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LIFE IN A DROP OF WATER
Grade Level: 9-12
Subject: Science (Biology)
Time Allotment: two to three 45-minute class periods

Students investigate just what lives in a drop of water, appreciating how much life a single water drop can support and how the population can vary depending on whether the drop is from a freshwater lake or a pond, bottled water, or from the tap. Students use microscopes to observe single-cell organisms in water samples and draw conclusions about diseases and water filtration.



LEARNING OBJECTIVES


Students will be able to:
  • Describe and compare the characteristics of living things

  • Observe single-cell organisms using a microscope

  • Analyze the differences between protozoa

  • Summarize research discoveries through writing

  • Compare living organisms in two test samples

MATERIALS


  • Samples of tap water for each lab group (pairs of students)

  • Sample of a second type of water: pond, lake, river, ditch, or bottled for each lab group (water can be obtained through a class trip to the water source or teacher can collect the sample prior to the lesson)

  • 4 slides per lab group

  • 4 cover slips per lab group

  • 2 eye droppers to place water sample on slide

  • microscopes (preferred: one for each pair of students)

  • paper towels for clean up

  • Optional: diagrams of the four single-cell organisms with labels
    Diagrams can be found on various online sites such as http://www.sirinet.net/~jgjohnso/protista.html and http://www.le.ac.uk/biology/teach/mod103/mulecs/l3.html
HANDOUTS


BOOKMARK THE FOLLOWING SITES


  • Jefferson Lab
    http://education.jlab.org
    Search this site for hands-on activities, games, and reference materials in math and science.

  • The Science Spot
    http://sciencespot.net
    This site provides lesson plans, project ideas, trivia questions, games, and references for all science topics.

  • CELLS alive
    http://www.cellsalive.com
    This site contains film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms. This is also a stock video library with live recording and computer animation of cells, bacteria, parasites, and aquatic organisms.

  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
    http://www.actionbioscience.org
    This educational website has articles by scientists, educators, and students on issues relating to biodiversity. The site also includes lesson plans, and resources to boost bioscience teaching.

  • National Science Foundation
    http://www.nsf.gov/index.jsp
    Search this site for education resources and the most recent information on research and scientific grants.

  • Fun Science Gallery: Protist Park
    http://www.funsci.com/fun3_en/protists/entrance.htm
    Use this site for an overview of protists through stories, microscopic images, and movies.

ACADEMIC STANDARDS
http://www.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp


  • Science, Standard 5, Level IV
    Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms

  • Science, Standard 6, Level IV
    Understands relationships among organisms and their physical environment

  • Science, Standard 7, Level IV
    Understands biological evolution and the diversity of life

  • Science, Standard 12, Level IV
    Understands the nature of scientific inquiry

  • Thinking and Reasoning, Standard 3, Level IV
    Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences



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