Photosynthesis for Kids - Science Games and Videos
This site links to a number of animations and interactive websites on the circulatory system
Photosynthesis Interactive Tutorials - Microscope
The bottle garden is a close relative of the biosphere: a tiny garden growing inside abottle, a glass sphere, or a demijohn. The main difference is that soil is the maincomponent not water. The container can be kept sealed or opened like a terrarium. Ourswill be more for just plants whereas the terrarium may have animals. These gardens in abottle, can be cured and perfected as a system, they are also very decorative, in fact youcan treat them as a bonsai with not only a single tree, but whole landscapes. A carefullychosen stone becomes a rock, a small plot of moss represents a great prairie. A contorted,little plant is now a hundred year old tree. Maybe a marsh wetlands with peat moss,mushrooms and ferns is more to your liking. Maybe appropriate succulent plants with sandand rocks for a vast desert landscape. The choice is yours. There is no rigid rule aboutbeing either an open or a closed garden. It maybe useful to keep the lid on to retainwater. Or eventually, the plants grow up and need to hang down the outside.
If the container is always sealed, the challenge becomes quite demanding. In fact, it thenis necessary to obtain an equilibrium between plants and animals in order to keep aneffective cycle of substances and energy, but if this is difficult in a predominantlywater environment, it is even more difficult in a just moist environment. So, the gardenhas to contain a moist soil, plants, little animals like terrestrial isopods (i.e.: sowbug, pill bug), earthworms, etc. Plants have to be resistant to high moisture and have asmall size and limited growth. To avoid roots rotten, you can also try to refer tohydroponics and substitute the ground with small sized expanded clay or with gravel. Inthis case you will have more difficulties in hosting animal species, so it will have to beleft open. It is important you place your garden in a cool and well illuminated place, butaway from direct sunlight. Open or closed, a bottle garden is a fascinating thing, and theidea itself of a little and self-sufficient world is fascinating as well. There are peopleso fond of bottle gardens they work at them a long time, taking care of them using longand thin tools and to observe these environments till they imagine to be one of theirinhabitants.
Then choose among these main options:
1 - Opened bottle garden, containing moist ground, plants and possible little animals. Itis suited for people who love taking care of gardens and who have a flair for
the architecture of little wide spaces.
2 - Opened bottle garden, prepared in hydroponics and containing plants. It is suited forthose who tend to forget to water their plants.
3 - Sealed bottle garden, holding moist soil, plants, and some little animals. Thisexercise is suitable for people who are keen on biology and scientific research. They willhave to find appropriate plants and animals suitable for a sealed ecosystem and will haveto achieve the necessary conditions for a long survival. This research, bibliographic inpart and experimental, will keep students happily busy for long time.
The educational value of these little ecosystems is evident. They can be carried out evenin a school, where the teacher will be allowed to illustrate their characteristics topupils and encourage interesting discussions. In the web sites below, you will findimportant practical information in building your bottle gardens.
Terrariums : Miniature Worlds in a Bottle!
BBC online, how to gardening, bottle garden
Un jardin en bouteille
Le terrarium : Un monde miniature dans une bouteille!
Internet keywords: garden bottle jar, jardin bouteille bonbonne.
An ecosystem consists of the whole community of living organisms (biocenosis), the abioticcomponent of a certain environment (biotope) and their relationships.
The relationships essentially consist in a flux of substances which pass from thenon-living components to living ones and in a flux of energy which passes from thephotosynthetic organisms (plants) to the herbivorous animals, then to carnivores. Thewastes and the dead organisms are then decomposed by the micro-organisms which brake downthe substances back to simple components, in a full cycle.
1 - With a shovel in a field or in a wood, dig a square hole of about half a meter (1 1/2feet) square and about 40 cm (18") deep. Describe the non-living components of thesoil and all forms of life you find: roots, earthworms, snails, centipedes, spiders,crickets, etc. To complete the description of the ecosystem of the soil, look forinformation on the role of each of these organisms and the relationships with the otherforms of life of this environment.
2 - In similar way you have studied the soil ecosystem, you can analyze other ecosystemssuch as the ones in a forest, pond, shore, or desert.
G. and L. Durrell (2) can be useful, or there are many other books on this matter.
An Illustration of a Soil Ecosystem
Protocols for a Soil Ecosystem Approach for Characterizing Soil Biodiversity
Internet keywords: soil ecosystem.
Campbellscience - Photosynthesis websites
It is not easy to write a conclusion for such a heterogeneous series ofexperiments. However, we hope you have appreciated this technique of gathering manybriefly described experiments in a single article. At least it offers you many choices. Wenow ask for your help: please report to us the links which are not working any more; tellus about other interesting sites; tell us what experiments you would like to see treatedin a more detail; send us other comments and suggestions. You can use the evaluation cardbelow. Will you help us?
Until the end of the 17th century, people believed that little animals like flies andworms could spontaneously be born from substances in decomposition or from mud. FrancescoRedi, Lazzaro Spallanzani and Louis Pasteur made experiments which proved the idea of thespontaneous generation was wrong. At your home or in your school you can made suchexperiments too.
1 - Take two glass jars with a screw top. Put in each a little piece of cooked apple and aspoon of vinegar. For a night, leave one of these jars opened so it can be visited byvinegar (fruit) flies. Close the other jar with the lid and sterilize it by placing it inboiling water in a pressure cooker for a half an hour. After removing it from the cooker,let it cool, leaving it closed. The morning after, let the possible bugs present into thefirst jar leave and then close it with a fine gauze or a plastic sheet on which you willmake some pinholes to allow oxygen to enter. After a few days, you should see some bugs inthe first jar, and none in the second one. What has happened in the first jar which hasnot happened in the second? Some vinegar flies laid eggs in the first jar and from themsome new flies are born. In the second jar, even if there had been eggs, these are deadbecause of high temperature in the pressure cooker. More eggs were not laid because thejar was kept closed. With experiments like this one, you can realize that living beingscannot born from nothing, but they are born from other organisms like them. Fall is themore suited season to do this experiment because vinegar flies are particularly active.
2 - Anyway you can try to adapt this experiment to organisms present at other times of theyear. For example, if you place some dry grass in a water glass, in few days a deal ofprotists will appear. If instead you will put the same material in a close glass pot andif you boil it, nothing will be born. Only some rare thermoresistant microorganisms,bacteria which resist the high temperature of boiling water.
... Uhm, and still there is something which is not working: if any living being comes fromanother living being, from where has come the first living being from which all others arederived? Can we consider completely falsified the theory of the spontaneous generationwith these experiments? Is it possible to assert that, even if the spontaneous generationis not the usual way with which living creatures are born, at least at one time duringbillions of years it has happened on the Earth or another place in the Universe? It is noaccident that there are scientists who study how life began in the first place.
Internet keywords: spontaneous generation.
This website gives you a background on photosynthesis…
A lot of organisms emit light. Of course you know fireflies, but there are also otherluminescent organisms such as some fishes, mushrooms, bacteria, dinoflagellates, andshellfishes. The culture of luminescent bacteria is not difficult. What you have to do isto get a strain of luminescent and harmless bacteria and raise it in a suitable culturemedium. A bacterium widely cultured and used also for lessons in schools is the Photobacteriumphosphoreum, now renamed: Vibrio phosphoreum.
Search for information about the mechanism of the bioluminescence. You can findinformation for this culture and general information on the Internet at sites listedlater. There is a lot of information on bioluminescence on the Internet. There are evenamateur sites devoted to this topic. You can buy the Vibrio phosphoreum at commercially,such as the ATCC (American Type Culture Collection) .You can find other firms of this type on the Internet, using the keywords: culturecollection. Also try the links for the protists experiment. These companies also supplythe culture media and in their sites you can often read their composition.
: In these experiments, need thehelp of a biologist to avoid culturing dangerous microorganisms. Even with help, keep thecultures only for a short time, wash your hands, wash and disinfect all tools which havebeen in contact with the cultures.
Utilisation Pedagogique de Bacteries Luminescentes (in French)
Bioluminescence in Plankton and Nekton (there is a list of luminescent organisms)
Flash! Bacterial illumination
Isolation of Pure Cultures Of Bacteria (Please, read the safety warnings present inthis website)
Bioluminescence Web sites
Internet Keyword: luminous bacteria luminescent bioluminescence luciferin luciferase.
To find companies which sell strains of microorganisms use the keywords: culturecollection.
Are the insects which fly around lamps at night attracted by light or heat? To find out,use a clothing iron and an electric lamp. The electric lamp produces light with a littleheat, the iron produces only heat. Put both on a table. Keep them at least a meter (abouta yard) apart and with the emitting surfaces turned away from you. Note the differentbehavior of insects. Mask the lamp with plastic sheets of different colors and verify ifbugs are more attracted to a particular color. This is also a method to capture nighttimeinsects, particularly moths, so you can observe them with a lens or a stereoscopicmicroscope.
The beauty of butterflies makes their culture particularly charming. Do not believe you will immediately have these beautiful insects, in fact for most of the time you will have to raise caterpillars and preserve pupae. Only at the end will you have butterflies. To culture these pretty insects, you first have to read texts about lepidoptera and practice in the field. In this way you will learn how to find butterfly eggs, to raise caterpillars and to keep pupae, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. Usually, butterflies prefer one or a few kinds of plants called hostplants. Caterpillars feed only on these plants and it is only on these that the adult female lays her eggs. So, in order to find the eggs of a given species of butterfly it is necessary to know which are its hostplants and when they lay eggs.
You should breed caterpillars in well ventilated cages. They have to be closed with mosquito net to avoid predators (figure 14). In fact, many bugs lay their eggs in the body of caterpillars. You have to feed your caterpillars with fresh leafy branches of the host plant. To do this you can pot these plants and insert them in the cage, or you can insert the cage over a branch without cutting it from the plant. If this is not possible, cover a branch of the plant with a cloth bag including the caterpillars. Cure the pupae according the suggestions in the books. When butterflies emerge from their cocoon, free them where you have collected the eggs. If you want to keep some adults to admire them, put them in cages like the one of the figure 14 and nourish them with mixtures of water and honey. Often, the caterpillars you find in nature are victim of bugs which lay their eggs on the caterpillar. In this case, there are little dark spots on the caterpillar skin. You can raise these caterpillars to study their parasites.
Butterfly Gardening and Conservation
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Conservation Project
Caterpillar Hostplants Database
Unsure About Butterfly Releases?
Internet keywords: butterfly breeding culture.
Study photosynthesis in a variety of conditions
Oxygen production is used to measure the rate of photosynthesis
Photosynthesis Interactive (HTML5) - Bioman Bio
Links to photosynthesis, food web, and energy in plants and animals sites on the internet.
Plants - Interactive Learning Sites for Education
Biology Online Interactive Activities - UEN
Making an aquarium or a terrarium is not a complicated thing. Learning to build them isvery useful for those who are fond of breeding animals, observing them, taking picturesand movies. You can use an aquarium to breed fish, amphibians, protists, algae, artemia,shrimps, etc. You can use a terrarium to breed many species of animals, but avoid raisingspecies which suffer in captivity. Aquaria and terrariums can be used also to take picturesof animals temporarily taken from their environment.
In their simpler form, acquaria and terrariums are simple glass boxes enclosed on 5 sidesand which can be provided with a lid. This simple container is suitable to breedamphibians and as a terrarium. Aquaria for fish require a compartment for a filter, a pumpfor water circulation, another pump for air, a thermostat, lighting, etc. We'll deal ofthe simplest aquaria.
How you can build an aquarium? In first you have to make a drawing. The bottom glass hasto be surrounded by the other four walls and it has to be the thickest. The thickness ofthe plates has to be proportioned to the size of the aquarium. Avoid building too wide,and more importantly, too high an aquarium. The pressure of the water increases and couldunglue the plates. After having drawn the acquarium you have to cut the glass plates bymeans of a glasscutter. To do this keep the glasscutter vertical and push down with forcewhile you move it along a ruler. This operation require practice, so use some scrap piecesuntil you have the necessary manual ability. It is important you use a sharp glasscutter,kept in oil to avoid rust. Before gluing the slabs, you have to round off the edges withsandpaper in order to remove their sharp edges. With some acetone, clean the slabs wherethe silicone rubber will be deposited. As the acetone is toxic, work outdoor or in a wellventilate piece. Use high quality transparent silicone. To keep the internal walls free ofexcessive glue, on the slabs and near the gluing positions, place stripes of sticking tape(figure 6). When the silicone is cured, remove these stripes and the excess glue.
: handling and cutting glass is a dangerousoperation which has to be made only by adult people wearing gloves and a heavy apron. Away to elegantly solve this problem is to order plates. A hardware or building supplystore can help. Never move aquaria and terrariums containing water or stones, move them onlywhen they are empty. Do not place aquaria in positions where a water leak could damagesomething below them, for example over electrical devices or sockets, and books. Onlyadults should handle glass-made aquaria or terrariums. Give children transparent plastictanks. Do not keep dangerous or rare organisms. Do not breed and most important, do notfree species which do not belong to your environment! Do not free sick animals or plants.
Reef Aquarium Guide
CyberAqua (list of links)
Internet keywords: aquarium glass homemade.
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