STUDENT PROJECTS - last reviewed 1/17/17


Lake Buteau and Lake Mary in Lincoln County WI have both been used by my students for water quality analysis, as sites for winter water studies, for surveying, and for the creation of topographic maps.

The map pictured below was generated from student data.  The accuracy of this map and the student's studies were such that the information was used to successfully defend a DNR rule limiting jet skis on small (less than 40 acres) inland lakes due to erosion and safety concerns as well as water quality issues.


After a conversation with Dr. Tim Herman of MSOE it was decided to train my students in the RasMol protein visualization software as well as link them with current researchers in biochemistry.  This lead to the formation of Team Anthrax and the first SMART team to create a 3D model of the proteins associated with Anthrax.  Several articles (Nature and ChemMatters), an NPR broadcast, television interviews and science convention conferences created enough of an foundation that 10 years later the SMART Team program has grown to encompass national presentations and students in several states. 

A source of great pride for me is that this program began with urban students from a Milwaukee Public School.
Center for Biomolecular Modeling


Pop-up books have always been an interest of mine.  The Internet has many sites that illustrate pop-ups and/or their design.  For several years I've taught students basic pop-up principles; then assigned them to create pages for a group book either illustrating what was learned over the year or highlighting a certain topic in biology / environmental science.  The students often become very creative and the pages produced can be amazing.


Often after the AP Biology Exam I would have students pick a vertebrate, design and build the organism under various size constraints, then insert panels at five  locations that would produce images of anatomical cuts made at those locations.  The views would be in an anterior direction from one side of the panel at that location and  a posterior direction from the other side of the panel. 

My thought was that students who could visualize what the body looked like from the inside at any given location then actually understood the placement of the organs in the body.  Again, over the years the students were very, very creative at times.


An introductory lab in many of my courses involved giving students a plastic petri dish, tape, and a small bead.  The students were to put something in the petri dish that would obstruct the smooth movement of the bead.  They then were to tape the dish shut with masking tape which at the same time blocked the internal view of the dish.  Other students were then asked to use their ears to determine what is in the dish from the sound of the bead rolling.  Always the class became absolutely quiet as students found that they wanted to listen. 

My goal was to point out the progression of science as new technology has developed.  First senses, then devices that essentially magnify our senses by broadening the magnification of our eyes, wavelengths that we can see, etc....  Additionally I would talk about how scientists make models to explain phenomena and sometimes talked about how scientists explored the components of an atom.


From a poster of the Milwaukee River illustrating the watershed over several time periods an artistic student made three dimensional panels of the images.  These panels became teaching models illustrating how the river has been channelized, becoming deeper, and flowing faster over time.


This program based on a lab manual coming out of Michigan was introduced to myself through a workshop at RiverEdge Nature Center.  This program trained students to monitor a section of the Milwaukee River Watershed, test the water using specific protocol, write up their findings and then present them at a yearly student conference.  The parameters tested for were:
  • dissolved oxygen
  • total phosphate
  • fecal coliform
  • nitrates
  • temperature
  • pH
  • macroinvertebrates
  • total solids
  • and turbidity                                                  Testing the Waters


Through creative grant writing I've acquired many Folkmanis animal puppets.  After the construction of a portable PVC pipe stage with drop cloths I have my students write environmental plays on particular EE themes.  They  perform the plays in class and at times for elementary audiences.  This component of my class was a very strong literacy element supported by English instructors at the schools I've taught at.      Story Arts

                         Meiosis Candy Bars                                                     Prairie Plant Studies

             Consumer Product Testing                                    Student Created Taxonomic Keys

 Licensed Under the Provisions of Creative Commons all rights reserved.
jeff anderson

Center for BioMolecular Modeling at the
Milwaukee School of Engineering

Black Box Project

Winter Water Testing

Environmental Puppetry

Geographic Misconceptions
& Prior Knowledge

3D Animal Models

                          Embryology Studies

Biochemical Mechanisms

If you would like clarification of any of the activities highlighted on this page then make the request to

I will answer all inquiries. Last revised 1/17/17

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