Surfing the Net with kids

By Barbara Feldman
September 18, 2009

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Biology is the science of living organisms. It is taught at many grade levels, and this week’s selections include sites for advanced placement biology high school students, elementary grades, college kids, and adults.

Biology 4 Kids

“It’s not just biology for kids, it’s for everyone.’’ Thanks to the excellent design, this outstanding site from the Andrew Rader Studios is informative, easy to read, and simple to navigate. Topics include cells, microorganisms, plants, invertebrates, animal systems, and more. Each section concludes with a self-scoring multiple-choice quiz. Overall, the site has 30 quizzes, a dozen videos, and a handful of annotated slide shows, all of which can be found on the Activities page. The Site Map is the best place to start to get an overview of the site.

Biology in Motion

Biology teacher and online game developer Leif Saul makes learning high school biology fun with his interactive mini-lectures, activities, animations, and cartoons. He originally developed these for use in his classroom, and found them effective in both capturing students’ attention and illustrating difficult concepts. When browsing through the site, be sure to note the icons that indicate whether the activity is a mouse rollover, a drag-and-drop, an animation, or a simulation.

Cells Alive

The best clicks for high school students (and adults) are found on the left-hand menu starting with Plant Cells, Animal Cells, and Mitosis. Each chapter includes a dozen sub-topics (such as nucleus and cell membrane) that are covered with their own illustrated page. Additional highlights of the site are the amazing photographs found in Cell Cams, Cell Gallery, and on free e-postcards to send to friends from your biology class. Think you know your stuff? Try the three tough quizzes on Cell Structure, Microbes, and the Immune System.

HippoCampus: Biology

HippoCampus, from the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education, offers multimedia high school and college lessons in biology (as well as eight other subjects including algebra, psychology, and US history). This particular site is a mini-overview of the biology lessons available. If you want access to a complete class such as AP Biology I or Biology for Non-Majors, you’ll find that entrance at the main HippoCampus. To use this mini-site, simply choose one of 12 units, then drill down to the individual lessons.

Review Game Zone: Biology Games

There are hundreds of teacher-created games, in categories such as Ecology, Genetics, and Human Physiology. Within each category are dozens of quizzes, each annotated with grade level and state, and a chance to preview the questions. Once you’ve settled on a specific set of questions, the game can be played in any of six formats: soccer, ping-pong, baseball, basketball, golf, or traditional quiz. In the sports formats, each correct answer is rewarded with an opportunity to shoot a basket, hit a home run, etc.