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Explore our new site, and check out an inspiring feature film!

Something New

Have you seen the new BioInteractive site? We relaunched our site in mid-June and we’ve rolled out a lot of features, including personalized accounts, resource playlists, Storyline Viewer, and our Educator Voices section. Now that many of you are on summer break, we’d love to hear what’s working, and what’s not, as you plan your courses for next year. So drop us a line with comments, questions, or kudos!

click for resource playlists

Play It Again

Sequence your favorite sets of BioInteractive resources into a set of lessons with our playlist feature. Follow these steps to make a playlist: create an account, add and order resources, and annotate with notes specifying how you’re using these resources. We’ve provided a few examples, but are excited to see what the community comes up with. Have a great playlist? Share it on our Facebook group.

Two mice of different colors

Color Vision

How can two mice from the same litter have drastically different coloration? In this new Phenomenal Image activity, use images of genetically modified zebrafish and mice to explore how scientists are investigating the genes behind coloration.

Map of SLC24A5 gene variations between populations

Thinking Globally

Explore the relationship between exposure to UV and genetic factors contributing to skin color differences with this new Data Point activity. Students examine maps showing erythemal dose rate, a proxy measure for average UV exposure, and compare them to the distribution of SLC24A5 gene variants, one of the genes that controls melanin production.

Inventing Tomorrow

Inventing Tomorrow follows young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India, and Mexico as they tackle some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today — right in their own backyards. Receive your complimentary copy of this inspiring film, produced by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, or watch it July 29th on POV (PBS).

Educator Tip

Data Visualization

I use the Biology of Skin Color resources to teach, in one series of lessons, the way scientists obtain knowledge and how that knowledge changes with new information and new ideas — in this case, the serendipitous interaction of Dr. Jablonski, an anthropologist, and her husband, a geographer. I love the short video, with or without embedded questions; I projected the one with questions and called on students to answer them.
I used the beautiful printout (try to do it in color), projected the visuals, and worked through them as a class. Even though the material could be presented in college, my high schoolers were able to follow along as we did the activity together. This went a long way towards teaching the NGSS practice of analyzing and interpreting data. I was also able to disabuse my students of a common misconception about evolution: that evolution is directional. We saw that, with human skin color, the melanin differences were a balance between getting enough vitamin D and not having folate destroyed. – Sarah Latimer (Ipswich High School, MA)

Do you have a favorite BioInteractive resource and want to tell us how you use it in your class? Email us the tip at If we feature yours, we'll send you a T-shirt!

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