Posts Tagged ‘Apologia Biology’

Amoeba Cake

Monday, November 25th, 2013


Amoeba cake?! You’ve got to be kidding me! That doesn’t sound very appetizing… But my son wants to be a microbiologist, so guess what kind of cake I made him for his birthday this year? You guessed it: Amoeba cake.

Before I explain how to decorate the cake, look at the cool invitation we made for his amoeba birthday party:


How to Decorate an Amoeba Cake:

  1. Bake a rectangle cake. Make it whatever flavor you want.
  2. Cut a piece of cardboard larger than the cake and cover it with foil, taping down the edges underneath.
  3. Sprinkle flour on a cutting board. Grab the rectangle cake while it is still hot and up-end it onto the cutting board. With a knife, cut the rectangle into an amoeba shape.
  4. Pick up the cake and place it on the foiled cardboard. Put it in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  5. Stir some blue food coloring into the white vanilla icing. Ice the cake.
  6. Grab some candy to represent the organelles, and decorate the Amoeba cake. We used a peppermint patty for the nucleus, round mints for the contractile vacuoles which pump water out of the cell, and M&M’s for the food vacuoles.
  7. We outlined the cake with chocolate frosting. You can do this cheaply by putting the frosting into a Ziplock bag, and snipping off the corner. Then squeeze the frosting out like toothpaste.

amoeba-boxYour Amoeba cake is now complete and ready to eat! Enjoy!

As a side note, my daughter made an amoeba box out of construction paper and tape, with an amoeba colored on the outside of the box. She created some bookmarks for her brother’s birthday and put them inside the box. Isn’t the box cute?

For hundreds of fun biology activities and videos, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault.


Growing a Bean Seed

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013


Kids of all ages can learn a lot by growing a bean seed, from toddlers to high school biology students. It’s fun to watch life sprout from a seed.

If you want to grow a bean seed, you will obviously need dry bean seeds, which you can buy at a grocery store. You will also need a wet paper towel and a Ziplock bag.

Place a few bean seeds into a wet paper towel, and place them in a Ziplock bag. It’s that easy. Wait a week, then open it up and have your kids observe what happened. The beans will have sprouted, and if you leave the beans in the bag for another week, they will desperately search for sunshine by peeking around the paper towel.

In this video, I will show you the different parts of a bean seed, as described in botany and biology textbooks. The bean seed is a dicot, meaning that it has two cotyledons or embyonic leaves. The cotyledons are used for food for the developing embyo:

Have fun growing a bean seed! Then grow other seeds and compare them!

Life Cycle of a Mushroom

Friday, October 19th, 2012

My son Bryan Evans (age 12) drew this diagram of the life cycle of a mushroom yesterday. You can read it better if you click on the picture, which will enlarge it. He created a much more interesting and colorful scene than the Apologia Biology book, and he added lively language. We are planning to go on a mushroom hike tomorrow as part of our study of mushrooms.

Filming the Pond Unit Study

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Last Saturday afternoon, I jumped onto the bed where my husband was taking a nap. “Carpe Diem!” I shouted. “The sun is shining, and it’s perfect for filming the Pond Unit Study. Can we go?”

“Get me some tea…” he groggily stated.

By the time we were backing out the driveway, dark clouds covered the sun, and it looked like it was going to storm. I looked down at all the gorgeous drawings my kids had made of microscopic creatures from the pond, and their sweet watercolor pictures of the pond itself. I didn’t want them to be ruined. My clip-on mic cost us $600. I didn’t want that ruined either. I looked nervously into the sky through the front windshield.

When we arrived at the pond, the wind started blowing all the papers. As my husband filmed, people gathered around just to watch, apparently entertained by me. I didn’t mind the audience. I’m a ham anyway. They asked me if they were going to be on YouTube. My husband laughed. My son Stephen asked if he could get another sample of the pond water, and I realized I needed to show the audience our handy-dandy pond-collecting contraption invented by my husband.

There was constant noise, so we had to keep stopping and starting over. A motorcycle started up every five minutes. Then I took a deep breath and nearly choked on an insect. And I was in a desperate hurry to film before an impending downpour.

You might be saying, why not film another time? Because next weekend I’m filming the mushroom hike and collecting video footage of all the mushroom activities we do. Since my sons are involved in flag football on Saturdays also, there is no other time to record. By the time my husband gets back from work on weekdays, it’s dark. Both of these unit studies are going into my Treasure Vault on November 1st, which only gives me five days to process the mushroom video footage. So no, there is no other time.

Then I found out my mic was on mute after half an hour of filming. Apparently my batteries were dead.

I looked up into the sky. “Lord, I know You want me to do this. You led me to do this unit study thing. I know You control the weather.” I felt discouraged as I went back to the car to change the batteries.

When I came back from the car, the sun was shining. The pond looked gorgeous with the beautiful autumn trees reflected in it. I was so happy. I pulled myself together to re-film the unit study.

People don’t realize how much work it is to film a video. I had accidentally left my notes at home, you know, my script, so I was doing it impromptu, hoping I covered all the transitions between the different video clips I had filmed over the last month. For example, I almost forgot to mention the coffee filter art we did to create that psychedelic-looking green algae called a Desmid.

Anyway, I now have the video footage, and it will probably take 2 to 3 hours to edit it because there are over 100 short video clips just for the Pond Unit Study. I will be adding it to my Unit Study Treasure Vault along with a Mushroom Unit Study on November 1st. On that day I’m also adding a video called “Feast of Tabernacles,” which was a super fun Bible unit study. My children enjoyed waving branches, building a simple tent-structure, and stomping on wheat that we collected from a wheat field. Yes, I’m filming my whole life right now and putting it into the Treasure Vault. That’s what I felt God leading me to do, and I will continue to follow where He leads!