10 Digital Biology Ideas for Distance Learning
Recently there has been an overwhelming need to use remote teaching or distance learning resources with our students. Unfortunately, for many teachers and administrators, there are so many digital platforms and tools to learn that it can feel near impossible to become proficient with these resources while creating content and teaching! BAH! My friends, I have been there. My hope is that I can provide some of my favorite digital Biology resources to you and save you a little bit of time in your hunt for great activities to use during the school year. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite digital Biology and Life Science activities and websites...
1. Interactive Google Slides
One of my favorite ways to get my students (and myself) familiar with new technology is through Google slides. You can embed videos, add writing responses, make games, create matching activities....just about anything can be added to the slides to make them interactive for your students. And the best part is that you can customize them however you want! These can be a little time consuming to make so you can check out mine if you don't have time to make your own. Click here to see my Biology Bundle of digital activities for the year.
2. PhET Simulations
If you haven't had your students play with PhET digital simulations, you have got to check them out! They are a lot of fun and provide many ways to differentiate the lessons/labs for your students. There are several FREE documents and labs that accompany the sims as well!
3. NOVA Labs
These online NOVA labs are so cool! Students can go on expeditions and explore relevant scientific issues around the world. There are video portions with questions, lab reports, and interactive games. You can have your students create their own accounts to save their work, or they can log in as guests. Then they can screenshot their work and submit it to you that way!
4. Google Earth Voyager
Google Earth has several educational lessons with video and questions for students to answer. This is a great way to have students complete a virtual field trip. The best part is that Google has created an HTML version of Google Earth so students can access it on a Chromebook or tablet! I used a Google Voyager lesson to go along with my Saving Coral Project Based Learning Activity and had students work in small groups as they traveled to coral reefs.
5. HHMI Biointeractive
This interactive website offers tons of different lessons, videos, and activities for teachers to use right away. Several of the activities are paperless and provided as Google documents for a digital classroom. I also love how many of the activities are quick and relate to everyday life! We enjoyed exploring the Red Tattoo Biology activity! Click here to check it out!
6. Animal WebCams
I don't know about you, but animal webcams never get old with my students....despite their age. My students always loved looking at some of their favorite animals and there are dozens of great live animal webcams. If you are covering topics like anatomy, evolution, animal behavior, or even genetics, you may want to try using a webcam to engage students. Click the link below to get my FREE animal observation worksheet. There are several of my favorite animal webcam links and a printable and digital student worksheet.
I just had students observe for several minutes (this can be done at home as well as in the classroom) and then take notes and answer the questions about their animal. Then we had a follow-up discussion as a class. Simple and fun!
I have been using this website for years now and it offers some great interactive games and activities for middle and high school students. I especially love the cancer cells webcam! You can find topics such as cell organelles, plant and animal cells, genetics, immune responses, and microscopy. Click here to check it out!
This interactive website has some great genetics labs and activities! The animations seem updated and they seem to be paired with just the right amount of text. Many of the activities have a audio recording for students who need that help. Since so much of the Next Generation Science Standards center around genetics, Learn.Genetics would be a great website to bookmark and come back to throughout the year as you progress through different units.
The exploratorium.edu website is PACKED with activities, articles, games, images, and videos! You can find activities for just about anything (not just Biology) so if you teach multiple science subjects, you definitely need to bookmark this one! The picture below came from their microscope image gallery which has all kinds of pictures and activities for students to check out!
10. Virtual Dissections
There are many reasons that doing hands-on dissections may not be a possibility for your class this year. Try a virtual dissection and skip the mess (and stink)! The Science Bank has links to several dissection videos and images of different animals for comparison. If you are teaching remotely this next year, a virtual dissection may be a great option for your class.
I hope these digital Biology websites and activities help you and save you some time. I would love to hear from you about your favorite online tools too! Comment below or find me on social media!