FREE Resources: Biology, Health and Medicine

from Educators' eZine

More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE Web site.

FREE stands for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. The Web sites listed below are excerpted with permission from FREE.

This month, we highlight sites for biology, health and medicine; in other months, we feature other subject areas. You can search our site for the word FREE to find them.

Biology: U.S. Geological Survey

This site provides research results, photos, projects, and other resources for studies in biology, biodiversity, and ecology. Learn about butterflies and moths of North America, bat research, invasive species, environmental contaminants' effects on plants and animals, redwood research, surf scoters, sea otters, reptiles and amphibians of southern California, the desert tortoise, habitat conservation, and genetic diversity across different species groups. (USGS)

Genetic Science Learning Center

This site features animations and activities for learning about DNA, cells, and other topics in genetics and bioscience. Build a DNA molecule. Transcribe and translate a gene. See why a firefly's tail glows. Use DNA evidence to solve a mystery. Extract DNA from wheat germ and see real DNA. Find out how genetics are being used to save endangered species. Learn about stem cells, addiction, gene therapy, cloning, and genetically modified food. (NIH)

Neuroscience for Kids

This site explores the brain and nervous system. Learn about brain development, brain lobes, the cerebral cortex, the skull, blood supply, brain fitness, neurons, the autonomic nervous system, sensory systems, the spinal cord, laughter and the brain, the musical brain, face recognition, drug effects, neurological and mental disorders, and more. (NIH)


This site provides the latest news on developments in life sciences, physical sciences, and technology. Sort articles by topic — genetics, animals, the brain, chemistry, physics, earth, oceans, astronomy, climate, engineering, biotechnology, computers, nanotechnology, and others. See articles on cancer causing genes, music for pain, fat vaccine, biofuel energy, no-mow grass, liquid armor, fouled beaches, phones and driving, auto-focus eyewear, activity breaks and memory, and more. (NSF)

Secrets of Aging

This site examines what scientists are learning about aging, what we can do to live longer & healthier, & how the growing proportion of older to younger people is changing our world. Learn about "fluid & crystallized" intelligence. Test your memory. Compare factors that might determine the longevity of different species. Explore the demographics of aging. (NSF)

Medicines in My Home

This site helps middle school students learn about the safe and effective use of over-the-counter medicines. It is designed for use in health education courses. (FDA)

Inside Cancer

Inside Cancer uses animations and videoclips of experts to reveal what is known about cancer. Learn about kinds of cancer, how they start (cell mutations), and their distribution worldwide. Explore cancer related factors — smoking, inheritance, diet, and others. Find out about diagnosis and treatment. See animations of key concepts; hear experts explain them. (NIH)

Nutrition & Physical Activity

Focuses on physical activity & good nutrition. Examine the new food pyramid. Learn about body mass, bone health, cancer, dietary guidelines, fruits & vegetables & weight management, healthy eating tips, heart disease, intensity levels of various activities, obesity, physical activity statistics & recommendations, stairwells, tips for parents, & weight management ideas. (CDC)