The structure and function of DNA

After you’ve read the letter that Francis Crick wrote to his son and found out about the structure and function of DNA, complete these interactive resources to be able to explain the structure and function of DNA inside a nucleus. The resources/ activities are for one school hour and one homework session.

On the side, complete the SoMi self assessment handout.

Animation and quiz: DNA structure

Learn Genetics: What are DNA and genes?

Learn Genetics: What are proteins (remember that making and processing proteins are main cellular processes: the genetic information to make proteins is stored in the DNA code).

Learn Genetics: Build a DNA molecule

Learn Genetics: Things you may not know about DNA

If you have more time, you can also review the interactive section Inside a Cell to review the structure of animal and plant cells.

Population dynamics of predator-prey relationships

Predation affects the population dynamics of both the predator and prey population. In this simulation you investigate predator-prey relationships over time and compare your findings with laboratory and field study results.

First work individually. Click the Simulation button in the bottom right corner. Familiarize with the simulation and the variables. Work out a trend that can be observed in the population cycles of predator and prey species and interpret the results if you change different variables.

Then pair up with a partner. Take it in turns to outline your results. Work out general model-based equations and principles of predator-prey relationships over time that can be concluded from the simulation. Eventually, evaluate pros and cons of data obtained in the laboratory, in a field study and in a computer based simulation.

 Weblink: Predator-Prey Simulation (you need to use the Google Chrome browser for this simulation).


Die Bedrohung von heimischen Eschepopulationen durch eine invasive Pilzart

Ein Beitrag des WDR5 Wissenschaftsmagazins vom 1.6.2016 lautete „Auch die Esche stirbt weg – Aber es gibt Hoffnung“. Auf der Grundlage des Beitrags lässt sich die Arbeit zu ökologischen Auswirkungen invasiver Arten auf lokale Populationen zusammenfassen und vertiefen:

WDR5 Leonardo Podcast vom 1.6.2016 [hier klicken]

Aufgabe: Fasst die zentralen Aussagen der Artikel mit Blick auf die Folgen der biologischen Invasion von Arten auf heimische Ökosysteme stichpunktartig zusammen und tauscht euch anschließend mit einem Partner darüber aus; leitet anschließend gemeinsam auf Grundlage bisheriger Unterrichtsinhalte begründet Folgen für das Ökosystem ab (für Schnelle: diskutiert zusätzlich sinnvolle Maßnahmen zur Stabilisierung der Eschepopulationen und begründet diese aus ökologischer Perspektive).

Partner A (eher allgemein gehaltene Artikel): 

WN – Artikel: Bäumen geht es etwas besser 

Spektrum- Artikel: Der Weltenbaum vergeht

Partner B (Fachartikel): 

Waldwissen: Sorgenkind Esche. Stand der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis.

Invasive species and their consequences for ecosystems

Invasive species take hold outside their native range.You want to research about examples of invasive species and the consequences for the ecosystem in which they become established.


You research about different examples of invasive species and focus in detail on one local example (Münsterland) as well as on one ‚global‘ example. Explain the consequences for that given ecosystem.

You create an online mind map/cluster on your topic with or mindmapfree to visualize your results in a sensible way. Export the mind map as an image and send it via E-Mail/ save on a memory stick.


You design and give a talk on invasive species and the consequences of invasive species for ecosystems (based on your mind map / cluster).


How does interspecific competition affect population growth?

G.F. Cause, a Russian scientist, formulated the competitive exclusion principle in a classic series of experiments in the 1930s: If two species are competing for the same resource, the species with a more rapid growth rate will outcompete the other. Consequently, two species can not occupy the same niche.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-04-24 um 21.11.39This virtual lab is a brilliant exercise in making and testing hypothesis as well as interpreting experimental data with regard to a hypothesis/ question.

Complete the virtual lab „Population Biology“ provided by McGraw Hill: follow the procedure on the left and answer the questions in the journal (bottom row).


A Tale of Two Foxes. The 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 Grand title winner [click here] beat 42,000 entries to win the wildlife photography award.

I Background of the 2015 award

If you wrote the last biology exam, research and read about the background of the photo. All others study the last exam’s materials. Get together and take it in turns to sum up the essential information.

II Arctic Foxes and Red Foxes: Ecological Factors and Principles

Imagine you’ve been invited to support the photographer during the award ceremony with a 3-5 minute talk (a faq on how to give an academic talk can be found here -the first 4 pages sum up essenatial advice- and here: How to give a scientific talk). In your talk you would like to illustrate aspects of the biological background of the photo with special regard to ecological principles that apply here.

If you’re interested in further details and reading, follow these links:

Fact Sheet: Arctic Foxes and Climate Change

Arctic fox versus red fox in the warming arctic

The Role of Enzymes in the Human Digestive System

In eigth/ninth grade Biology you’ve learned about compononts of a healthy diet and how a healthy diet contributes to our well-being. You also learned that our diet consists of nutrients that contain energy (carbohydrates, lipids and proteins) and other components that contain no energy (water, minerals, vitamins).

In this sequence you’re researching on the organs of human digestion and cellular processes taking place in the human digestive system (with special regard to the role of enzymes).

Use your workbook, the IB Biology 2nd Edition Website and other internet resources to …

… explain the properties of enzymes and the role of enzymes in metabolic processes.

… outline the stages of digestion in the human body and the function of the human liver.

… illustrate the biochemical properties of carbohydrates in general and the specific structure of glucose, starch and glycogen

… illustrate the structure of proteins and how amino acids form a three dimensional protein.

… describe and distinguish condensation and hydrolosis reactions.

These animations are useful to begin exploring the different topics:

Organs of digestion

Digestion metabolism overview

Enzyme action and the hydrolysis of sucrose

This independent learning sequence is designed for three hours and two homework sessions. You can individually choose to complete tasks in writing full texts or making notes, visualizing ideas in a mindmap/ concept map/ figures.

We are going to discuss and present results next Tuesday.

Active Membrane Transport: Resources for Independent Learning

While passive transport processes don’t require energy as substances move along their concentration gradient, active transport processes require energy because they move substances up a concentration gradient or involve the intake of larger particles.

These interactive tutorials or animations are brilliant resources for further independent learning (including a quiz to test your knowledge) and illustrate some of the principles of active membrane transport:

Primary Active Transport

Secondary Active Transport


Endocytosis and Exocytosis 

Active Transport by Group Location

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