The Science of Sustainability

 

The Biology Education Collection for grades 9-12 has been created to help educators find the best QUEST resources for the classroom.  For each of the California Science Content Standards (listed below), you will find three sections: a list of all of the resources that are referenced for that standard, information about what students should already know about the content standard and what possible misconceptions they might hold, and a suggested sequence for using the various resources.  Each resource has a reference to the applicable substandard(s).

Standard 1, Cell Biology

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Those Marvelous Mitochondria (blog)
Traveling DNA (blog)
Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery* (video)
Building an Artificial Leaf (audio)
A Long and Winding DNA (blog)
Web Extra: Photosynthesis and Foosball (audio)

Additional Resources

The Science of Baseball, Exploratorium (interactive website)

Background

  • Students should already know that all living things are made of cells and that these cells (and their various parts) can only be seen through a microscope.  Students should know that all cells have similar functions such as getting rid of waste and extracting energy from food.  Students should also know that plants make their own food and that extra food is stored.
  • Teachers should be sensitive to the range of understanding that students already have about cells.  There may be come confusion about atoms and cells.

Sequence of Use

Assuming that teachers have already introduced cells and their components, teachers may want to use two QUEST blog posts, Those Marvelous Mitochondria and Traveling DNA.  These posts help illustrate the major differences between mitochondria and chloroplasts and the other cell organelles (1d,f,g).  The video, Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery is one of many different QUEST resources about an incredible mutation in Redwoods that causes trees to appear white and impacts their ability to do photosynthesis (1f).  The QUEST audio resources, Building an Artificial Leaf and Web Extra: Photosynthesis and Foosball show how scientists are studying the power of photosynthesis in the laboratory (1f).  Teachers may want to share the QUEST blog post, A Long and Winding DNA, to help students comprehend the length of human DNA and how this DNA differs from bacterial DNA (1c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 2, Genetics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Using DNA to Stop Dogfighting (audio)
Genetic Testing Through the Web Ed Guide (ed guide)
Genetic Testing Through the Web(video)
Genetic Tests: When No Means Maybe (Part 1) (blog)
Genetic Tests: When No Means Maybe (Part 2) (blog)
Why We Will Never See Another Einstein (blog)
Surviving Chromosomal Rearrangements (blog)

Background

  • Students should already know that in sexually reproducing organisms, half of the genetic information comes from each parent.  Also, students should already know that cells make copies of themselves for growth and for repair AND that cells differ based on their functions.
  • Teachers will need to emphasize the differences between mitosis and meiosis. Most students do not realize that nearly all genetic concepts result from the process of meiosis and the subsequent fertilization of an egg by a sperm (or other gametes).

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to begin this section of standards by watching the QUEST video, Genetic Testing through the Web to help students understand the impact of genetics in different families. This segment provides a context for discussing how we inherit our genes from our parents–not only for things like height and eye color, but also for breast cancer and other types of diseases (2e,g).  Teachers may also want students to listen to the QUEST radio story, Using DNA to Stop Dogfighting, that describes how scientists track various genetic lineages to discover whether or not dogs have been bred to enhance their aggressiveness for dog-fighting (2). In the story, the fuzzy relationship between genetics and behavior is described.  The following QUEST blog posts from Dr. Barry Starr are great for students to read as a Do Now or for homework.  Genetic Tests: When No Means Maybe (Part 1) and Genetic Tests: When No Means Maybe (Part 2), illustrate the limitations of using a private DNA service to uncover some of your genetic history (2c,d,e).  In Surviving Chromosomal Rearrangements, students will learn about some chromosomal issues that may occur and the effects of these issues on organisms (2a,b,f).  Additionally, in the blog post Why We Will Never See Another Einstein, students will learn about why every person's DNA is unique and the implications of this on future generations of humans (2d,e).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 3, Genetics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Genetic Testing through the Web(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that offspring generally look like their parents and that it is possible to predict some characteristics of children based on characteristics of their parents.
  • Teachers should be willing to do some pedigree activities with students.  Pedigrees are wonderful tools for presenting ideas about inheritance. Teachers should be sensitive that students often want to attribute strength to genes based on who they come from, not from the more basic fact that some genes are simply dominant over recessive genes.  Also, students are often unaware of how complex inheritance can be when there are many genes that control various aspects of the same trait.

Sequence of Use

With the QUEST video Genetic Testing through the Web and the associated Educator Guide, teachers and students can discuss the way that genes are passed from parent to child (3a,c).  Additionally, teachers may want to engage students with the pedigree that is presented in the video and possibly have students create pedigrees of their immediate families.  Although they are part of the starred "honors" standards, pedigrees are an excellent visual way to teach about the process of inheritance, specifically for sex-linked traits.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 4, Genetics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Reverse Evolution Machine(video)
Albino Redwoods: Ghosts of the Forest* (audio)
Science on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the Forest(video)
Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the Code(video)
Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery(video)
Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic(video)
Stem Cell Gold Rush(video)
A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes (blog)

Background

  • Students should already know that DNA is the genetic material in cells that determine an organism’s traits.  Also, students should know that inherited traits can be determined by one or more genes and that our DNA has many thousands of genes.
  • Teachers should be aware that while students often understand that RNA is a copy of DNA, that the various types of RNA (rRNA, tRNA, etc.) are ALSO copies of particular sections of DNA.  Also, teachers should try to emphasize that mutations are not uncommon when DNA is copied and that there are many types of mutations that cause varying degrees of damage to a gene.  Only rarely does the mutation of a gene have positive consequences.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start this set of standards with Stem Cell Gold Rush.  This QUEST video that explains how the same DNA can be used to create the wide variety of cells that we see in our body by expressing different sets of genes (4d).  The video The Reverse Evolution Machine explains why different parts of DNA are conserved and how we can learn about extinct animals' genomes by looking at the genomes of these animals' living descendants (4c,d).  Teachers may want to share the group of QUEST resources on Albino Redwoods (Albino Redwoods: Ghosts of the ForestScience on the SPOT: Albino Redwoods, Ghosts of the ForestScience on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Cracking the CodeScience on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery) with their classes.  These resources are excellent in describing the emergence of mutations in living things (4c).  In the second half of the QUEST video Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic there is a section that explains about how the Hepatitis C virus uses the machinery of the cell in order to reproduce (4a).  Teachers may want to use the blog post, A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes, as a Do Now or a homework assignment. The post highlights how differentiation produces various cell types as well as how viruses may be helpful in putting genes into a cell’s DNA (4a,d).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 5, Genetics

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Reverse Evolution Machine(video)
The 6-Billion-Base Athlete (blog)
Decoding Synthetic Biology(video)
A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes (blog)
Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that DNA is the genetic material in cells that determine an organism’s traits.  Students should know that inherited traits can be determined by one or more genes and that our DNA has many thousands of genes.  Students should also be aware that scientists have been able to genetically modify some of our food and some other types of organisms.
  • Teachers should be aware that students do not often perceive the difference between having genes from another organism and having actual organs or other parts of an organism (a plant with a jellyfish gene isn't going to have jellyfish parts growing from its leaves).  Students need support in understanding the universality of DNA in living things and the challenges in manipulating this DNA between and within organisms.

Sequence of Use

QUEST has a variety of resources for this set of standards.  Teachers may want students to watch, or refer back to, the QUEST video, Decoding Synthetic Biology.  This resource illustrates how scientists can compose new genes to create cells with new functions (5a,b,e).  The QUEST video, Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?, shows how scientists are looking to fight Alzheimer’s Disease.  This resources describes how scientists use mice to help investigate genetic strategies for fighting the disease (5c).  The QUEST blogs, The 6-Billion-Base Athlete and A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes, can be given to students as a Do Now or a homework assignment in order to emphasize how viruses may be helpful in putting genes into a cell’s DNA (5a,c,e). Finally, by revisiting the QUEST video, The Reverse Evolution Machine (or watching this resource for the first time), teachers can emphasize the way that DNA codes for physical traits, how this DNA changes over time, and how DNA connects living organisms to their ancestors (5a,b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 6, Ecology

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

San Francisco Bay Invaders (video)
Science on the SPOT:  Restoring SF's Lost Manzanita (video)
Ants: The Invisible Majority(video)
The Great Migration(video)
The Farrallon Islands -"California's Galapagos"(video)
Tracking Raindrops(video)
Plight of the Yellow-Legged Frog(audio)
Disappearing Plants(video)
Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later(video)
Underwater Wilderness: Creating Marine Protected Areas (video)

Background

  • Students should already know that our energy in food came originally from plants that used energy from the Sun.  Students should know that all matter is made of atoms and that these atoms are moved between living and non-living things.  Also, students should be aware that population sizes can change over time depending on access to conditions that a population requires to survive.
  • Teachers should connect this section of the standards to a lot of the things that students are seeing in the world around them – especially in their local environment.  For example, is there an effort to green the city around them through new plantings of native trees and plants?  Are students being asked to conserve water, compost and recycle?  Have they been aware of changes in water levels or conversations around climate change?

Sequence of Use

QUEST has a variety of resources for this set of standards.  In fact, with so many amazing resources, teachers may want to search the site more broadly to find even more resources than are listed here.  Showing the QUEST video Ants: The Invisible Majority is a great way for teachers to establish the importance of ants as part of the biodiversity found in our world and the "brown" cycle.  Also, students will learn about how many different ant species have managed to establish themselves outside of their typical ranges (6a,b,d,e).  Teachers may want to also show the QUEST video San Francisco Bay Invaders to illustrate how easily exotic species get established in different parts of the world (6a,b,d).  The Farallon Islands -"California's Galapagos" will provide students a peek into the amazing biodiversity that exists on this remote group of islands that are part of the City of San Francisco (6c,e,f).  Teachers may also want to show studentsUnderwater Wilderness: Creating Marine Protected Areas.  This video illustrates how environmentalists have tried to protect entire ecosystems in the ocean (6a,b,c).  Tracking RaindropsDisappearing PlantsThe Great MigrationPlight of the Yellow-Legged Frog and Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later can all be used to illustrate the impact that climate change is having on the wildlife of California (6a,b,d,g).  Finally, Science on the SPOT:  Restoring SF's Lost Manzanita, is a QUEST video that leaves us with hope that we will continue to find pockets of native organisms clinging to the areas where their adaptations are best suited (6a,b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 7, Evolution

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Reverse Evolution Machine* (video)
Plight of the Yellow-Legged Frog(audio)
Disappearing Frogs (video)
Science on the SPOT:  Restoring SF's Lost Manzanita (video)
Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery(video)
Science on the SPOT:  Cal Academy Butterfly Collection (video)
Living Life To The Extreme (blog)
Careful What You Choose (blog)

Background

  • Students should already know that changes in the environment can affect the survival of an organism or a species.  Also, students should know that organisms with similar needs may compete for food, space, water, etc. and that different traits may help individuals to compete better.  Finally, students should already know that humans can affect the characteristics of certain plants/animals through selective breeding.
  • Teachers should be aware of the challenges that students have moving between natural selection at the individual level to evolutionary changes on a species level.  Teachers should emphasize that all changes in a species are happening at the level of mutations in DNA.

Sequence of Use

QUEST has a variety of resources for teaching this set of standards. Teachers may want to start this unit by having students read and reflect on the blog, Careful What You Choose, which highlights the various benefits and costs of different genes and hints to a future where parents get to choose the genetic makeup of their offspring (7b,d).  Next, teachers can show students the QUEST video, Science on the SPOT: Revisiting Albino Redwoods, Biological Mystery.  This video illustrates how new mutations are constantly introduced into California’s redwoods and how the genetic complexity of these trees help them to be more resilient to a variety of environmental changes (7c). Another QUEST video, Science on the SPOT:  Cal Academy Butterfly Collection, can be shown to illustrate the diversity within species of butterflies and how evolution has selected for amazing colors and designs that are different for the males and females of the species (7a,d).  Disappearing Frogs helps make connections between ecology and evolution by highlighting the ability of some frogs to survive despite the challenges of living in environments that have become increasingly toxic to their species (7d).  The QUEST blog, Living Life To The Extreme, is a great review for this set of standards since it helps to show how DNA is less stable that we might think and how the malleability of DNA and our genes can actually help certain organisms to survive in different environments (7d).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 8, Evolution

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Reverse Evolution Machine(video)
Explosive Hypothesis About Humans' Lack of Genetic Diversity (blog)
Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin(video)
Science on the SPOT:  Restoring SF's Lost Manzanita (video)
Science on the SPOT:  Cal Academy Butterfly Collection (video)
Seed Banking: Saving Both Agri- and -Culture (blog)
Disappearing Frogs (video)
Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that changes in the environment can affect the survival of an organism or a species.  Also, students should know that organisms with similar needs compete for food, space, water, etc., and that different traits may give certain individuals an advantage in competition.  Finally, students should know that humans can affect the characteristics of certain plants/animals through selective breeding.
  • Teachers should be aware of the challenges that students have moving between natural selection at the individual level to evolutionary changes on a species level.  Teachers should emphasize that all changes in a species are happening at the level of mutations in DNA.

Sequence of Use

QUEST has a variety of resources for this set of standards. Teachers may want to start by watching the QUEST video, Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin, which provides information about how genetic differences may increase over time between two isolated populations (8c).  The video also talks about how scientists make hypotheses and go about finding evidence for ideas. Teachers may want to follow this video by having students read and reflect on the QUEST blog, Seed Banking: Saving Both Agri- and -Culture, which highlights the importance of genetic diversity for the future (8b). The QUEST videos, Disappearing Frogs, Resurveying California's Wildlife 100 Years Later, Science on the SPOT:  Restoring SF's Lost Manzanita and Science on the SPOT:  Cal Academy Butterfly Collection, can be referred to (or watched if students haven’t seen them yet) to connect the ideas of genetic diversity within species to advantages in survival and speciation in light of environmental pressures (8a,b,c,d).  Teachers may want student to watch, or re-watch The Reverse Evolution Machine, a QUEST video that illustrates how scientists can recreate the DNA of extinct animals by extrapolating upon changes in DNA among related living organisms (8f,g).  Teachers may want to connect some big ideas in evolution by having student read the QUEST blog, Explosive Hypothesis About Humans' Lack of Genetic Diversity. This resource describes the evidence that shows that humans have been and continue to be effected by environmental processes (8c,e).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 9, Physiology

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise (video)
Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?(video)
Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic(video)
Decoding the Emotional Brain (audio)
Science Flexes its Muscles (video)
Science of Taste(video)
The Science of Pain (audio)
Teaching the Brain To See (audio)

Background

  • Students should already know that all living things are made up of cells and that generally all of the cells in a particular organism have the same DNA.  Students should also know that cells differentiate and, therefore, have different functions in tissues and organs to keep the organism alive.
  • Teachers should be aware that students probably do not know a lot of details about the nervous system and that they have only a vague understanding of how the brain communicates with our bodies (both on a chemical level and on a physical level).

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to begin addressing these standards by watching, or re-watching, Born Too Soon: Preterm Births on the Rise.  This QUEST video helps to show some of the challenges, in regards of organ and system development, that affect babies that are born prematurely (9b,c,d,i).  Another QUEST video that teachers may want to show is Alzheimer's: Is the Cure in the Genes?.  This resource illustrates the role of the brain in creating and recalling memories as well as in controlling the movements of our bodies (9b,d,e).  The Science of PainDecoding the Emotional Brain and Teaching the Brain To See are all QUEST audio segments that teachers may want to share with students in order to illustrate the connection of the brain and the nerves that perceive the outside world and what happens when something goes wrong (9b,c,d,e).  In the QUEST video, Science Flexes its Muscles, students can learn about how humans can train our bodies to do what we want, but also how chemicals–specifically hormones called steroids–can affect the way that our bodies develop (9a,h,i).  Finally, Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic helps demonstrate the interconnectedness of our body systems and what kinds of things scientists are doing to fight diseases such as Hepatitis C (9a,g).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 10, Physiology

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

HIV Research: Beyond the Vaccine (video)
Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic(video)
AIDS Researchers Unlock Cell Death Mystery (blog)
A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes (blog)

Background

  • Students should already know that all living things are made up of cells and that different cells have different roles in the body.  Some of these cells are dedicated to fighting off infections in an organism.  Students should also already know that viruses and bacteria exist and these things can cause disease in humans.
  • Teachers should be mindful of the range of knowledge that students have about viruses and bacteria (and how they differ in the ways that they can cause disease).

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start this unit with HIV Research: Beyond the Vaccine.  This QUEST video includes a history of HIV and how HIV is being combated through our immune system, medications, and education (10b,d).  The QUEST blog, AIDS Researchers Unlock Cell Death Mystery, will provide students more information about the current research that is being done to combat HIV (10a,d,e).  If students haven’t yet watched Hepatitis C: The Silent Epidemic, now is a good time to do so.  Reviewing this video may help solidify students’ conceptions of how we can become infected with different diseases and how we defend against infection (10b,c).  Teachers may want to share the QUEST blog post, A Viral Infection that Might One Day Cure Diabetes, which includes details of a different aspect of viral infection–one that scientists are hoping will one day bring working versions of genes to people who are suffering from various types of genetic diseases (10c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.