OSTA FYI Web Resources:  Biology

Over the past several months, several web resources have crossed the OSTA Listserv which are of particular interest to those who teach biology. A gathering of those resources is listed below. It is not complete, but can be a starting point for your own biology URL library. The page will be available with direct links from the URLs at http://www.teleport.com/hemphill/fyibio.htm .

http://bioweb.ncsa.uiuc.edu/educwb/bioswb.html . Biology Student WorkBench Curricular Materials. The San Diego Supercomputer Center has developed an online biology “workbench” for biology students. The pages and tutorials linked from this page allow students (and teachers) to browse biomolecule libraries. One tutorial shows students how to go about “Comparing primate proteins,” and emphasizes data interpretation. Another tutorial on sickle cell anemia introduces students to searching databases for DNA and protein sequences and viewing the 3-D structures of proteins as well as introducing them to the disease.
 http://workbench.sdsc.edu/ . Link to the full-version of Biology Workbench at the National Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering at the University of California San Diego.


http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Biology/Courses/Molbio/molecular.html . Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell of Davidson College maintains a Molecular Biology webpage for his classes. He maintains useful links, for example, on reading GenBank, on using Chime, and on searching Open Reading Frames (ORFs). He has excellent resources buried in these pages for teachers introducing gel electrophoresis and experimental science:

 http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Biology/Courses/Molbio/controls.html .  ”How Much Control is Enough?” This page addresses the use of controls in biology projects dealing with gel electrophoresis.
Dr. Campbell also lists 3 pages reproduced from Life Technologies, Inc. (Shante Dube), with specific help for gel electrophoresis experiments:
 http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Biology/Courses/Molbio/tips/funDNAgel.html . “Top 10 Fun Facts for DNA Electrophoresis.”

 http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Biology/Courses/Molbio/tips/trblDNAgel.html . “Troubleshooting DNA Agarose Gel Electrophoresis.”

 http://www.bio.davidson.edu/Biology/Courses/Molbio/tips/trbltrans.html . Troubleshooting Transformation.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/tryit/brain/# . From PBS, “A Science Odyssey. You Try It: Probe the Brain.” At this interactive site, students can “probe” the brain and map the brain’s motor cortex. The page also links to introductions to computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) and to the role of endorphins in brain activity. This site requires a Shockwave plug-in.

http://thalamus.wustl.edu/course/ .  The WUSM Neuroscience Tutorial.  This page from the Washington University Medical School goes beyond the previous URL. It is written as a tutorial for first-year medical students at the University and provides in-depth tutorial help on many neuroscience topics. It includes labeled slides of brain slices.

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/default.html .  The Biology Project at the University of Arizona.  This site links to a series of interactive learning units on biochemistry, cell biology, chemicals & human health, developmental biology, human biology, immunology, and Mendelian genetics.  Several of the units are available in Spanish.

One link, to human biology, is given as an example below.

 http://www.biology.arizona.edu/human_bio/human_bio.html . Human Biology contains problem sets and tutorials on the topics of genetics and of sex and reproduction. Lessons include blood typing,  color blindness, DNA forensics, chromosome mapping, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases. Activities include karyotyping and interpreting DNA profiling.

The lessons all combined offer a great resource for teachers of biology.


http://www.cotf.edu/BioBLAST/ .  The BioBLAST Project, sponsored by Wheeling Jesuit University and NASA, is a designed as a multimedia supplement for biology curricula. Student resources allow students to ask questions of NASA experts and to read current NASA research reports on topics such as hydroponics, plants, space, human physiology.  Teacher resources lead to online materials for use in the classroom, but these are not fully developed. The student pages currently are a better resource for both students and teachers than the Teacher resource pages. It requires Real Media or QuickTime plug-ins.

http://www.cellsalive.net/ .  CELLS Alive!  This site, available in six languages, is maintained by Jim Sullivan. The pages contain images which he makes freely available for students and teachers to use in school reports and presentations.  He also has links to “cell cams, “ one which follows cancer cell growth over a 24 hour period and one which follows bacterial growth over a 6 hour period (http://www.cellsalive.com/cam0.htm ).  He also has a “gallery” of images from apoptosis to the anatomy of a splinter (clotting) (http://www.cellsalive.com/gallery.htm ). Although the material on his web site is free for teachers to use, he also sells CDs of his materials especially for web-challenged classrooms.

http://www.sidwell.edu/us/science/vlb5/ .  The Virtual Lab Book, 5th Edition, is produced by biology students at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC.  It provides student-written biology experiments and reports, independent biology projects, and links to biology resources.  It is a well-done site that takes the idea of student communication of what they are learning one step further than most “lab reports.”

http://www.wabio.com/ed/k-12_wa.htm .  The Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association maintains a page for Washington science teachers from Oregon science teachers can benefit. Links are provided to resources within our northern neighbor for K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms. Many of the resources may be available to Oregon teachers (or example, the University of Washington resources) or may have counterparts in our state.

http://emuseum.mnsu.edu/biology/humananatomy/index.shtml .  Minnesota State University maintains a page on human anatomy. The current system is the human skeletal system, complete with an image of a walking skeleton. The skeleton page is located at http://emuseum.mnsu.edu/biology/humananatomy/skeletal/skeletalsystem.html .

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html .  The National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project. This site links to some of the images and information from the projects 1986 goal:  to produce two “complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations” one each of a normal male and normal female body. The images are obtained from magnetic resonance, computerized tomography, and cryosection slices of cadavers.  The imaging work is complete and directions are provided for obtaining the data. Not all parts of the project are available to the public, but the extensive bibliography list is.

http://sln.fi.edu/biosci/heart.html .  The Franklin Institute Online page on “The Heart: An Online Exploration” is page designed for teachers and students.  It contains lessons and information on the heart, on blood, on blood vessels, on heart pressure and on other heart related topics, including how to monitor your own heart’s health. It contains interactive self-tests at various points. A good resource for all levels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/darwin/exfiles/index.htm /  “The Extinction Files,” from the BBC Evolution Website is a resource for the study of extinction of species as well as evolution.  It provides links for adults as well as for schools.  Among the links provided are explanation of terms, mass extinctions, theories of extinctions, the last extinction, and the “big questions” in the study of extinctions. From this site, you can also link to BBC pages on Darwin, on “man and his legacy,” on “life on earth,” on natural selections,” and on the “fossil roadshow.”

http://www3.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Entrez/index.html .  Entrez is an NIH based site which allows students and teachers to access PubMed, Genbank, Protein, structure, and genome datapases. Links are also available for accessing population study data sets, taxonomy (GenBank organisms) and the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database.

Rosa Hemphill
January, 2001