HHMI | Biointeractive Suite

Lesson plans are a lot like food, they require the right recipe for the right patrons, and when they're done well you can't help but fill yourself up! The life sciences discipline has a unique set of challenges to designing lesson plans, having to balance between content and skill heavy course loads with engaging experiences for students. Because students t various levels of education respond better to varying levels of each, focus surrounds creating distinctions between resources for the respective levels fo education. HHMI|Biointeractive sought to change that, and change it they did, by designing a set of life science lesson plans which are both effective at the undergraduate level, and palatable enough for high-school classrooms. Their recipe includes engaging videos, hands-on individual and group activities, and well-written, simply fun content. The lessons challenge students to think like scientists, but don't inundate them with saturated content.

Going beyond the students, the site also offers resources for professional development and access to a selection of science news articles suited for discussion or as a rewarding treat to curious minds.

To understand what the full suite of classroom resources offers, read a breakdown below of the tools available to educators looking for additional tools and activities for their students.




Storyline Viewer

Learning is not the collection of mere facts, nor solely their contextualization, but the development of a coherent story which explains a set of both observations and intuitions. Humans naturally weave our understanding of the world around us into a cohesive series of cause and effect, building upon the foundations of yesterday's experiences, and doing the same tomorrow. An educational philosophy emphasizing the progression of information is necessary to sustain an engaging learning environment. With the storyline viewer, the entire educational suite is prepared for educators to plan, implement, and visualize coherent lesson sequences, or storylines, driven by students' questions about phenomena.

The included material of each lesson includes resources grouped by the following sections:

  • Learning Goals and Science Content

  • Science Practices and Crosscutting Concepts

  • Connections between Phenomena

  • Reveal Student Thinking

  • Support and Relevance

  • Assessments

  • Additional Resources

To dig into the mechanics of the tool, let's go through one of the lesson plans available: Genetics of Lactose Intolerance.

Genetics of Lactose Intolerance includes 7 lessons which cover:

  1. What can I learn about genetics from studying lactose tolerance?

  2. How are traits passed between generations?

  3. How can knowledge about enzymes help explain why some people can digest milk? Where does a cell store the information to make proteins like the enzyme lactase?

  4. What is the evidence that lactose tolerance is inherited and might be influenced by genes? What regions of DNA are related to the phenotypes of lactose tolerance and intolerance?

  5. How can I demonstrate what I’ve learned about the inheritance of lactose tolerance?

Lesson 1 offers the relevant teaching materials, and the guide for how to prepare and deploy the materials.

Teacher Notes offer details on how to prepare for the lesson.