11 Effective methods of teaching biology-How to Teach Biology

In this article, we discuss the different effective methods of teaching biology. Biology is one of the central branches of scientific knowledge and is relevant to topics including medicine, genetics, zoology, ecology, and public policy. As such, it has the potential to interest almost any student.

One way to successfully teach biology is to target one or two main concepts and make them relatable and engaging. The best way to do that is to focus on what kids can do with the information. Focus on teaching a concept rather than trying to teach too much because sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

Effective methods of teaching biology


Engaging Students

Effective methods of teaching biology

1-Relate biology to everyday life.

Some students naturally love biology, while others may not be drawn to it from the start. But all students can benefit from understanding just how everyday concepts and questions are related through biology and deepen their appreciation of what they have learned, then make it more relatable. Add things like:

  • Share with your class news items on medicine, DNA, the environment, population growth, and other topics that biology touches upon.
  • Offer extra credit to students who will give a brief in-class report on a reference to a biological concept they came across in a television show, movie, etc. Ask them to explain the reference, its biological concept, and why it is essential.
  • Talk about careers that draw on biology, such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, conservation, public health, etc. You can even invite individuals practicing in these fields to visit your class, discuss their work, and answer student questions.

2-Incorporate hands-on activities.

If you can make biology interesting to students, they will likely stick with the subject. There are many ways to make biology more interactive when taught, so you can try different approaches and see what works. Students could do things like:

  • Plant a garden to learn about photosynthesis.
  • Raise butterflies or other animals to learn about the life cycle.
  • Dissect specimens to learn about anatomy.
  • Test samples of store-bought yeast to see whether or not they are alive.
  • Look at slides of various kinds of cells.
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3-Create multimedia materials.

Introducing more variety in your instructional materials is a great way to make a biology course more interesting. You can use textbooks, videos, podcasts, and other forms of media to present topics.

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4-Look for ways to bridge technology and biology.

Technology is changing the way we live, work and learn. There are lots of opportunities for those interested in biology to deepen their involvement with technology. Be open to new and exciting methods of instruction and invite your students to share the technology concepts and tools that interest them. For example:

  • There are valuable resources devoted to using the popular game Minecraft in educational contexts, including biology courses.
  • Allow students to utilize technology for assignments in your course. For instance, students with interest in web design might develop a website to illustrate a biological concept.

5-Utilize science games to teach biology.

Games have a way of introducing fun, new activities into the classroom. Spicing up your biology course with friendly competition can also be beneficial by adding incentives for participation. We’ve compiled some helpful resources on developing biology-centered games that will keep students engaged and motivated.

  • Jeopardy
  • Quiz bowl
  • Taboo
  • Pictionary
  • Twenty questions

6-Host biology-centered field trips.

An occasional trip outside of your classroom can be a welcome change of pace and a real opportunity to enrich students’ understanding of biology. Depending on what is available in your area, and what your school will allow, you might be able to arrange a visit to places like:

  • A local science museum
  • A botanical garden
  • A zoo
  • A farm
  • A research lab


Trying Different Learning and Teaching Styles

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1-Try different approaches to teaching.How to teach biology

Some learning takes an active approach, whereas others should take a more passive approach. There are different ways to teach, and students will benefit from both. The key is to find the right mixture and balance between these approaches. Incorporate a variety of instructional methods, including:

  • Lecturing
  • Cooperative learning (students help each other learn about a topic)
  • Concept mapping
  • Discussion
  • Reading
  • Hands-on activities

2-Make lectures participatory.

Teaching biology can be incredibly productive, but it can be challenging when teaching individuals in a large lecture hall. Students may need interactive lectures to encourage them to listen better, and instructors often want more engaging lessons. With the right strategies in place, it’s easier than ever to make that happen.

  • Utilize the Socratic method by periodically asking students questions. In an extensive lecture course, not everyone can speak daily, but students will feel more involved.
  • Have students come to the lecture with pre-prepared questions. You can then address some of their questions. This lets students know that they are being listened to.
  • Incorporate iClickers or similar technology into your lectures to allow students to respond in class. This will allow you to gauge how well they understand a topic and lets them get involved in discussions.
  • In smaller classes, set aside plenty of time for open discussion. Expect students to be able to talk about biological topics, ask questions, etc.
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3-Incorporate writing.

Instead of giving them multiple-choice tests and constant lectures, you can teach students about the scientific process by simply assigning writing assignments. You will teach them about the topics they’re struggling with, and you will also allow them to assess their comprehension.

  • Grading students is not necessary. It’s easy to incorporate low-stakes writing exercises in your classroom. At the end of each session, let them compose a paragraph summarizing what they learned. Grades can be an optional part of this process if you see fit to have it.

4-Use peer teaching methods.

One of the best ways to get students more engaged in your course is to assign them tasks requiring collaboration. For example, break students into groups and instruct each group to research a certain aspect of a topic (such as plants’ life cycle stages). Then, have each group report to the whole class on what they’ve learned and discovered. Students will enjoy being able to teach their peers while also learning something new themselves.


Soren Rosier, PhD

Ph.D. in Education Candidate, Stanford University

Try the jigsaw method, in which students help each other learn about a subject. This technique involves dividing a larger topic into several smaller parts. Divide the class into several groups. Every person in each of those groups learns independently, then they come together and share out what they’ve learned.

How to teach biology

5-Read journals and other resources on teaching biology.

To teach biology in new and exciting ways, you should source diverse resources such as papers, journals, and websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors that affect effective biology teaching?

Teacher’s knowledge, student engagement, relating concepts to real life, hands-on activities.

What are the 3 main teaching methods?

Lecture, discussion, hands-on/lab activities.

Which is the most efficient method of teaching?

Hands-on and inquiry-based methods actively engage students in the learning process.

What is the scientific method of teaching biology?

Encouraging observation, asking questions, forming hypotheses, experimentation, and drawing conclusions.

What are the 4 methods of teaching science?

Lecture, discussion, inquiry/lab activities, educational trips.

How do you teach biology to high school students?

Relate concepts to real life, do hands-on labs, use models and visuals, incorporate activities and projects, promote discussion and critical thinking.


  • https://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Biology
  • The biology collection at the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT).[11][12]
  • The American Biology Teacher
  • CBE Life Sciences Education[13]
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education[14]
  • Bioscience: Journal of College Biology Teaching

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