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For any family looking for a robust biology course, hands-on lab assignments are a must—and this involves purchasing supplies.

While most students favorite part of biology, is the labs, it’s not essential that students complete all of the labs. We’ve included instructions and video tutorials for completing 26 labs. We’d recommend your student choose at least 15 of these to complete themselves.

There are a number of ways parents can try to keep the cost of these supplies down.

Access to a Microscope

Quite a few of the labs require the use of a microscope.

If you don’t own a microscope, try to borrow one.

  • Some local libraries allow you to check out a microscope to use at home.
  • Check with other homeschool families or local co-ops to see if they have one you could borrow.

If a microscope isn’t available to borrow, and you can’t fit one into your budget, a distant second-best option is to use the images provided in the Experience Biology lab videos and images. For most labs that require a microscope, we will provide you images of what your student would be looking at under a microscope if they had one.

Check out our Home Science Microscope Buying Guide


A Word on Dissections

There’s no replacing the value that comes from a student actually dissecting a specimen and exploring biological structures on their own. However, if the specimens are completely out of budget, students may carefully watch the lab videos provided and glean information from those.


Where to Buy Supplies?

We have worked with two different lab supply companies to try to make purchasing lab supplies as affordable as possible for you.


Home Science Tools

Home Science Tools is our preferred lab supply company. They offers some of the best prices on science lab supplies we can find. They’ve created a special wishlist for Experience Biology students. You can find all of the “special supplies” listed below on this wish list.

Add the supplies you’d like to purchase to your cart from the wishlist. Be sure to purchase multiples where indicated on the list below!

  • 2 of the set of 2 test tubes
  • 3 of the set of 2 petri dishes
  • 3 of the set of swab applicators

There are a few special lab supplies Home Science Tools does not carry. The following are products you’ll need to purchase elsewhere.

  • Sprig of Elodea — purchase this from a local pet shop that sells fish supplies.
  • Monocot leaf c.s., prepared slide
  • Monocot stem c.s., prepared slide
  • Dicot stem c.s., prepared slide

TIP: Sign up for their email list and get a coupon code for free shipping on your $50+ order!

Nebraska Scientific

Nebraska Scientific is offering Experience Biology students lab supplies at a discounted rate. They have provided several different options. Each of these options includes the “special supplies” listed below, not the household supplies.

1. You can choose to buy one or more of the pre-made kits:

  • Purchase all of your lab supplies for the year with item number: IOLCOMP KIT ($189.99)
  • Purchase quarter 1 lab supplies with item number: IOLQT1 KIT ($59.95)
  • Purchase quarter 2 lab supplies with item number IOLQT2 KIT ($80.95)
  • Purchase quarter 3 lab supplies with item number: IOLQT3 KIT ($48.75)

Note: quarter 4 only has 2 special lab supplies which are included in the above kits. 

2. If you prefer to purchase lab supplies individually, you can receive a 20% discount on lab supplies using the discount code: IOLDISC20.

Nebraska Scientific has a number of compound microscopes they are offering at a discounted rate. You can see their selection of Walter Microscopes here. Please contact them for special pricing.

To Order from Nebraska Scientific:

  1. Call 800-228-7117 or email
  2. You will need to provide the item number you’d like to order (see above), shipping address, billing address, and credit card information.
  3. Please be sure to mention you’re purchasing items for Experience Biology.

Shipping usually takes 7-10 days, so be sure to order your lab supplies in plenty of time!



Special Supplies

Below is a list of supplies you’ll need to purchase from a lab supply company. Alternatively, you can see a list of lab supplies needed listed by lesson on this page

  • Compound microscope
  • Glass slides
  • Glass coverslips
  • Methylene blue
  • Iodine
  • Bromothymol blue
  • Sprig of elodea
  • Safety goggles
  • 5 test tubes
  • Test tube rack
  • Wax pencil
  • 5 Petri dishes with nutrient agar
  • 5 Cotton swabs
  • Amoeba proteus prepared slide
  • Paramecium prepared slide
  • Euglena prepared slide
  • Rhizopus nigricans prepared slide
  • Penicillum prepared slide
  • Monocot leaf c.s. prepared slide
  • Dicot leaf c.s. prepared slide
  • Monocot stem c.s. prepared slide
  • Dicot stem c.s. prepared slide
  • Onion root tip l.s. prepared slide
  • Human skin c.s. prepared slide
  • Preserved worm
  • Preserved sea star and/or sea anemone
  • Preserved clam
  • Preserved crayfish
  • Preserved dogfish shark, injected
  • Preserved fetal pig, injected
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
  • T-pins

Household Supplies

Below is a list of items need for labs that you will either have around your house or that can easily be acquired from a local store.

  • Typed lowercase e’s (cut out of newspaper, magazine, or printed off of a computer)
  • Small pieces of fabric: cotton, wool, polyester
  • Scissors
  • Toothpicks
  • Mature, healthy plant (english ivy, geranium, or something similar would work well)
  • Black construction paper
  • White paper
  • Paper clips
  • Stove with small pan
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • Markers (red, blue, yellow, green)
  • Masking tape
  • Mushroom (the edible kind you can by at the grocery store)
  • Iceberg lettuce or leek leaf
  • 2-3 different flowers (gladiola, lily, tulip, or daffodil would all work well)
  • String or twine
  • Ruler
  • Stopwatch
  • Straws
  • Latex or nitrile gloves
  • 50 mL flasks or 2 drinking glasses