Projects and Labs


Features of Living Things Project

Goal: To Create a Comic-Strip or Cartoon that portrays, describes, and illustrates the 8 Features of Living Things of a specific organism.

  • Choose a specific organism. Examples: zebra, alligator, hummingbird, mushroom, bacterial cell, fern, oak tree, tulip, jelly fish, sea star, etc...
  • Think of examples and describe how each of the 8 features “fits” or applies to your chosen organism.  This part should be completed as a brainstorming rough draft.  You may need to research a bit to find out specific information.
  • Create a cartoon (one plate design) or a comic strip (many plate design) to show how each of the 8 features applies to your chosen organism.
  • Illustrate your organism using color and design to show each feature.
    • You may do this using a cartoon design where you would draw the organism and then provide labels in places where each of the 8 features would be represented.
    • You may do this using a comic strip design where you would create separate plates that show your organism representing the 8 features.
  • Label each feature neatly in a talking bubble and provide a description of how that feature applies to your organism.  This requires some research.
  • Include the scientific name of your organism.  
    • Example: Gray wolf, Canis lupus
  • Include your name and date on the bottom, right-hand corner of the paper.
  • Include a border that extends all the way around all sides of the paper.
  • Include your references on the back of the paper.  Use Citation Machine or   Easybib.
  • Have FUN and be creative!!
  • DUE: Friday, 9/19

_____5_____ Organism chosen is a living thing and evidence for this is substantial.
_____3_____ Name and date are on the bottom, right-hand corner of paper.
_____2_____ Border extends all the way around all sides of the paper.
_____10____ Neatness, care, effort, and color in your design and descriptions.
_____35____ 8 features are represented and are correct.
_____35____ 8 features are described inside a talking bubble and are accurate.
_____10____ Works Cited: Use Citation Machine

___100______   Total Score and Comments:

Check List

________ Student chose a living organism; evidence to prove this is substantial.

________Name and date are at the bottom, right-hand corner of the paper.

________Border extends all the way around all sides of the paper.

________Neatness, care, effort, and color are evident in your research, design, and descriptions.

________8 Features are included, represented, and are correct.

________8 Features are described inside a talking bubble and are accurate.

________Works Cited are included either with Citation machine or Easy bib.



Name ________________________________________ Date __________________________
Homeostasis of the Eye                                                      

Homeostasis is one of the fundamental characteristics of living things.  It refers to the maintenance of the internal environment within tolerable limits.  All sorts of factors affect the suitability of our body fluids to sustain life; these include properties like temperature, salinity, acidity, and the concentrations of nutrients and wastes.  Because these properties affect the chemical reactions that keep us alive, we have built-in physiological mechanisms to maintain them at desirable levels.
When a change occurs in the body, there are two general ways that the body can respond.  In negative feedback, the body responds in such a way as to reverse the direction of change.  Because this tends to keep things constant, it allows us to maintain homeostasis.  On the other hand, positive feedback is also possible.  This means that if a change occurs in some variable, the response is to change that variable even more in the same direction.  This has a destabilizing effect, so it does not result in homeostasis.  Positive feedback is used in certain situations where rapid change is desirable (i.e. cervical dilation during childbirth, pupils dilated for testing, and flower blooming and fruit ripening on a tree).

The eye maintains homeostasis with changing light input.

Small flashlight, paper, pencil


1. Observe the subject’s eye.  Record (your own eye data) the color of the iris on the data table.
2. Observe the pupil of the eye.  
3. With the lights on, shine a flashlight in the subject’s eye and observe the change in the pupil.  List the changes that occur. (size, speed/rate of change, shape etc.)
4. List three characteristics of the pupil in normal light.  (size, speed/rate of change, shape etc.)
5. Turn out the lights for three minutes and repeat steps 1 and 2.
6. With the lights still out, shine a flashlight in the subject’s eye and observe the change in the   pupil.  List the changes that occur. (size, speed/rate of change, shape etc.)
7. Turn the lights back on wait three minutes and repeat step 3.
8. Repeat procedure for each member of the group.

Results (Data):

Color of Iris with LIGHTS ON
3 characteristics of pupil in NORMAL LIGHT
Color of Iris with LIGHTS OFF
3 characteristics with FLASHLIGHT



Results (Questions):

1. List the differences between the eye with the overhead lights on and the lights off.

2. What are the differences between the eye when the flashlight is shined in it with the light on and the light off?

3. Why is there a change with different light levels (explain)?

4. Does eye color affect the response of the pupil to the light change?  Confer with other students to help explain.

5. How did this activity show homeostasis?

6. Was this an example of positive or negative feedback?  Explain.

7. What would be the results if your eye showed a POSITIVE FEEDBACK response to bright light?

8. Briefly explain another experiment that could demonstrate homeostasis of the human body?


                                                                                                                October 31, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

        Students have begun a unit on The Cell, chapter 2 in the Life’s Structure and Function textbook.  We have studied all about the various organelles and parts and how each has a particular function.  Students have been assigned a project called, Building a Cell.  Students will create a three-dimensional model of a plant or animal cell.  Please see the project directions sheet for details.  

Many creative ideas are available to students and some are discussed in class.  Students are encouraged to use recyclable materials and other inexpensive objects that represent by shape, size and color the various organelles that are found in the cell.  Shoe boxes work great as well as plastic containers.  In the past some cells were made out of cake decorated with various types of candies each chosen carefully to represent the parts of a cell and some were made out of pizza.  Other cells have been made out of foam or Styrofoam.

This Cell project is due Friday, November 8th.  On this day students will present and share their projects.  The classroom will be a virtual cell museum.  I call this very special day, “Cell-a-Bration”.  We celebrate remarkable and amazing cells.  Students are allowed to eat the edible cells if they wish.  This is a really fun visual and kinesthetic activity that engages student learning of the cell as well as helping to reinforce concepts.


Mrs. Pratt

Looking for some activities to jazz up your class lecture on the cell and biology?  Here are a few hands-on teaching activities for middle school or high school:
Here are some cool cells to look at under a microscope:
  • Cheek cells
  • Onion cells
  • Thin smears of ripe versus green banana, stained lightly with iodine.  Says Karen Kalumuck:  “You should see sickle-shaped structures that are amyloplastics – starch storage organelles.  You’ll see more of these in one of the types of bananas than the other, and can correlate with taste.  Predict which banana will have more darkly staining amyloplasts?  What happens to the starch?
  • Compare tomato cells with pulp cells.  The skin cells are bricklike, providing structure, whereas the pulp cells are like balloons, to store starch with the lowest surface area to volume ratio.
No access to a microscope? Check out the Exploratorium’s Microscope Imaging Station — you can see videos of sea urchin cells dividing, stem cells, a zebrafish heart cell beating, and more. Any of the images here can be used in educational settings.

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