Virtual Labs

I thought it would be useful to gather together useful virtual labs. They are not my creation and I will give full credit to the creators and just place a link to their sites. Often virtual labs are created for fairly technical aspects of biology but I've found a few that are useful for ESS.

I know some teachers struggle to resource the practical nature of this course or are less familiar with techniques as they come from different backgrounds. You can use these to supplement your own knowledge or your practical scheme of work.

The Virtual Labs Project at Stanford

Environmental Science Investigation - salmon and global warming (topic 2 and topic 7)

In order for this lab to work you need to have adobe flash player working on your computer. It is often blocked and you need to allow it to play in your browser. How to do this varies from browser to browser.

Once working, at the end of each activity, you need to click "home" to be able to navigate to the next activity.

There is a nice drag and drop food web activity but unfortunately you will need to explain the all the arrows are pointing in the wrong direction, ie what is being eaten rather the flow of energy.

My students will do the following labs: 1,2,3,4 and 9. The other sections include very advanced biology and increase the length of time required.

Ocean Acidification (topic 7, topic 2 and topic 3)

McGraw-Hill Virtual Biology Labs

Classifying Arthropods (topic 2)

Dinosaur Dig (topic 3 and 2)

Plant transpiration (topic 2 - hydrological cycle)

Population Biology (topic 2)

Tracking Grizzlies (topic 2 - Lincoln Index and topic 3 - conservation biology)

Model Ecosystems (topic 2 - a great practical application of ecological pyramids and energy conversion efficiency)

Pearson The Biology Place Lab Bench

These are for AP Biology but the dissolved oxygen lab is appropriate.

Dissolved Oxygen and Aquatic Primary Productivity (topic 2)


Photosynthesis simulation with different colour lights (topic 2 though more biology than ESS)

Reading University

Measuring the rate of photosynthesis (nice and simple - good for ESS - could link to turbidity for an IA introduction). (topic 2)

Explore Learning

Studying Photosynthesis (only 5 minutes for free from Gizmos) (topic 2)

To be assessed:

Virtual Biology Lab - Netlogo simulations for biodiversity studies - a collection/curation of simple simulations of labs suitable for topic 2.5

Tracking Grizzlies - needs flash enabled

Investigation of environmental benefits of different types of tree. From The Open Science Laboratory

Variation in vegetation: the heather hypothesis. From The Open Science Laboratory

Sorting out Soils. From The Open Science Laboratory

Measuring levels of nitrates in spring water (SXHL288). From The Open Science Laboratory

Pesticide Analysis. From The Open Science Laboratory

Eating for Energy (in Bats). From The Open Science Laboratory

Phet Labs from University of Colorado

Scratch MIT virtual enzyme lab

Scratch MIT yeast population growth

Google app Science Journal

Explore Learning Gizmos

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