menu   Home About Me Home freebies My Store  
 photo 3am_AB_f1_zps652b0c0f.png    photo 3am_ab_gplus_zps3ab6fefc.png    photo 3am_ab_pin_zpsbfebd6d2.png    photo 3am_tpt1_zpse91e0740.png   photo 3am_ab_email1_zpsebc98a17.png

Search My Blog

Biology Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks?
Bell Ringers?
Exit Slips?

Whatever you want to call them, they are a great classroom management tool and a wonderful way to teach, review, and reinforce vital concepts in biology.
A few days ago I wrote a lengthy blog post about my success in using "warm-ups" for my biology classes last year.  Click this link to see that blog post.   In this post I described the materials I used in my first unit of the school year.

This blog post is about my second set of interactive notebook inserts or warm -ups.  This set covers a unit on cell structure and physiology.  This ended up being a set of 59 warm ups or pages that cover cell structure and function, photosynthesis, respiration, and mitosis and meiosis.

As discussed in my previous blog post, these activities turned the first few chaotic minutes of my class into a time of meaningful learning.  But the absolute best thing to come out of this was that it created a fabulous study guide for my semester exam.

The content that is covered is evident from the titles:
Cell Structure and Function Titles (16 pages):
·    The History of Cell Studies
·    Cell Structure 101
·    The Animal Cell
·    The Plant Cell
·    The Size of Cells
·    Surface Area to Volume Ratio in Cells
·    Internal Organization of the Cell
·    The Cell Membrane
·    Ribosomes and the Endoplasmic Reticulum
·    Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
·    The “Other” Organelles
·    Plant versus Animal
·    Cellular Organization
·    Transport Across the Membrane 1
·    Transport Across the Membrane 2
·    Thinking Critically About Cells

Photosynthesis Titles (11 pages):
·    Energy Flow
·    Chemical Energy and ATP
·    Introduction to Photosynthesis
·    Light! Pigments! Action!
·    The Chloroplast
·    Electron Carriers
·    Overview to the Stages of Photosynthesis
·    Light Dependent Reaction
·    The Calvin Cycle
·    Alternatives to the 3-Carbon Pathway
·    Thinking Critically About Photosynthesis

Cellular Respiration Titles (14 pages):
·    Chemical Energy and ATP
·    The Relationship Between Photosynthesis and Respiration
·    Overview of Respiration
·    Glycolysis
·    The Fate of Pyruvic Acid
·    The Mitochondria
·    Overview of Aerobic Respiration
·    Krebs Cycle
·    Electron Transport Chain
·    ATP Accounting
·    Respiration Recap and Review
·    Fermentation
·    Comparison of Photosynthesis and Respiration
·    Thinking Critically About Cellular Respiration

Cell Division (Mitosis and Meiosis) Titles (18 pages):
·    Introduction to Cell Division
·    Chromosomes
·    The Cell Cycle
·    Let’s Draw the Stages
·    Name That Stage!
·    Interphase
·    Prophase
·    Metaphase
·    Anaphase
·    Telophase / Cytokinesis
·    The Mitotic Spindle
·    Differences in Animal and Plant Cell Mitosis
·    Results / Importance of Mitosis
·    Asexual versus Sexual Reproduction
·    Cell Division and Chromosome Number
·    Meiosis
·    Comparing Mitosis to Meiosis

·    Thinking Critically About Cell Division

The above pictures show the student pages.  Each is also accompanied by a teacher answer key.

Click above picture to see my product listing on

Biology Warm Ups and Bell Ringers: Great Classroom Management Tool

Warm ups and bell ringers are definitely a "vintage" idea, but this tried and true classroom management tool is still effective for most classes.

Classroom management is one of my strengths. I am organized and have every single minute of class time planned before my students arrive at the door. I consider classroom management to be one of the most important aspects of teaching, second only to having a deep knowledge of your subject area. I teach "bell to bell" and gear the pacing of my class to the learning abilities of my students.  Frankly, I am good at it ....... Or so I thought.

A few years ago, I had a class that was a bit more challenging than the average high school biology class. The class consisted of 25 freshmen and sophomores, all nice kids, not a bad apple in the bunch. They were rarely disrespectful, but always came into the room overly antsy and excitable. It took longer than normal to get them settled in so class could begin. All teachers know that the first few minutes of a class period can be somewhat chaotic. Students are socializing with one another, students who have been absent are asking for missed assignments, attendance must be taken, graded papers must be returned, homework assignments must be collected. The list goes on and on.

I had not used "bell ringers" for quite some time, but I thought this might be a good tool for getting this class under control. Further, I wondered if I could get this group of high schoolers to keep and maintain a notebook of these warm ups.

The answer is a resounding...

What are the benefits?
You can turn this chaotic time of your class into a time of meaningful learning. Using bell ringers establishes a daily routine of having your students complete thought provoking and problem solving tasks during the first 5 minutes of the class.  Once the routine is established, students will enter the room and get right to work on the warm-up or bell-ringer activity. These warm-ups are designed to take 5-7 minutes to complete. It settles the students and provides the instructor a few minutes to carry out the tasks required at the beginning of a class.

It took a bit of time, but I now have sets of bell ringers for every chapter of a traditional high school biology class. Since most biology or life science textbooks are generally divided into ten units, I organized my warm up activities in the same fashion:
  • Unit 1:  Introduction to Science (Scientific Method, Graphing, Chemistry, Biochemistry)
  • Unit 2:  Cells
  • Unit 3:  Ecology
  • Unit 4:  Genetics
  • Unit 5:  Evolution
  • Unit 6:  Microorganisms and Fungi
  • Unit 7:  Plants
  • Unit 8:  Invertebrates
  • Unit 9:  Chordates
  • Unit 10:  The Human Body

All units have been added to my TPT store and can be viewed at this link.

The pages are printed landscape style. The pages look best if printed in color, but also look great if printed in black/white. Each activity is one-half page in size. Two identical warm-ups are printed per page in order to conserve paper.  In this time saving classroom management strategy, all you have to do is print the pages and cut them in half.

    The warm-ups/bell ringers require and measure a wide variety of skills: 
Compare and contrast
Identify and label
Define terms
Graphing and Tabling
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
Short Answer
Cause and Effect
Fill in the Blank

These half-page activities can be collected and quickly graded, or you might want to have your students keep a daily warm-up notebook. These warm-ups will make excellent additions to your interactive notebooks. An added benefit…… The completed warm-up notebook makes an excellent review for the semester exam!

I now have 41 sets of bell ringers in my TPT. They can be purchased individually, and they are arranged into four large unit bundles:

I hope these work as well for you as they did for me.

Have fun teaching!