Science experiments can be complex or simplistic, but all scientific experiments shed light on a particular discipline of the sciences, such as biology, using the scientific method. Identifying a problem to be tested, listing possible outcomes, and experimenting lead to observations and scientific evidence. Biology experiments, which you can learn more of in An Introduction to Basic Biology, help students learn about living things. These hands-on activities are sneaky ways to learn and have fun. Try some of these experiments to explore scientific concepts.
Biology is so significant because, without it, we would not have doctors, geneticists, veterinarians or agriculturalists. It is, in essence, the study of life. All careers, in the medical field, need to have a comprehensive understanding of biology. Here are some experiments designed to engage students and get them pumped up for the wonderful world that is biology!
Create a Volcano
Volcanoes impact ocean life and change the landforms in the ocean floor. Volcanoes affect plant life and humanity. Lava and ash can destroy trees, but in the long run, the ashes act as fertilizer in the soil; thereby creating some of the most fertile soil on the earth. Volcanoes cannot be recreated on a large scale, but a smaller version demonstrates the processes of a volcanic eruption.
This experiment can be elaborate or simplistic, depending upon the type of volcano that is built. A paper bag works well as an inexpensive base for the volcano. You will need the following supplies:
- A plastic bottle filled with a cup of white vinegar
- a splash of red food coloring,
- approximately one-quarter cup of ordinary baking soda
Remove the lid from the bottle and place the bottle inside the bag with the bottom of the bag covering the top of the bottle, tear a hole in the bottom of the bag and secure the bag to the edges of the bottle so that it stays in place. Wrinkle the brown paper lunch bag around the bottle so that it resembles a mountain. Pour the vinegar and food coloring into the bottle when you are almost ready for the eruption. Make sure that you have a tray underneath your volcanic cone to catch the lava flow, or are outside before the eruption takes place. Use a funnel or a folded piece of paper to pour the baking soda into the bottle of dyed vinegar. Then, stand back and watch as the eruption takes place.
The vinegar and baking soda cause a chemical reaction: a build-up of carbon dioxide that causes the “lava” to flow. Actual volcanoes spew carbon dioxide also.
A secondary lesson from this experiment is learning that trees and plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, and they create and expel oxygen into the air. The carbon dioxide produced by the volcano is absorbed by the plants and when mixed with water create oxygen for life forms to breathe. You might also have to create a research paper regarding your findings. Courses such as, A+ Research Paper in Biology helps!
Neuroscience Experiment — Testing your senses:
Test your sense of taste. Choose a variety of liquid drinks that are sour, sweet, and bitter. Pour them in unmarked cups. Taste each liquid. Record the type of flavor and the reactions of your taste buds.
Lung Capacity Experiment
You will need a balloon for this experiment. Blow up the balloon to determine how much air your lungs can expel as you blow up the balloon. Another biology experiment you can look into is, The Aerobic Respiration Equation: A Defense of Sugar.
Identification of Insects
For an outdoor activity, investigate the insects and bugs that you might find in your yard. Take a magnifying glass, a camera, and a notebook along to record your findings. After you discover the insect and write down its characteristics, you can use resources to identify the type of insects and bugs that you encountered on your exploration. Listing similarities of each type will help you become more observant and be a better entomologist.
Flowers Drink Water
Clip a white flower with a long stem, such as a pale rose, and place it in a clear jar. Add a drop of food coloring to the water. As the flower absorbs/drinks the water through the stem, the petals of the flower will change color. This demonstrates how a flower absorbs the water to nourish the petals.
Finding out how seeds produce plants is a great experiment for children. It amazes students of all ages, and it is a very simple process. The first step is to collect empty baby food jars. Fill the jars with water and place a seed in it. A regular bag of pinto beans is an economical seed to use in this experiment. Place the experimental jars in the sunlight. Record the daily changes noted in the jar. Before long, the seed will sprout, and your experiment will be a success!
For this experiment, you will need two identical potted plants, both at the same growth stage. Place one in direct sunlight by a window. Place the other away from the light source. Keep all other variables the same: water both plants at the same time of day, and make sure that the potting soil is the same consistency. Record the changes in the plants. The plant that is farther from the light source will lean and grow toward the light. The other will flourish in the sunlight. This experiment will demonstrate the necessity of sunlight for plants.
Sound and Blood Pressure
For this experiment, you will need a blood pressure cuff and a stereo with a variety of music samples. Loud, atrocious noises ordinarily increase a person’s blood pressure. Soothing music such as lullabies or classical pieces decrease blood pressure. Pleasant music with a faster tempo can increase the blood pressure and pulse rate, as well. Use a variety of test subjects to compare and record the findings.
Smells and Saliva
Gather a group of friends for this experiment. With an adult’s help, have a delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen. Ask the group if they noticed any changes in the amount of saliva as they inhale the aroma of baking cookies, freshly squeezed oranges, or another delicious entrée. Record your findings. Most people will find that they salivate more when they smell something delicious. It is an uncontrollable reflex.
Does the Weather Affect Mood?
Record the mood of people on cloudy days. Most people will have gloomy outlooks when the weather is bad. Record the mood of people while the sun is shining, and the weather is warm. Vitamin D acquired from sunlight is a mood booster, and most people will be in a jollier frame of mind when the sun is shining. Ask your friends to try this experiment as well to compare a larger amount of data. Chart the results and determine if this experiment proves that winter blues exist.
Do Heart Rates and Blood Pressure Vary Throughout the Day?
This experiment can be done alone or with a group. A blood pressure cuff and a pulse fingertip Oximeter are the necessary tools for this experiment. The oximeter is placed on the fingertip to measure the amount of oxygen the body is receiving and the pulse rate. This can be checked on a set schedule, while walking, sitting, standing, or lying down. Checking the blood pressure throughout the day using the blood pressure cuff will also determine if variances occur. Be sure to record the time of day, the activity of the person, and the results of each measurement. Chart the data. In addition, GCSE Biology: OCR B1 gives you even more information about how your body is affected by various stimuli.
Does Smiling Affect Moods?
As a behavioral experiment, smile at everyone you meet. Record your impression of the person before you encounter them and after you have greeted them with a smile. Try this in a variety of locations where you will encounter a variety of age groups. Be sure to record the age range and gender of the person, and whether or not they were already in a good mood before the smile was offered as a greeting.
Place cooled coffee grounds on the bottom of the experimental location. Add grass clippings a foot deep in a pile on top of the coffee grounds. Measure the temperature when you first place the items there. Measure the temperature at the surface, midway into the pile, and at the bottom of the heap. Record your results for seven to ten days. Record the changes in the appearance of the grass clippings that are on top. There will definitely be a large range of temperature differences as time and depth progresses. Record your findings and explain why you think these temperature readings are occurring.
Congratulations! After you have conducted any of these experiments, you are now a scientist! Scientists collect data to determine how and why things work in a scientific way. They set up a problem to solve and project possible outcomes. The experiments are designed to confirm the hypotheses or disprove them. There are no wrong experiments in science; there are only learning and discovering experiences.