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Purchasing Lab Supplies for Experience Biology

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.

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.

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

 

Where to Buy Supplies?

We have worked with Home Science Tools to make purchasing lab supplies as affordable as possible for you. 

Home Science Tools is our preferred lab supply company. They offer some of the best prices on science lab supplies we can find paired with fantastic customer service. They’ve made purchasing easy. You have two options…

1. Purchase the Experience Biology Custom Lab Kit — This kit has all of the specialty items you’ll need to complete all of the labs in the course except the  microscope (see our microscope buying guide for options).  

2. Purchase your supplies a la carte — if you’d prefer to purchase just a few items at a time or you aren’t planning to complete all of the labs for the course, you can use this wish list to find the products you’ll need for the course. 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 

 

We recommend purchasing your lab supplies 3-4 weeks before your chosen start date to ensure they have plenty of time to get to you and that your dissection specimen are not too old when it’s time to use them. 

 

Lab Supplies Listed by Lesson

Below is a list of lab supplies needed for each lesson. Alternatively, you can see the complete list of special lab supplies that will need to be order from a supplier and household supplies here.

 

Week 1: Microscope Basics
  • Compound microscope
  • Glass slides
  • Glass coverslips
  • Typed lowercase e’s (cut out of newspaper, magazine, or printed off of a computer)
  • Small pieces of fabric: cotton, wool, polyester
  • Scissors
  • Water dropper or pipette
Week 2: Elements of a Good Lab Report

Week 3: Comparing Plant & Animal Cell Structures
  • Microscope
  • Microscope slides
  • Cover slips
  • Methylene blue
  • Toothpicks
  • Pipette or dropper
  • Sprig of elodea
Week 4 & 5: Comparing Chlorophyll & Starch in Leaves
  • Mature, healthy plant (english ivy, geranium or similar would work well)
  • Black construction paper
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips
  • Safety Goggles
  • Alcohol
  • Stove with small pan
  • Iodine
  • Test tubes
  • Test tube rack (recommended)
  • Wax pencil (recommended)
Week 6: NO LAB
Week 7: Mitosis in an Onion Root Tip
  • Prepared Allium (Onion) Root Tip slide
  • Compound Microscope
Week 8: Punnett Square Assignment

Week 9: Dragon Genetics
  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • Markers (red, blue, yellow, green)
Week 10: Exam 1 (NO LAB)

Week 11: Constructing a Classification System
Week 12: Microorganisms in Your Environment
  • 5 Petri dishes of nutrient agar
  • Masking tape
  • Cotton swabs
Week 13: Observing Protists from 3 Phyla
  • Compound Microscope
  • Amoeba proteus prepared slide
  • Paramecium prepared slide
  • Euglena prepared slide
Week 14: Observing Fungus from 3 Phyla
  • Rhizopus nigricans prepared slide
  • Penicillum prepared slide
  • Mushroom
  • Paper towel
Week 15: NO LAB

Week 16: Comparing Monocot & Dicot Stem, Leaf, and Root Tissue
  • Compound Microscope
  • Cross-section monocot leaf prepared slide
  • Cross-section dicot leaf prepared slide
  • Cross section monocot stem prepared slide
  • Cross section dicot stem prepared slide
  • Allium (Onion) root tip prepared slide
Week 17: Examining the Reproductive Structures of Flowers
  • 2-3 different flowers (gladiola, lily, tulip, or daffodil would all work well)
  • Dissection kit
Week 18: Exam 2 (NO LAB)

Week 19: NO LAB
Week 20: Worm Dissection
  • Preserved Worm
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
Week 21: Sea Star Dissection
  • Preserved Sea Star
  • Hand Lens
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
Week 22: Clam Dissection
  • Preserved Clam
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
Week 23: Crayfish Dissection
  • Preserved Crayfish
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissecting pan
Week 24: Shark Dissection
  • Preserved Dogfish shark, injected
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
Week 25: NO LAB
Week 26: Fetal Pig Dissection
  • Preserved fetal pig, injected
  • Dissection tools
  • Dissection pan
  • T-pins
  • String or twine
Week 27: Exam 3 (NO LAB)
Week 28: Chicken Wing Dissection
  • Dissection Kit
  • Dissection Tray
  • Chicken Wing
Week 29: Comparing Respiration and Heart Rate in Individuals
  • Stopwatch
  • Calculator
  • 2 volunteers
Week 30: Reaction Time
  • Ruler
  • Stopwatch
Week 31: Observation of Epithelial Tissue
  • Microscope
  • Prepared slide human skin cross section
Week 32: Impact of Exercise on Lung Excretions
  • 2 50 mL flasks or glasses
  • Straws
  • Bromothymol blue
  • Watch or stopwatch (times in seconds)
Week 33: NO LAB
Week 34: Ecology Lab
Week 35: Exam 4 (NO LAB)