A. Gauge the size of various biological components and organisms. The Virtual Microscope can be used to make these observations. Estimate the size (length and width in microns) of

•  1. An E. Coli cell

•  2. A mitochondrion.

•  3. A Red blood cell

•  4. A virus.

•  5. A water molecule

B. Observe the various Cell types and learn to distinguish between Bacterial cells, Plant cells (1, 2), and Animal cells (1, 2, 3)

•  1. Observe and describe three differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

•  2. Observe and describe three differences and three similarities between plant and animal cells.

C. Form a hypothesis

•  1. Hypothesize about how you might be able to sort a mixed population of cells into prokaryotes and

eukaryotes. Try to be practical, build on your understanding of the differences between the two cell classes.

•  2. Hypothesize about a means to separate out plant cells from a mixed population of eukaryotic cells.


Cell structures and functions

Virtual Optical Microscope. 

Virtual Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). 

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images.

Virtual Lab 2:           Cellular Processes


A. Bacterial Growth. Observing the growth of the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae

These Streptococcus bacteria have been placed on a nutrient rich agar medium and their growth visualized. You can monitor their growth by watching the middle frame and moving through time with the time step buttons.

•   Estimate how long it takes for this population of bacteria to double. Hint- this population doubles multiple times during the duration of this recording.

B. Cellular Reproduction : The Cell Cycle (1 , 2 , 3)Mitosis (1 , 2)Meiosis (1 , 2), and Binary fission (1 , 2).

•  1. Estimate the percentage of time that a constantly developing cell spends in interphase.

•  2. In a random selection of 100 such cells, estimate the number that would be undergoing mitosis at any given time.

•  3. Understand the basic differences between mitosis, meiosis, and binary fission.  Is mitosis

more similar to meiosis or to binary fission? Explain your reasoning.

C. Cellular Metabolism: Cellular Respiration (1 , 2)Photosynthesis (1 , 2), and The Carbon Cycle (1 , 2 , 3)

•  1. In a paragraph or two compare and contrast  photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

•  2. Describe the ecological relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration.

•  3. Hypothesize about what might happen if a large number of producers were suddenly removed from the biosphere. Where might carbon accumulate if the ratio of number of producers to consumers was markedly reduced?

Virtual Lab 3:           Genetics I


A. Phenotype and genotype of Dragons For fun, you can use this web lab to answer these questions: What genotype(s) result in wings? What genotype(s) result about a brown skinned Dragon? If necessary use your own research to answer the following questions.

•  Define genotype and phenotype.

•  What is an allele?

B. Drosophila Lab Enter the lab as a guest. You need to purchase a breeding pair of  flies. Purchase a female mutant that has a small (vestigial) wing size and a male wild type fly. Breed them and notice the resulting distribution of phenotypes.

•   Describe and explain the characteristic of the first generation (F1) of flies. Is the vestigial wing characteristic dominant or recessive?

•   What percentage of the F1 generation would show the recessive characteristic phenotypically according to your table?  Are your experimental breeding results consistent with what you expect from this assumption and the logic of the Punnet square?

•   Breed two of these F1 flies. To do this select a male and a female from the results of your first cross and put them in the breeding jar. Describe and explain the characteristics of the second generation (F2) flies.

C. Genetic Disorders Library Describe the three main classes of genetic disorders and give an example of each.


Genetic Terminology Glossary

Punnett squares: an introduction

Alternative Drosophila lab


Virtual Lab 4:           Genetics II

A. Learn how electrophoresis works and answer these questions:

•    On what basis is electrophoresis able to separate molecules? What are the lengths of the three DNA bands that you produce in this lab?

B.  Electrophoresis. Select the pBR322 plasmid (a circular piece of DNA used as a cloning vector) to analyze (menu in upper left hand corner of the simulator). You will then see a diagram of the circular plasmid DNA along with the points along the length of the plasmid where the various restriction enzymes (EcoR I, Ple I, Hinc II, and Bgl I) will cut the DNA. For instance notice that the enzyme EcoR 1 only cuts the plasmid at one location at the top of the diagram, whereas the other enzymes cut the plasmid at other places. To analyzes the DNA we cut it up with different enzymes and slowly piece together an understanding of the entire sequence.

•    Load each lane as follows: lane 1 with Bgl 1; lane 2 with EcoR 1; lane 3 with Hinc II; lane 4 with Ple I; lane 5 with predetermined molecular weight markers.

•    Run the gel and describe and explain the number of bands in lanes 2 and 4.

C. Human blood types and the immune system: Emergency Transfusion! 

You can skip the video introduction, but will probably want to read the guide before you attempt the emergency simulation. Repeat the simulation until you can get hired on by the virtual hospital staff. Use your mouse to: 1. Take a blood sample from the patient. 2. Place the blood sample in the antibody solutions. 3. Hang the correct blood transfusion bags, so as to start a blood transfusion.

•   Identify the different blood types, the antibodies associated with each, and the types of blood that each type can receive and donate too.

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