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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Ecology and Environmental Science
Category: Science
Tags: ecology environmental science earth day


Free textbooks, virtual labs, interactives, and activities for building an ecology unit: 

Textbooks: If you want to use a textbook to structure your unit, check out CK-12's Intro to Ecology, with 35 sections covering ecosystems and related topics. Sections include reading, related videos and links, and online practice questions. You can easily create your own "Flexbook" with only the sections you want to cover. The Ecology chapter is part of CK-12's Life Science textbook. 

HippoCampus Environmental Science VideosInformation on Earth's atmosphere, water, geology, and ecosystems.

Exploring Planet Earth: Free online course presented in 10 modules covering Earth's systems and resources.

Click the image below for an interactive worksheet on Earth Day:

Here are some links to free resources for explaining and learning about various ecology topics through interactives, labs, assignments and activities. 

Levels of Organization: This Glencoe Virtual Lab is an investigation of how competition for natural resources affects population growth. Grow two species of Paramecium, compare growth curves, answer journal questions.

Food Chains/Webs

  • Energy Flow in Ecosystems: Shows how energy flows through a food chain between producers, consumers and decomposers. Includes a short quiz.

Predators and Prey

  • Predator-Prey Simulation: Examine predator and prey interactions, in this case, wolves and deer. Set three parameters for the predator: aggression, birth rate, and dependency upon prey as a food source. Then run a simulation to see how the populations change over time.

Symbiosis and Other Interactions:

This video on symbiosis is part of a TED-Ed lesson that includes questions and additional information. 

Nature Cycles:

  • Water Cycle: Interactive diagram with a multiple choice quiz.
  • Carbon Cycle: Travel the cycle with this interactive game. Click the "For Teachers" link for a related lesson plan and additional resources.
  • Carbon Cycle Investigation: A longer simulation activity in which sources of carbon, and human effects on the cycle are identified.
  • Nitrogen Cycle: A description of all the cycles are found here, but the one for nitrogen is an interactive diagram. (Click on page 4).

Photosynthesis and Respiration

  • Virtual Lab: A simulation investigating the effects of environmental conditions on photosynthesis.
  • Interactive Google Doc: 

Earth's Biomes:

  • Six Virtual Biomes: Description of plant and animal life in the major biomes and ecosystems.

Habitats and Ecosystems: 

  • DK Find Out: Interactive illustrations on plants and animals in different habitats. 


  • Backyard Biodiversity: Kids search for animal life in microhabitats close to home. Involves observation, classification, and species mapping. Includes links to several citizen science projects.
  • Endangered Species Assignment: Using, create a graphic organizer comparing 4 endangered species from an area of the world.

Environmental Problems and Solutions

Energy Resources

  • Energy Story: Online book with 20 chapters you can click into to learn about different sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, natural gas, wind, hydro and solar energy, etc. Click into the teacher resources for a list of lesson plans.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Water, Water Everywhere
Category: Science
Tags: water water cycle ecosystems desalination

Here are some free resources to learn all about water, starting with this activity that demonstrates desalination.

More Resources:

Water Use and ConservationActivities and videos.

 Estimation and Graphing Activity:

Free Notebooking Activity:

Water Activity Book: Grades K-3

Water In Our Daily Lives: Lessons, worksheets, and animation describing where water comes from, and how it moves and is affected by different factors, like runoff. The learning material uses New York City as an example, but suggests how to adapt it to any city or town.

Interactive Water Cycle Diagram and Quiz

Salt in Ecosystems: (accompanying worksheet)

Science Concepts Learned From Water: (Read the full article)

Free Genetics Resources
Category: Science
Tags: genetics dna what is a gene dna structure dna models

The University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Center offers two sites for learning the basics of DNA:

LearnGenetics: Here, you’ll be presented with an animated tour of DNA, videos that explain how genetic traits are passed from one generation to the next, and a look inside of a cell. You can see how cells compare in size to molecules, atoms, and other objects, and build a DNA molecule.

TeachGenetics: The companion website to the one above, here, you’ll find ready-to-use “print-and-go” activities with instructions, worksheets, visuals, and answer keys. For example, you can download Have Your DNA and Eat It Too which includes instructions for making edible DNA with Twizzlers and mini marshmallows.

More Readings, Videos and Activities: 

Glencoe textbook chapters on: Mendel and Meiosis; DNA and Genes; Patterns of Heredity; Genetic Technology.

Punnett Squares Virtual Lab

Make a Monster Traits Activity and Instructions

Howard Hughes Medical InstituteLearn about DNA, stem cells, and genomics and chemical genetics, among other topics. Most topics feature videos, animations, interactives, and articles. In the “Classroom” section of the site, you will find activities and teachers guides.

DNA From the BeginningReadings, animations and videos covering topics in Genetics.

BrainPop on Heredity


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