HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveIce Crystal Formation in Icefish and Non-Icefish Blood

BioInteractive

Free Resources for Science Education

 
Classroom Resource
Ice Crystal Formation in Icefish and Non-Icefish Blood

Summary

A dramatic demonstration that simulates how tiny ice crystals would form and grow in the blood of most fish if they ventured into the icy waters of the Antarctic.

Appropriate for: middle school life science, high school biology (all levels), introductory college biology.

This demonstration serves as an extension to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute short film The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes. Most fish would freeze to death in the Southern Ocean because the temperature of the water is below the freezing point of their blood. Icefish (and all other notothenioids), however, have a protein in their blood that prevents it from freezing. Students will be able to explain the importance of antifreeze proteins to the survival of icefish and all other notothenioids.


Curriculum Connections:

NGSS (April 2013)
MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-5, MS-LS4-4, MS.LS4.B, MS.LS4.C, MS.PS1.A, HS-LS4-2, HS.LS1.A, HS.LS4.B, HS.LS4.C

Common Core (2010)
ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1, ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1c, ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1d, ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1, ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c, ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d

AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.1, 1.A.2, 3.C.1, 4.C.1

IB Biology (2009)
4.1, 4.3, 5.4, 6.2, 7.5


Supporting Materials (7)

Short Film
Scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes, which describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.
Classroom Resource
A text transcript of the short film "The Birth and Death of Genes" from the Making of the Fittest short film series.
Classroom Resource
A lesson that requires students to read detailed scientific passages and explain how an understanding of specific icefish adaptations might lead to a treatment or cure for human disorders, such as osteoporosis and anemia. 
Classroom Resource
A simple demonstration that uses readily-available materials to simulate how blood pumps through the circulatory system of icefish and other fish.
Classroom Resource
A simple activity that investigates the importance of antifreeze proteins to icefish survival.
Classroom Resource
An advanced lesson that describes the role of mutations in the birth and death of genes. It includes background information, examples, video clips, and animations.

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