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Bottle Biology Tips

Make your own bottle constructions before introducing them to others: Cutting and hanging bottles is easy but a little practice can vastly improve your technique. By making constructions before you introduce them to a classroom or a workshop, you can work out the details and any unexpected hitches. You will also provide your audience with a model to aspire to, or even surpass.

Do Bottle Biology in cooperative groups: The mechanics of cutting bottles, the planning and filling of columns, and the observation and exploration of each project are ideal jobs for two or three students working together. Group projects can foster student discussion and also cut down on the number of columns taking up precious space.

Allow plenty of time for group discussion: These Bottle Biology projects have been developed to provoke discussion on a wide range of topics. Before diving into a construction, lead a class discussion about issues raised by the project, and what in particular you and your students would like to explore.

Reserve your right not to answer a good question: You can use Bottle Biology to promote the idea that science is not a lengthy list of facts, but a tool for exploration. When students ask questions, encourage them to think about the information they have, to predict possible answers, and to form their own methods of inquiry.

Improvise: Bottle Biology should be adapted to fit specific needs and interests. Some techniques will need to be modified as the world of plastic containers continues to evolve. Also, don't worry about repeating Bottle Biology activities. Every time you do an activity, you'll discover something new.

Bottle Biology is for teachers, parents and all students. Anyone can use soda bottles and other items from unexpected places to nurture new ideas and explore exciting science, in and out of the classroom.

Adapt Bottle Biology for any skill level: Bottle Biology is currently used in classrooms from kindergarten to college. Most of the activities can be adapted to teach a wide variety of subjects at different levels. Slightly more involved constructions and emphasize forming hypotheses and experimental design. Decomposition Column and Kimchee focus on observation and exploration and are easy to construct.

National Science Foundation   Bottle Biology, an instructional materials development program, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Wisconsin Fast Plants