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The use of mathematics to investigate life science related problems

Biostatistics is a field of science that uses mathematics to investigate a number of life science related problems, including those pertaining to genetics, medicine, biology, agriculture, and environmental health.  Biostatistics uses algorithms, graphical tools, and statistical models and methods for a variety of applications, including the analysis of DNA sequence data and clinical trial results.

Materials for Biostatistics



Description: Information on how biostatistics are used in healthcare

Statistics and Public Health at CDC

Description: Information on the use of statistics in the assessment of public health related issues

Interactive Tutorials

Population Genetics and Evolution

Description: Information and practice problems on allelic frequency and the Hardy-Weinberg Law of Genetic Equilibrium

Labs & Experiments

Genetics of Organisms

Description: A virtual lab that uses fruit flies, mono- and dihybrid crosses, and statistics to teach concepts of inheritance

Teacher Resources

Build a Gel Electrophoresis Chamber (PDF 8,261.5 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Step-by-step instructions for building a gel electrophoresis chamber using inexpensive materials that are easily obtained from local hardware and electronics stores.

Colorful Electrophoresis (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A step by step guide to pouring and running a gel electrophoresis chamber using agar and food coloring from your kitchen pantry.

Iceland’s Genetic Database: Good or Bad Idea? (PDF 28.17 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This lesson examines issues stemming from genetic databanks and population genetics studies.

Mendelian Genetics, Probability, Pedigree, and Chi-Square Statistics (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: A lesson that requires students to work through a series of questions pertaining to the genetics of sickle cell disease and its relationship to malaria. These questions will probe students' understanding of Mendelian genetics, probability, pedigree analysis, and chi-square statistics.

Mystery Yeast Mutation (PDF 381.48 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: In this inquiry-based exploration students are asked to discover the nature of the mutation in a yeast strain by designing and carrying out their own experiments. Students are provided with a conundrum: the same mutant yeast strain can grow on one type of media plate but not another.

Retinoblastoma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Body Mass Index, Oh My! (PDF 196.72 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Building on their intuitive understanding of twin study correlations, students analyze subsets of data to determine how strong the environmental and genetic influences are for three different traits/conditions. Students use mean, standard deviation, and Pearson correlation coefficient to describe and make meaning of their data. They also graph their data and correlations, and compare the results from their subset of data to the results of a group using a different subset of the data.

Scitable Faculty Resources

Description: The Scitable faculty resource pages include a tool for creating virtual classrooms, the Scitable Faculty Discussion Group, and a variety of instructive courses for educators

Statistics Education Web (STEW)

Description: Statistics Education Web (STEW) Lesson plans on statistics for K-12 math and science teachers

Statistics Education Webinars

Description: Statistics webinars for math and science teachers

The Probabilities of Problems: A Look at Inheritance (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Students learn how to calculate the the probabilities of passing on certain genetic disorders and then evaluate case studies involving genetic testing.


The Power of Numbers

Description: An engaging video introducing core statistical concepts such as mean, median, and standard deviation.