Guest Hollow’s High School Biology Curriculum Lab and Activities Supply List

Get a printable supply list when you purchase the Biology Curriculum Schedule!

Labs, experiments, and activities are an important part of a biology program. We have a variety of lab choices listed. You should NOT do them all! Think of this as a buffet of lab choices. You will need to choose labs based on your interest(s) and budget. We’ve seen biology programs that only have dissection labs and others that skip them altogether. We think it’s more balanced to do different types of labs and my choices reflect that.

There are several lab options

First, I will explain your lab options for the year, and then farther down below I will list the supplies for each week.

Option 1:

Note: In Lab III-4 there is a reference to evolution.

The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

The benefit of the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments is that the text is FREE. It’s also quite rigorous and includes a variety of biology labs covering a lot of different subjects.

The downside is that if you want to purchase a kit of supplies, you’ll be set back by over $200 or so. An option to spending so much money and still using this book is going through the experiments and figuring out which ones you can accomplish without buying the kit.

The authors state that even if you do only a third or fourth of the labs, you’ll still accomplish quite a bit of lab work. Having said all that, we did NOT use it. We just did many of the “extra” labs instead as I found that was more cost effective (and fun) for our family.

If you use this book, you will need to purchase the kit that goes with it as well as a microscope:

Home School Biology Laboratory Kit
This kit does NOT contain all of the supplies you will need for the labs in this book. See the supply list farther down below for additional items.

Microscope
You will need a compound microscope. We don’t recommend any specific microscope, although the Amscope seems to have some good options.

Option 2:

Red Cabbage Indicator Jiffy Juice Kit

Guest Hollow Labs

I’ve chosen a variety of labs for the year for you to pick-and-choose from. Instructions for these labs are in the linked web pages in the schedule or are in the instructions that come with some of the kits.

Please note that we are NOT responsible for these links and kits. We merely link to them. Please report any dead links, and we’ll find a replacement activity asap!

These labs are intended for you to pick-and-choose from depending on your budget, time constraints, and student interest.

Some of the labs and activities are featured in Ellen McHenry’s Book: Cells (which is scheduled in). You will need this optional book to do the Cells activities.

This is the option I chose when doing this curriculum with my son. We did NOT do all of the activities listed.

Option 3:

You can mix-and-match labs from the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments and the Guest Hollow options as desired. Just make sure to look at the supply list ahead of time to plan out your labs (so you have the necessary items on hand)!

Lab F.A.Q.

Do I have to do every lab and activity in the schedule?

No! When I was using this curriculum with my son, we didn’t do all of the activities. There just isn’t enough time in most schedules to get to them all. Having said that, I believe it’s important your student gets to as many as is feasible for your budget and time constraints. You may want to take photos of your student’s projects for record keeping and also to have fun memories to look back on!

Is it OK to substitute a different activity for one that’s scheduled?

Yes! You may want to do a similar but different experiment or activity than some that are scheduled. Some students may be squeamish and unable to handle dissections. In that case, you may wish to watch a video or find a different activity that covers the same topics being studied. Perhaps you’ve found a specific activity for one of the biology topics while browsing Pinterest or another source…Feel free to add it in! Remember, YOU are in charge, not the schedule!

Supply List

Note: The lab supplies for the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments are in a tan row to more easily distinguish them from the Guest Hollow lab options. The Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments (IGHBE) lab supplies listed below DO NOT include kit items. If you purchase the kit that goes with this book, please reference it for any other items you made need for the IGHBE labs.

Week 1

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab I-1 Using a Microscope

  • lamp or book light
  • microscope and illuminator
  • scissors
  • slide, prepared (bacteria or diatoms)
  • specimen: notebook or copy paper
  • specimen: snippet from cover of this book
  • gloves

Lab I-2 Mounting Specimens

  • gloves
  • butane lighter
  • raw carrot
  • microscope
  • petroleum jelly
  • human hair
  • toothpicks
  • vegetable oil
  • distilled water
  • pond water

Guest Hollow Labs

Using a microscope lab and printable

  • newspaper
  • scissors
  • microscope
  • microscope slide
  • cover slip
  • dropper
  • water
  • tweezers
  • paper towel

Is yeast alive?

Is yeast alive experiment
A picture of the “Is Yeast Alive?” experiment

Week 2

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session III-2: Carbohydrates and Lipids

  • gloves
  • butane lighter
  • butter
  • diet sweetener
  • unsweetened fruit juice
  • honey
  • Isopropanol
  • marking pen
  • microwave
  • microscope
  • whole milk
  • non-dairy creamer
  • onion
  • paper bag (brown)
  • peanut
  • potato
  • colorless soft drink
  • table sugar
  • vegetable oil

Guest Hollow Labs

Who took Jerell’s iPod – an organic compound mystery 
(Testing items to see if they contain carbohydrates, lipids or proteins.) Scroll down the page to see the linked experiment.

Chemistry of Food Experiment Kit
This is an alternative to the activity linked above.

chemistry of food experiment kit

Exothermic Reaction Make your own Hot Ice!

  • household vinegar
  • baking soda
  • 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • plastic cup
  • plastic bowl
  • measuring cup
  • aluminum foil
  • measuring spoons
  • stove
  • cooking pot
  • fridge

 Endothermic reaction  – Ice Cream in a baggie

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla flavoring (vanillin)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sodium chloride (NaCl) as table salt or rock salt
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1-quart ZiplocTM bag
  • 1-gallon plastic zip bag
  • thermometer
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • cups and spoons
Ice cream in a bag experiment
My son enjoyed this experiment! We both enjoyed eating the results!

Video lab (after reading the section on enzymes): Amylase Experiment 

  • bread or cracker
  • your mouth

Online Activity: Enzyme catalysis

  • No supplies are needed.

Week 3

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session III-3: Proteins, Enzymes, and Vitamins

  • gloves
  • blood from uncooked meat
  • desk lamp
  • raw egg white
  • freezer
  • hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • Isopropanol 99%
  • marking pen
  • microwave
  • black paper or cloth
  • paper towels
  • starch water
  • urine
  • distilled water

IGHBE: Lab Session III-1: Acids, Bases, and Buffers

  • gloves
  • marking pen
  • paper towel
  • scissors
  • specimens from last lab
  • distilled water

Guest Hollow Labs

Experiments with acids and bases

  • red cabbage
  • stove
  • pan
  • distilled water
  • white paper
  • scissors
  • cup(s)
  • various items from around the house to test like cola, baking soda, milk, aspirin, etc.
  • Optional: Red cabbage indicator Jiffy Juice Kit (instead of cooking cabbage and making your own)

Online activity: pH Scale (PHET interactive)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Week 4

Cells Book Activities

Build a fluid mosaic model

  • mini-marshmallows
  •  shallow tray with sides
  •  apple
  •  a few toothpicks
  • knife to cut apple
My son made this fluid mosaic model!

Merging of membranes simulation

  • white plate
  •  cooking oil
  •  water

Golgi body cookies

  • cookie dough
  • icing
  • optional candies or food items to decorate the cookies

Week 5

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session VII-1: Observing Specialized Eukaryotic Cells

  • gloves
  • elodea leaf
  • microscope
  • raw onion
  • prepared slides
  • distilled water

Lab Session IV-2: Investigating Osmosis

  • gloves
  • balance
  • 2 raw eggs
  • foam cups
  • graph paper, calculator or software
  • marking pen
  • paper towels
  • syrup (maple, waffle, etc.)
  • distilled white vinegar
  • watch or clock with a 2nd hand

Guest Hollow Labs

Osmosis Eggs or watch an Osmosis Eggs Video

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 glasses (large enough to fit the egg plus liquid)
  • 3 butter knives
  • white vinegar (about 3 cups)
  • distilled water (about 2 cups)
  • light corn syrup (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • slotted spoon
  • measuring cup (1 cup)
  • Mmeasuring spoons (1 tablespoon and ½ tablespoon)
  • sticky notes and marker
  • scale (optional)

Osmosis Set
Do one experiment about osmosis and one for diffusion.

This is an alternative to the activity linked above.

  • corn syrup
  • corn starch
Osmosis Kit

Week 6

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session IV-1: Chlorophyll and Photosynthesis

  • gloves
  • optional coin with milled edge
  • cotton balls
  • Elodea
  • Isopropanol, 70%
  • various leaves
  • light source
  • measuring tape or meter stick
  • microscope
  • microwave
  • saucer
  • scissors
  • soda straw
  • toothpicks (plastic)
  • UV light source (optional)
  • watch or clock with 2nd hand
  • distilled water

Guest Hollow Labs

Photosynthesis in Elodea

  • sprig of Elodea (an aquatic plant available at some pet or garden stores)
  • Bromothymol blue solution
  • transparent plastic films of different colors (heat resistant)
  • masking tape
  • clamp lights
  • test tubes or small glasses (one for each color and two additional as controls)
  • plastic wrap
  • aluminum foil

 AP Photosynthesis Lab

As the chloroplasts absorb light, they produce oxygen bubbles which eventually cause the leaves in the experiment to float. You can reproduce this lab at home using:

  • spinach leaves
  • syringe
  • water
  • baking soda
  • source of light (natural or artificial)
  • paper hole punch

Cells Book Activities

Respiration relay

  • Scissors
  •  staplers
  •  black paper
  • white paper
  • colored paper
  • cotton balls
  •  glue
  •  yarn
  •  rope or heavy string
  •  maker
  • items from chapter 3 activity 2 etc.

Week 7

Cells Book Activities

Diffusion in water

  • clear glass of water
  • drops of food coloring
  • watch/clock

Diffusion in the air

  • bacon
  • pan
  • stove

Electron transport chain relay

  • colored card stock
  • patterns printed out
  • clear tape
  •  scissors
  • objects to use as tokens – see book for suggestions

Week 8

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session IV-3: Investigating Cell Division

  • microscope
  • prepared slide: onion tip / plant mitosis
  • prepared slide: animal mitosis

Want to just look at slide pictures online? Click the links below:
Onion tip mitosis slides
Animal mitosis slides

Guest Hollow Labs

There are no Guest Hollow labs this week.

Week 9

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

There are no IGHBE labs this week.

Guest Hollow Labs

Drake Breeder’s Guild Meiosis Lab (Yay! Let’s breed some dragons!)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Week 10

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session VI-1: Exploring Mendelian Genetics

  • No additional supplies are needed for this activity.

Guest Hollow Labs

Drosophila genetics simulation

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.


Wisconsin Fast Plants Dihybrid Genetics Student Kit

Click here for a PDF that schedules out this experiment and other activities over 45 days.

Want to purchase seeds instead of a kit? Check out: https://fastplants.org/shop/

Wisconsin Fast Plants® Dihybrid Genetics Student Kit

Week 11

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

There are no IGHBE labs this week.

Guest Hollow Labs

Pea Plants: Blending Inheritance (online activity)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Mendel Pea Simulation (online activity)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Punnett Squares with Skittles

  • Skittles or other similar candy (or items like buttons, etc.) in 6 different colors
  • 6 different colored plastic eggs to match the colors of candy (or pockets of construction paper)
  • printable worksheet

Week 12

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session III-5: Extracting, Isolating, and Visualizing DNA

  • Gloves
  • Optional balance
  • Beef or pork liver or yeast
  • Cheesecloth or muslin, etc.
  • Isopropanol
  • Freezer
  • Microscope
  • Paper towels
  • Saucer
  • Table salt
  • Teaspoon
  • Toothpick
  • Distilled water

Guest Hollow Labs

Extracting DNA from Strawberries

  • 100 ml dishwashing liquid (or shampoo without conditioner) 900 ml water
  • 15 grams of salt 1-2 fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Ziploc bag
  • Coffee filter
  • Clear glass or test tube
  • Cup or beaker or similar container
  • Isopropanol alcohol
Extracting DNA science experiment
We had fun with this experiment. Click on the experiment link to see more pictures!

Make an Edible DNA Model

  • 2 pieces of red licorice
  • 12 toothpicks
  •  colored mini marshmallows

Reading DNA

  • edible DNA models from the previous activity
  • black licorice
  • printable worksheet and answer key
  • crayons
  • colored mini marshmallows
  • black marker (a Sharpie would work fine)
  • toothpicks

DNA to Protein (online activity)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Modeling Transcription (online activity)

  • No supplies are needed for this activity.

Modeling Translation (online activity)

No supplies are needed for this activity.

Cells Book Activities

Protein pencil topper

  • pencil
  •  eraser
  •  12 pipe cleaners
  •  craft beads

Week 13

There are no labs this week.

Week 14

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session III-6: Build a Gel Electrophoresis Apparatus

  • aluminum foil
  • 9V batteries (5, 7 or 9)
  • gel casting comb materials (see text)
  • marking pen
  • plastic containers
  • scissors
  • tape (electrical or masking)

Guest Hollow Labs

Make your own gel electrophoresis apparatus video and instructions

  • small rectangular plastic box
  • stainless steel wire (24-18 gauge)
  • wire cutters
  • 5 nine-volt batteries
  • 2 alligator clip leads
  • kitchen scale or measuring spoons
  • baking soda
  • bottled water
  • agarose powder
  • microwave
  • 3 food coloring dyes
  • measuring utensil (graduated cylinder)

Week 15

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session III-7: Simulated DNA Gel Electrophoresis

  • gel electrophoresis apparatus (from previous lab)
  • measuring spoons
  • microwave
  • 2-liter soda bottle (empty and clean)
  • table salt
  • baking soda
  • toothpicks
  • water

Guest Hollow Labs

Transgenic Fly Lab (online activity)

  • There are no supplies needed for this activity.

Week 16

There are no labs this week.

Week 17

There are no labs this week.

Week 18

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session II-1: Building Microcosms

Note: This is a long-term project. See the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments book for more details.

  • gloves
  • brown paper bag
  • camera (optional)
  • eggshell and yolk
  • funnel
  • wide-mouth jars
  • mixing bowl
  • newspaper
  • pond water
  • pond sediment
  • pond vegetation
  • soft drink bottles (1 liter)
  • ladle, trowel or scoop
  • water (spring or boiled tap)

Lab Session II-2: Observing Succession in Aquarium Microcosms

Note: This is a long-term project. See the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments book for more details.

  • Gloves
  • Aquarium microcosms (from preceding lab)
  • Particulate masks, N100
  • Pond life reference material
  • Watch or clock with 2nd hand

Lab Session II-3: Observing the Effects of Pollution in Microcosms

  • gloves
  • foam cup
  • pond sediment/vegetation from lab II-1
  • tablespoon
  • water, spring or boiled tap

Guest Hollow Labs

There are no Guest Hollow labs for this week.

Week 19

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session V-1: Sampling Plant Populations in a Community

  • gloves
  • assistant
  • optional camera with macro feature
  • hammer or mallet
  • field guides to plants and trees for your region
  • plastic bags for specimens
  • pocketknife
  • scissors
  • stakes or sticks
  • string or cord (250 ft or 75 meters)
  • tape measure

Lab Session V-2: Observing the Effect of Rhizobia on Plant Growth

Note: This project lasts 6 weeks.

  • gloves
  • balance
  • chlorine laundry bleach
  • foam cups, 16 oz
  • lamp/fluorescent plant (optional)
  • paper towel
  • pencil
  • plastic wrap
  • 2-liter soft drink bottle
  • vermiculite
  • distilled water

Lab Session V-3: Air Pollution Testing

  • gloves
  • saucers or similar containers
  • microscope
  • petroleum jelly
  • plastic wrap
  • spray bottle (optional)
  • watch or timer

Lab Session V-4: Soil and Water Pollution Testing

  • gloves
  • desk lamp
  • paper towels
  • distilled water
  • specimens: water collected from 2 different sources (stream, ditch, etc.)
  • 2-3 soil samples from different sources

Guest Hollow Labs

Rapitest Soil Tester

Soil test kit

Week 20

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session VII-2: Preparing Culturing Media

  • gloves
  • aluminum foil
  • balance or measuring spoons
  • 500 ml soda bottle (clean and empty)
  • chicken broth or bouillon cube
  • cotton balls
  • measuring cup (microwave safe)
  • microwave
  • optional pressure cooker
  • refrigerator
  • table salt
  • lysol or other disinfectant spray
  • sprayer bottle filled with water
  • table sugar
  • tape
  • water

Lab Session VII-3: Culturing Bacteria

  • gloves
  • alcohol
  • agar petri dishes from previous lab
  • agar slant tubes from previous lab
  • chlorine laundry bleach
  • broth culturing tubes from preceding lab
  • clock or watch with 2nd hand
  • large container with lid (for bleach bath)
  • microscope
  • mixed bacteria culture
  • normal saline tubes from preceding lab
  • paper towels
  • sanitized work area from preceding lab
  • tape

Lab Session VII-4: Investigating Bacterial Antibiotic Sensitivity

  • gloves
  • aluminum foil
  • optional balance
  • chlorine bleach container
  • hole punch or scissors
  • marking pen
  • microwave
  • refrigerator
  • sanitized work area
  • soda bottles
  • teaspoon
  • distilled water (from previous labs)
  • nutrient agar (from previous labs)
  • nutrient broth tubes (from previous labs)
  • pure cultures (from previous labs)

Lab Session I-3: Gram Staining

  • gloves
  • butane lighter
  • ethanol 70%
  • microscope
  • paper towels
  • toothpicks
  • distilled water

Guest Hollow Labs

Gram Stain Kit  and Bacteria Cultures

Gram Stain Kit

Week 21

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session VIII-1: Investigating Protista

Guest Hollow Labs

Microscopic Life Kit

Microscopic Life Kit

2nd option:

Microscopic Life – A Free Alternative

Set up 4 jars and fill each 1/2 filled with collected pond water. Put some chopped hay in one jar, a tsp. of rice in another, 1/4 tsp. egg yolk in another and 2 tsp. soil in the last. Place in a lighted area (but not direct sunlight) and culture for several days. On day 3, take a drop from each (use a new dropper for each jar) and make 4 slides to observe under the microscope. Make new slides and observe again several days later.

Week 22

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session IX-1: Investigating Fungi

  • gloves
  • plastic zip bags
  • bread with no preservatives
  • microscope
  • fresh mushroom
  • orange slice
  • paper towels
  • optional prepared slides
  • optional stereo microscope
  • sugar

Guest Hollow Labs

Mushroom Dissection Lab

  • Microscope
  • Edible mushroom
  • Water eye dropper
  • Microscope slide
  • Forceps
  • Cover slip
  • Paper towels

Back to The Roots Mushroom Kit

Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Growing Kit

Week 23

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session X-1: Investigating Simple Plants: Mosses and Ferns

  • Gloves
  • Microscope
  • Stereo microscope (optional)
  • Optional prepared slides (see text)
  • Fern specimens
  • Moss specimens

Guest Hollow Labs

Plant Pigment Chromatography

  • 2 pieces of filter paper
  • 150 mL beaker
  • glass plate (cover for the beaker)
  • pencil (colored pencils would be ideal)
  • fresh spinach leaf
  • a red leaf (like a coleus leaf or something else that is red like red-leaf lettuce)
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol

Week 24

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session X-2: Investigating Seed Plants

  • gloves
  • alcohol
  • carrot
  • flowers
  • foam cups
  • fruits
  • paring knife
  • leaves (monocot and dicot)
  • leaves hydrophyte (water plant)
  • microscope
  • stereo microscope (optional)
  • paper towels
  • pencil
  • seeds
  • prepared slides: monocot structures, dicot structures, gymnosperm structures
  • sand or vermiculite
  • soil

Guest Hollow Labs

Color Changing Flowers

  • food coloring
  • water
  • jar or vase
  • white flowers (like carnations or something similar)

Transpiration in Plants

  • potted plant
  • plastic wrap
  • Vaseline
  • a bell jar or glass jar
  • flat plate

Week 25

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab XI-1 Preparation

To prepare for week 27, you need to hatch some brine shrimp. You can do so with ONE of the following options:

Guest Hollow Labs

  • There are no Guest Hollow labs this week.

Week 26

There are no labs this week.

Week 27

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session XI-1: Investigating Porifera and Cnidaria

  • Culture: daphnia or brine shrimp
  • Culture: hydra (optional)
  • Microscope
  • Granita specimen
  • Vinegar (white, distilled)

Lab Session XI-2: Investigating Platyhelminthes, Nematoda, and Annelida

  • Microscope
  • Prepared slides: platyhelminthes, nematoda, annelida

Guest Hollow Labs

 Advanced Dissection Kit: Dissect the Granita (sponge), clam, and earthworm.

This dissection kit comes with all the specimens you need for the year, along with dissections tools, a dissection tray and an illustrated guidebook that will explain how to dissect the provided animals except the granita specimen (which is pretty straight-forward).

Dissection Kit

Week 28

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

Lab Session XI-3: Investigating Arthropods

  • Ethanol
  • Food for mealworm beetles
  • Jars
  • Microscope
  • Refrigerator
  • Prepared slide: arthropoda
  • Specimens: assorted arthropods (ants, flies, spiders, caterpillars, butterflies, etc.)
  • Specimens: mealworms
  • Stereo microscope (optional)

Guest Hollow Labs

 Advanced Dissection Kit: Dissect the starfish, grasshopper, and crayfish.

Week 29

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

 Lab Session XI-4: Investigating Vertebrate Tissues

  • No additional supplies are needed.

Guest Hollow Labs

Advanced Dissection Kit: Dissect the perch.

Grow a Frog Kit

Be aware that the frog you raise with this kit can live for years. As it grows larger, it will need a larger habitat so getting one is a future commitment.

Free option:
Scoop up a tadpole at a local pond, make a habitat for it, and feed it tadpole food.

Grow a frog kit

Week 30

There are no labs this week.

Week 31

Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments

There are no IGHBE labs this week.

Guest Hollow Labs

Fetal Pig Dissection Kit
Make sure to order a kit that comes with an instruction booklet. You can also watch YouTube videos for instruction.

Fetal pig dissection kit

Week 32

There are no labs this week. This is the end of the curriculum.

Click here to return to the main Guest Hollow’s High School Biology Curriculum page.

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