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Going Virtual with Biology Labs

I know many of you are planning for different circumstances in your Biology classrooms this year. In the last few years, large populations of students learned virtually and many schools forbid science labs even in face-to-face environments, so naturally, teachers were looking for virtual lab options. Many free virtual Biology lab options are available, but rather than taking your precious planning time to research them, I’ve done some leg work for you.

Virtual Biology Labs

In addition to virtual labs, there are some easy labs that students can do at home with household materials. Having taught homeschool Biology for the past 10 years with very small budgets, I have a lot of experience creating inexpensive labs that can be done at home. I have put some of my video labs on my YouTube channel or you can find 5 free at-home Biology labs that I’ve used in the past.

Here’s a collection of some websites with virtual labs and simulations.

*Please note- I have experience with some of these sites, but not all. If you find information that is in error, please let me know.

Virtual science lessons and labs
  • PhET – Over 150 virtual simulations for math and science (Free)
  • HHMI BioInteractive– This site provides real science and data for students to explore through virtual labs (Free)
  • Biology Simulations – This site has guided labs and also provides options for students to conduct their own inquiry experiments. (Free)
  • Jon Darkow– Large collection of computational models for biology and ecology (Free)
  • LabXChange – Check out this Harvard site’s library of over 300 simulations, interactives, and case studies on a wide variety of science topics. All for free!
  • Nova Labs – Growing site that has a couple of great free virtual labs that would connect with your biology content!
  • Virtual Biology Lab– Simulations for ecology, evolution, and cell biology. Great for analyzing data because no two simulations have the same result. (Free)
  • Bioman Biology– Several games and virtual activities for various life science topics. (Free)
  • Learn Genetics by the University of Utah- Cell Biology, genetics, and human anatomy simulations, articles, and games. They are slowly changing over from Flash. (Free)
  • Wisconsin Fast Plants Simulations– Great for inheritance labs if you can’t grow the actual plants in class. (Free)
  • Virtual Microscope– Simulated microscope with usage directions and several slides to explore.
  • Labster This site provides realistic lab experiences that let students virtually practice their skills (Free trial accounts will provide up to 8 simulations for a class for free!)
  • FlyLab JS– Students can learn the principles of genetic inheritance through virtual experimentation. (Free)
  • E-Mind Virtual Dissections – Includes virtual dissections of a Frog, Fish, Fly, Pig, Cat and Invertebrate. There is also a virtual microscope to look at cells. (Each demo is 5.99)
  • Pivot Interactives– Video library of real experiments for students to analyze and collect data. ($5-$10)
  • Explore Learning – There are over 400 Gizmos (online simulations) covering math and science in this site’s library. (Free trial gives access to 40 changing gizmos each month; Paid memberships – $149/yr for home use; custom pricing for schools)
  • For Anatomy:
  • Histology Guide– High-quality microscope images for the human body.
  • Virtual Microscopy – Labeled microscope slides for all systems of the body.

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