct students to add more water if the paper towels become dry.

10. After students have recorded their observations for one week, discuss with
    students the results, making connections between the genetics of plants and
    their structures.

Extension Activities:

 1. Have students bring pictures of themselves and their parents and discuss
    the traits that have been passed from parents to offspring.

2. Visit a farm with breeding stock, preferably cattle, and have students
   examine and compare the characteristics of parents and offspring.

3. Breed mice or other small animals in the classroom to observe and discuss
   the characteristics of parents and offspring.




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    37. Recognize the effects of geography on the diversity of flora and fauna.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, III-2



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to explain how plants are adapted to retaining
    the water they need.

    All plants need water. Some plants live completely under water and some live
    where there is almost no water. Each kind of plant has behaviors and
    structures that help it survive in its own environment. These are called
    adaptations. Many plants have adaptations to conserve the water they take in.
    Plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen and water vapor through the
    stomata on the underside of the leaf. Plants lose a great deal of water
    through their stomata.

    During the winter, water in the soil may be frozen. Many trees lose their
    leaves, which allows them to overcome this lack of water. The deciduous trees
    that drop their leaves in the fall reduce water loss through the stomata.
    These trees go into a resting time and do not need as much water.

    Many conifers have needlelike leaves which have such a small surface that it is
    difficult for water to evaporate. Cactus spines also have a waxy coating that
    can seal in moisture. Succulents such as the jade plant and aloe plant usually
    live in dry places. After a rain, the leaves swell with water that is used slowly.




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IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    This lesson should be done in two sessions three days apart.

    Day One: 20 minutes
    Day Two: 20 minutes



V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Per group:

    Three leaves (one from a broad-leaved plant such as an oak, maple, or
       sweet gum; one from a succulent such as a jade plant or aloe; one
       from a needle-leafed tree such as a pine tree)
    Pencils
    Hand lens
    Paper towel
    Metric ruler
    Resource books on plants
    Hand-held microscopes, if available
    OBSERVATION SHEET -- one per student (See handout provided.)



VI. ACTIVITY “Leaves”

    1. Divide the class into groups of four students. Give each student an
       OBSERVATION SHEET.

    2. Distribute materials to each group.

    3. Tell students to work with their groups to complete the OBSERVATION
       SHEETS.

    4. Discuss the findings of each group.

    5. Record common findings on a class chart.




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Extension Activities:

1. Show students a cross section of a leaf. Guide students to make colored
   drawings of the cross sections. Make sure they include a waxy layer for
   the succulent and conifer leaves. Discuss how the waxy layer helps to keep
   water in the leaf.

2. Have students “design” their own plants. Divide the class into groups of
   four and assign each group a different environment. Students can use
   craft materials to create a model of a plant that could survive in their
   particular environment.




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                        OBSERVATION SHEET

Day One:

1. Use the resource books to determine the plant from which your three leaves
   came. Record the type of plant below.

   Leaf A                       Leaf B                  Leaf C

2. Observe the leaves with your hand lens. Notice the shape of each leaf. Draw
   the leaves in the space provided.




            Leaf A                Leaf B                   Leaf C


3. Use a metric ruler to measure the approximate width, length, and thickness of
   each leaf. Record your findings.


                        Width               Length           Thickness

       Leaf A


       Leaf B


       Leaf C




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4. Observe all surfaces of each leaf with a hand lens or microscope. Does the leaf
   have small holes, or pores? Is there a covering on the leaf? Record your
   observations.




5. Put your leaves on a paper towel. Keep the leaves in a sunny spot for three days.
   Which leaf do you think will show the greatest change from drying out?




Day Two:

1. Which leaf showed the most drying over the three days?




   Can you hypothesize why?




2. Which of your leaves has a waxy coating?




   What is the purpose of this coating?




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3. If you could measure the amount of water in each leaf, which do you think would
   have the most?




   Why?




4. Why do you think pine tree needles can live through the winter when the ground
   water is frozen?




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    38. Understand the cell theory.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, V-1



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to explore the process of diffusion and osmosis.

    Substances such as food, oxygen, water, and other materials are able to go into
    and out of a cell. These materials can go in and out of the cell by a process
    called diffusion. Diffusion is the movement of molecules from an area of
    higher concentration to an area of lesser concentration. The process
    continues to occur until the areas are equalized.

    Water is the most important substance that goes into and out of a cell.
    Water can go through the cell membrane by a special type of diffusion called
    osmosis. Osmosis can cause a cell to swell or shrink, depending on the amount
    of water around the cells. Molecules pass through semipermeable membranes
    that allow water and other small molecules such as sugar to move through them.
    Proteins and other large molecules must pass through the cell membrane by
    another method.



IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    Four class periods (15 minutes each)




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 V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Per group:

    Raw egg
    Vinegar
    Light Karo syrup
    Distilled water
    Three wide mouth jars with lids
    Wax pencil
    OBSERVATION SHEET (See handout provided.)
    Graduated cylinder



VI. ACTIVITY “Egg Centric Osmosis”

    Day One

    1. Distribute materials to groups of students.

    2. Have students label glass jars with the wax pencil. Write “Vinegar” on one
       jar, “Syrup” on the second jar, and “Water” on the third.

    3. Instruct students to put 200 ml of vinegar in the jar labeled “Vinegar.”
       Place an uncooked egg with shell into the vinegar. Emphasize to students
       that the egg needs to be completely covered.

    4. Tell students to tightly secure a lid on the jar.

    Day Two

    1. Instruct students to put 200 ml of syrup in the jar labeled “Syrup.”

    2. Tell students to remove the egg from the vinegar and carefully rinse with
       water. Make observations concerning any changes in the egg and record
       observations on the OBSERVATION SHEET. (Caution: Handle the egg
       gently to avoid puncturing the membrane.)




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3. Have students place the egg into the jar of syrup.

4. Tell students to tightly secure the lid on the jar.

5. Direct students to measure the amount of vinegar remaining in the vinegar
   jar and write the amount in the table on the OBSERVATION SHEET.

Day Three

1. Instruct students to put 200 ml of distilled water in the jar labeled
   “Water.”

2. Tell students to remove the egg from the jar of syrup and carefully rinse
   with water. Make observations concerning any changes in the egg and
   record the observations on the OBSERVATION SHEET.

3. Have students place the egg into the jar of distilled water for one day.

4. Tell students to tightly secure a lid on the jar.

5. Direct students to measure the amount of syrup that remains in the syrup
   jar. Write the amount in the table on the OBSERVATION SHEET.

Day Four

1. Tell students to remove the egg from the distilled water. Make
   observations concerning any changes in the egg and record the observations
   on the OBSERVATION SHEET.

2. Direct students to measure the amount of water remaining in the jar.
   Write the amount in the table on the OBSERVATION SHEET.

3. Ask students within their groups to hypothesize an answer for the
   questions on the OBSERVATION SHEET. Then discuss all answers as a
   class.




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                        OBSERVATION SHEET
         Complete the following table as you observe changes in the egg.

                            RESULT OF OSMOSIS

                       Amount of liquid present:
                         Before         After
            Jar         the egg        the egg             Observations

          Vinegar




           Syrup




           Water




Hypothesize an answer for each of the following questions:

1. The movement of water from a greater concentration to a lesser concentration is
   called                                 .

2. Why does the water move out of the egg when it is placed in the Karo syrup?




3. A red blood cell is more delicate than an egg. What do you think could happen to
   a blood cell if it is placed in distilled water?




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARDS

    38. Understand the cell theory.

    39. Compare structure and function of plant and animal cells.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, V-2



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to construct a model of mitosis and meiosis and
    to understand cell theory.

    Every living thing is made of one or more cells produced from an already
    existing cell. New cells are formed by cell division. There are two main types
    of cell division: mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is simple cell division. In
    mitosis, cell parts are copied and the cell divides, resulting in two identical cells
    having the same number of chromosomes. Meiosis is a special type of cell
    division in which the sex cells (sperm and egg cells) are formed. A cell that
    forms sex cells divides two times, but the chromosomes only copy once. Sex
    cells, therefore, have only one-half the number of chromosomes of the original
    cell.



IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    Three class periods (45 minutes each)




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 V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Microscope
    Prepared slides of mitosis (onion root tip) and meiosis
    String (30 cm)
    Large sheet of paper
    Scissors
    Red and black yarn (15 cm each)
    Transparent tape
    Resource books
    Large charts of stages of mitosis and meiosis

    Per student:

    MITOSIS (See handout provided.)
    MEIOSIS (See handout provided.)
    COMPARISON (See handout provided.)
    ORDERING MITOSIS (See handout provided.)
    MEIOSIS CHART (See handout provided.)



VI. ACTIVITY “Divide and Multiply”

                               Part A: Mitosis

    Day One: Microscopic Examination of Stages of Mitosis (If no microscopes
    or slides are available, this part could be skipped.)

       1. Draw stages of mitosis on the board.

       2. Assign students to groups of three or four. Give each group a
          microscope and a prepared slide of onion root tip (stages of mitosis).

       3. Instruct students to observe the slide on low power, then on high power.
          Direct students to locate the stages of mitosis on the large display
          chart.




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  4. Have students draw and label on their papers each observed stage of
     mitosis.

Day Two: Model of Mitosis

  1. Give each student one piece of string 30 centimeters long, one large
     sheet of paper, scissors, red and black yarn, and transparent tape.

  2. Distribute handouts of MITOSIS.

  3. Instruct each student to use the string to form a circle on the sheet of
     paper. Tell each student to cut two pieces of red yarn and two pieces
     of black yarn (each three centimeters) and place them together inside
     the circle. Have the students sketch this stage on their papers and
     label the nuclear membrane (string) and the chromosomes (yarn).

                                  STRING (nuclear membrane)


                                  YARN (chromosomes)



  4. Have students remove the string from the paper and set it aside.




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5. Tell students to cut two additional pieces of red yarn (each three
   centimeters) and tape the two red pieces of yarn together to represent
   a pair of doubled chromosomes. Have students repeat this with the
   other two pieces of red yarn. Then repeat with the black yarn.
   Instruct students to place the yarn bundles in a row down the middle of
   the page.




                                 YARN (Duplicated chromosomes)




   Have students sketch this stage on their papers and label the duplicated
   chromosomes.

6. Instruct students to remove the yarn bundles from the paper and cut
   the tape to separate the doubled red and black yarns. Have the
   students put one piece of yarn from each bundle at opposite ends of
   their papers.




   Have students sketch this stage on their papers and label the
   chromosomes.




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  7. Tell students to cut the string in half and use each half to make a circle
     on their papers around each group of red and black yarn. Instruct
     students to tape the strings and pieces of yarn to their papers and cut
     the papers in half.




     Have the students sketch this stage on their papers and label the
     nucleus membranes and chromosomes.

  8. Have students complete the ORDERING MITOSIS handout.

                              Part B: Meiosis

Day Three: Microscopic Examination of Stages of Meiosis (If microscopes
or slides are not available, skip to #6.)

  1. Display a chart of meiosis.

  2. Use the MEIOSIS CHART and MEIOSIS handout that follow this
     activity to discuss with students the formation of the sex cells.

  3. Assign students to groups. Give each group a microscope and a prepared
     slide of the stages of meiosis.

  4. Have students observe the slides on low power, then on high power.
     Direct students to locate the stages of meiosis on the large display
     chart.

  5. Have students draw and label each observed stage of meiosis on their
     papers.

  6. Distribute MEIOSIS handout.




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7. Discuss with students the difference between the two types of cell
   division.

8. Instruct students (in groups) to repeat the yarn and string activity,
   making the necessary changes that would result in half the number of
   chromosomes. Do not tell students how to conduct the activity.
   Allow them to experiment.

9. When all groups have finished the sketches, have each group present
   its results to the class.

10. Have students fill out the MEIOSIS CHART.

11. Distribute the COMPARISON handout and review both mitosis and
    meiosis. Review differences between the two.




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                                MITOSIS
                                 Handout
Stage 1
Animal Cell (parent
cell) with two
chromosomes and
centriole
duplicated




                          (Stage 1)

Stage 2                                              (Stage 2)
Centrioles move to
opposite ends of
the cell.
Duplicated
chromosomes line
up in center of cell.

                          (Stage 2)
Stage 3
Chromatids                                           (Stage 3)
separate, move to
opposite ends of a
cell, and become new
chromosomes.


Stage 4
Each new daughter
cell receives           (Stage 3)
identical
chromosomes.
                                                        (Stage 4)
Each cell is an
exact duplicate of
parent.




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                                                                                   MEIOSIS
                                                                                   Handout

                                              MEIOSIS I                                                         MEIOSIS II




Pathways for Learning: K-6
                             Cell with four     Chromosomes          Each of two new      Each daughter
                                                                     cells receives one                    In the second
                             chromosomes        duplicate; similar                        cell receives
                                                                     member of each                        division, one of each
                                                chromosomes pair                          one
                                                                     original pair.                        sister chromatids
                                                up.                                       chromosome
                                                                     Each member                           goes to each new
                                                                                          made up of two
                                                                     consists of two                       daughter cell, thus
                                                                                          sister
                                                                     chromatids.                           producing four sex
                                                                                          chromatids.
                                                                                                           cells.
                                                                                                                                   Science-6




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COMPARISON
  Handout




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                        ORDERING MITOSIS
                             Handout

Directions: Number the drawings according to which comes first, second, third, and
            fourth in mitosis.


                                           STRING (nuclear membrane)


                                           YARN (chromosomes)




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                            MEIOSIS CHART

The following chart lists some plants and animals. In some cases, the number of
chromosomes found in the body cells is given. In other cases, the number of
chromosomes found in the reproductive cells is given. Fill in the missing data. Find
out about the chromosome numbers in other organisms and add this data to the
chart.



       Organism                Number of                  Number of
                           Chromosomes in Body        Chromosomes in Sex
                                  Cells                      Cells

       Fruit fly                     8
      Garden pea                                               7
         Onion                                                 8
         Corn                        20
        Bullfrog                                               13
       Honeybee                      32
        Human                        46
       Crayfish                                               100
        Chicken                      18
         Apple                                                 17
          Dog                        78
         Horse                       64
          Cat                                                  19
         Rose                        14
         Bean                                                  7




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    43. Explain interdependence among humans, between plants and animals, and
        among ecosystems.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, II-1, VII-1



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    Transparencies of the energy pyramid, food chain, and food web will need to be
    made. The purpose of the activity is to show the relationship between
    predator and prey, to interpret data about the ecosystem, and to trace the
    energy pyramid, food chain, and food web.

    The sun is the ultimate source of energy for an ecosystem. Producers capture
    some of the light energy from the sun and transfer it into chemical energy as
    food. Each time energy is transferred, some is lost, making less available at
    the next feeding level. Organisms use much of their energy to carry out life
    functions. This energy is converted to heat and lost so that only 10% of the
    energy is passed to the next level when one organism consumes another.
    (Show ENERGY PYRAMID TRANSPARENCY.) The food chain is a simple
    sequence in which energy is transferred from one organism to another in an
    ecosystem. (Show FOOD CHAIN TRANSPARENCY.) Ecosystems, however,
    are more complex and contain more species. The food web is a more accurate
    illustration of energy transfer. (Show FOOD WEB TRANSPARENCY.)
    Because of the energy lost, there are fewer organisms in each feeding level
    within the ecosystem. (Show ENERGY PYRAMID TRANSPARENCY again.




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   In predations, one organism kills another organism. The organism that is eaten
   is the prey, and the one that is eating is the predator. Predators are usually
   beneficial organisms. Barn owls, for example, are known as the farmer’s
   friends because they destroy harmful rodents that live in barns and eat grains.
   Owls are nocturnal (active at night) and feed on small rodents such as mice,
   moles, and small birds. The owl’s digestive system is such that the owl pellet is
   regurgitated. These pellets are made of the things an owl has swallowed,
   including fur and bones that the owl is unable to digest. In this activity, the
   students will dissect owl pellets to determine what is going on in a small part of
   the owl’s ecosystem.



IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

   45 minutes



V. MATERIALS NEEDED

   Per group or pair of students:

   Owl pellets (can be obtained from a biological supply store)
   Gloves (optional)
   Glue
   IDENTIFYING OWL PELLET CONTENTS (See handout provided.)
   Round toothpicks
   Ruler
   Paper plate
   Balance scale
   Paper
   ENERGY PYRAMID TRANSPARENCY (See sample provided.)
   FOOD CHAIN TRANSPARENCY (See sample provided.)
   FOOD WEB TRANSPARENCY (See sample provided.)




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VI. ACTIVITY “Dem Bones”

    Safety Rules:

    1. Ensure that students wash their hands after handling the owl pellets and
       their contents. (Pellets have been sterilized by the company, but do this as
       a precaution.)

    2. Caution students not to touch their faces or mouths while examining owl
       pellets.

    Activity

   1. Divide the class into groups of three or four students.

   2. Distribute materials to each group.

   3. Instruct students to complete the following steps:
         ● Write a description of the owl pellet in your science notebook or
           journal.
         ● Record measurements (length and width) below the description. (See
           sample chart below.)
         ● Weigh your owl pellet.
         ● Record weight (mass).
         ● Place the pellet on a paper plate.
         ● Using the toothpick, carefully separate the bones from dried fur and
           feathers.
         ● Carefully clean the bones and sort them according to type: skull, jaw,
           vertebrae, and others.
         ● After making sure all bones have been removed, discard fur and
           feathers.
         ● Using glue, attach bones to the piece of paper and write the part and
           animal under each.

                                Sample Data Chart
          Pellet Mass (mg)       Pellet Length (cm)     Pellet width (cm)




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4. Allow students to share their findings with the rest of the class.

QUESTIONS:

1. What prey were found in your owl pellet?

2. If one owl pellet is produced each day, estimate the number of organisms
   eaten by an owl in a single day. Estimate the number of organisms an owl
   needs to eat to survive for one year.

(Answers will vary depending on the number of skulls or other unique bones
found. There may be as many as five or six skulls in one pellet. That would
indicate five to six animals per day, resulting in the consumption of 1,800 or
more prey animals per year.)

Extension Activity:

Have students draw their own food pyramid, food chain, and food web. Draw
these in science notebooks or on posterboard.




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                                 ENERGY PYRAMID
                                  TRANSPARENCY




                                            Animals
               Quaternary consumer                         10 calories
                                            that eat
                                            tertiary
                                            consumers

                                        Animals that eat
             Tertiary consumer                                 100 calories
                                           secondary
                                           consumers
Carnivores
                                   Animals that eat primary
      Secondary consumer                  consumers                  1,000 calories



   Primary consumer
   (herbivores)                      Animals that eat plants              10,000 calories




  Producer                                  Plants                                    100,000 calories




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             IDENTIFYING OWL PELLET CONTENTS*
       How to                                        Tooth
       measure                                       types
       the jaw

                                                               Lobed    Angled    Pointed
                         Jaw Length


                           Rat              Vole             Mouse     Shrew      Bird



Skull and Jaw



Jaw Length (mm)              17-30          15-20             10-15      7-14       15-40

Tooth Type                   Lobed          Angled            Lobed     Pointed     None

Shoulder Blade



Hip


Upper Leg



Lower Leg



Rib



Backbones




Foot



*Reprinted with permission from White Owl Enterprises.




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             FOOD CHAIN
            TRANSPARENCY




                        Killer Whale
Algae


                                            Leopard
                                            Seal




  Krill



                           Cod




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                                 FOOD WEB
                               TRANSPARENCY




                      Killer Whale



                                                                  Elephant
Crabeater                                                         Seal
   Seal




                                           Leopard
                                           Seal
            Adelie
            penguin

                                                                  Squid

                               Cod




Krill
                                            Algae
                                                          Small animals and
                                                          one-celled organisms




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 I. COURSE OF STUDY CONTENT STANDARD

    43. Explain interdependence among humans, between plants and
        animals, and among ecosystems.



II. ALABAMA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION EXAM (AHSGE) STANDARDS AND
    OBJECTIVES

    I-1, VI-1



III. OVERVIEW/PREPARATION

    The purpose of the activity is to broaden students’ awareness of the
    connection between daily lifestyles and amount of garbage produced, to
    observe the connection between solid waste management and the health of the
    environment, and to determine which materials are biodegradable.

    Many things such as apples, flowers, paper, and potatoes are biodegradable, or
    able to dissolve into tiny pieces that return to the Earth. Moisture, air, and
    tiny organisms help materials to biodegrade. Compost piles can be made from
    saved biodegradable materials, such as food scraps and yard waste. These
    layers can break down quickly into a dirt-like material that makes good
    fertilizer. Composting can feed the Earth and reduce the amount of garbage.

    This is a teacher-directed activity. It can be adapted for cooperative groups.



IV. TIME ALLOTMENT

    30 to 40 minutes initially; then ongoing for approximately one month




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V. MATERIALS NEEDED

    Plastic shoebox or regular shoebox lined with a garbage bag
    Dirt to fill box
    Water
    Toothpicks
    Masking tape
    Two marbles
    Fruit or vegetable slice
    Grass or leaves
    Colored marking pens
    One piece of paper
    DATA CHART (See handout provided.)



VI. ACTIVITY “Waste Away”

    1. Have students fill the shoebox with dirt. Tell them to dig a few holes deep
       enough to bury the marbles, fruit slice, grass or leaves, and notebook paper.

    2. Tell students to color four pieces of tape with different colors and wrap
       each piece around a toothpick. (If possible, use purchased colored
       toothpicks.) Choose a color for each material. Record these colors and
       materials on the DATA CHART.

    3. Tell students to bury each item and mark where each object is buried by
       placing the correct colored toothpick in the dirt above it.

    4. Have students pour a glass of water over the box of dirt and place the box
       by a window in a sunny spot for one month.

    5. Tell students to try to locate the buried materials and answer the following
       questions: “Which ones can you find?” “Which ones do you think are
       biodegradable?” “Which would be good for a compost pile?” Have
       students record answers on the DATA CHART.




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Extension Activity:

Encourage each student to start a compost pile at home. They should find a
container for materials. Make a list of waste items and attach it to the
compost container.




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                  DATA CHART
Material        Tape Color                Observations
                                        After One Month




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