Biology EOC STAAR Review

My husband and I teach state-tested subjects in Texas and we have both created reviews. The following blogpost is from my husband who is a Biology teacher:

How do you get ready for your state exams? This is not an easy task and do you really want to create all your own material? I asked myself this same question a few years ago. The thing is, I was the only Biology teacher on my campus, so I did not have much of a choice. I knew that I didn’t want to create a massive resource that I couldn’t use, so I decide to break it into the 5 Reporting Categories that the state of Texas uses to organize the material. This seemed much more manageable than thinking about individual TEKS. I looked at the released tests and noticed many questions that kept reappearing and what the readiness standards were. Even when the TEKS slightly changed a few years ago, there were no major changes needed in my review. I’m proud to say, that I’ve used my reviews going on 5 years now and other than a few minor tweaks here and there, it is still a great review and relevant now more than ever. Please take the time to look at each category and see if any of this is something that you can use. All 5 categories are sold in a bundle, but each individual category is sold on it’s own as well. If you are struggling to know what to use to help you students, I think you will find this material very helpful. My advice is that you reflect on your data and decide where you need to spend most of your time and start planning now. Do you like to spiral information throughout the year? Do you need to do whole class reviews or individual reviews through tutorials? Are you planning a camp? Get a picture of where you should put your efforts, then it’s time to decide the resources you will want to use.

Category 1: This is a Biology review for Category 1: Cell Structure and Function. It is aligned with standards for the Texas EOC, but can be used for any science class as a review for cells and cell processes. The critical thinking worksheet supports critical thinking with 2 versions- one with a word bank, one without. This is a good collaborative piece, partner work or individual assessment. Students enjoy coloring so, why not learn about organelles while doing it? While using manipulatives, students can demonstrate knowledge of similarities/differences of the two cell types (pro- and eukaryotes) by categorizing cell characteristics using cards.

Category 2: Students typically struggle with genetic inheritance and anything DNA. This package focuses on essential vocabulary and working Punnett squares. Help your students become proficient with the language of genetics and protein synthesis! Below is is one of the pages of task cards that is available in this review.

Category 3: This item will help students become familiar with the hierarchy of classification. Students critically think about how to color the Kingdom chart based on characteristics. Next, they classify themselves and for this activity, I have them choose one additional organism for each taxon that is shared with humans.  Dear King Phillip Came Over For Good Soup!

Category 4: This set allows students to describe the interactions among systems focusing on regulation, nutrient absorption, reproduction and defense from injury/illness. Maintenance of homeostasis is featured as well as intensive investigation of the relationship between products and reactants of cellular respiration and photosynthesis.

Category 5: Ecology and energy flow review focuses on species interactions with each other and the ecosystem. The War Card Set will take on a life of its own. Most students know how to play war with cards but I noticed some groups would play an adaptation to Uno or they would make up their own game. Definitely make at least 4 sets and watch the creativity bloom!

I’ve added a new resource this year that I am excited to use. This idea came to me from playing a game at my daughter’s house. This activity breaks the monotony of worksheets and is competitive. Again, I broke it down by categories and I sell it as a bundle as well as individual categories. Your students will play a guessing game called “What am I?” Each student will get a chance to read the card where other students are guessing what the mystery word is. There are a total of 64 cards in the bundle. Copy, cut and go! Below, you will see a sample card:

Good luck this year and every year with testing season. It is exhausting, but you will get through it! Please let us hear from you if you have any questions about any of the resources. If you have other biology classroom needs, my store is Dr.H Biology. Click Here TO FOLLOW MY STORE so that you can learn when I upload new resources.


Biology Supplemental Resources for Busy Science Teachers

Creating resources is a family affair at my house. My husband is a biology teacher and has been creating his own resources for a while now. For the past 7 years, he has been the lone biology teacher at his campus, so out of necessity he has to create most of his curriculum. He has decided to bundle all of his labs, activities and assessments into one bundle. So far this supplemental bundle contains 47 resources! The best part about his resources is that he uses every single one of them, so they are classroom tested. One thing that is amazing about selling resources on Teachers Pay Teachers is the ability to improve and add to your resources and this is a constant practice that both my husband and I believe is important. My husband’s description of this bundle is below:

This bundle contains resources I’ve created out of necessity over the years. It has always been my goal to make things fun/interesting but still contain the necessary learning objectives. When I create a resource, I ask myself “If I were a student, would I want to do this?”  I also enjoy watching my students doing the assignments. Actually, they have helped in the development of each resource by finding mistakes, letting me know if something is unclear or confusing and, just if they enjoyed doing it. There have been many times an English or Math teacher has come to me and said “When your kids come to my class they are still talking about what they did in Biology!”  Me: Yesss!

The 47 resources in this bundle can be broken in 4 categories. Out beside each one, I’ve listed how many of those types of resources are in the bundle.

  • Labs (8)
  • Assessments (9)
  • Units (2)
  • Lesson/Activities (28)

Lab Spotlight

The biomolecules analysis lab probably has been through the most research and development in my classroom. It was given the name “Goop Lab” by students at some point. While it requires considerable prep and materials, the students get a real understanding of which foods contain which nutrients. It clears up misconceptions about food and creates a lot of discussion opportunities—especially when students compare their predictions to the actual results. If you are only interested in labs, I do have a lab bundle that contains my 8 lab resources or you can buy each individual lab in my store.


These tests have all been written to follow the activities and labs included in this bundle. One of the most difficult concepts year after year is cell processes. Many students struggle learning things they cannot see. I’m thinking about the Cell Processes test over DNA, Mitosis and Protein Synthesis. I chose images for that test similar to what students will likely see on a state assessment. For a better understanding of cell processes, it is important they can tie the vocabulary to the image.

I’m not big on giving long tests or quizzes. Tests take up time and I like them to be concise and to the point. It is important to me to make sure they cover the objectives, but I never go overboard on giving long tests. Most of mine are 20 questions or less except for the semester exams. If you are only interested in a test bundle, see below (and all my tests are sold individually as well).


I chose two topics to offer as an entire unit: Enzymes and Energy Transfer (cellular respiration + photosynthesis.) These objectives are heavily emphasized on state assessments and, of course, among the most difficult concepts for students to master. Again it is “cell processes” which is something a student cannot see but must understand. I have had good success in my urban-setting classes with each of these.

This unit contains presentations over photosynthesis and cellular respiration with presentation notes for the teacher. Students will be able to take notes from these presentations in their interactive notebooks. There are worksheets over both photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Matching cards are available for an extra activity to help clarify the information. This unit also contains a yeast lab and a 20-question assessment. Answer keys for all worksheets, matching cards and tests are included.


Twenty-eight items is (conveniently) about the number of weeks you have in school that you are not interrupted by testing/field trips/other, etc… Kidding aside, these are all learning-objective-driven and have been developed over several years with much student input. Many of these are matching card activities that have been particularly successful. I keep matching cards out all year and I will routinely use them to fill the last 15-20 minutes of a class. The students will say “we’ve already done these!” Then I say “Okay, prove to me that you learned it!” Repetition is important to achieving mastery!

If you are a Texas teacher, the one thing not included in this supplemental bundle is all of my EOC review resources. These resources are very popular in my store. The most popular item is the bundle that contains reviews for all 5 categories plus has some bonus material. I’ve recently made a new item for reviewing the EOC’s that could be used in any biology classroom no matter where you teach. It came to me when I was playing a game with my family. I titled this activity, “What am I?” A student reads a clue while other students guess what the answer is. More clues are given until the students eventually get the answer. What a great way to review that’s fun and interactive.

Thanks for taking the time to check out all of this information. Teaching is a time consuming career. My hope is that I can save other teachers time and energy by providing them quality lessons and activities. I’d like to leave you with a freebie from my store as a thank you! Get your FREEBIE HERE: Genetics Practice Problem- Dihybrid Crosses

If you are interested in checking out my supplemental bundle in my store click here: Biology Curriculum Supplement: Bundle