Science Class Question-and-Answer Topics

To keep your students on their toes with these science quizzes

Pupils (9-12) performing experiment in science class, smiling

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Looking for some quick and easy reviews to make sure your students are paying attention in science class? Here's is a list of short question-and-answer topics that can be used in any general high-school level science class. These can be used for general topic review, pop quizzes, or combined for a subject exam. 

Week One - Biology

1. What are the steps of the scientific method

Answer: making observations, forming a hypothesis, experimenting and drawing conclusions
Continued Below...

2. What do the following scientific prefixes mean?
bio, entomo, exo, gen, micro, ornitho, zoo

Answer: bio-life, entomo-insect, exo-outside, gen-beginning or origin, micro-small, ornitho-bird, zoo-animal

3. What is the standard unit of measurement in the International System of Measurement?

Answer: Meter

4. What is the difference between weight and mass?

Answer: Weight is the measure of gravitational force one object has on another. Weight can change based on the amount of gravity. Mass is the amount of matter in an object. Mass is constant.

5. What is the standard unit of volume?

Answer: Liter

Week Two - Biology

1. What is the hypothesis of biogenesis?
Answer: It states that living things can only come from living things. Francisco Redi(1626-1697) did experiments with flies and meat to support this hypothesis.

2. Name three scientists that did experiments related to the hypothesis of biogenesis?

Answer: Francisco Redi (1626-1697), John Needham (1713-1781), Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-1799), Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

3. What are the characteristics of living things?

Answer: Life is cellular, uses energy, grows, metabolizes, reproduces, responds to the environment and moves.

4. What are the two types of reproduction?

Answer: Asexual reproduction and Sexual reproduction

5. Describe one way in which a plant responds to stimuli

Answer: A plant can angle or move towards a light source. Some sensitive plants will actually curl their leaves after being touched.

Week Three - Basic Chemistry

1. What are the three main subatomic particles of the atom? 

Answer: proton, neutron, and electron

2. What is an ion?

Answer: An atom that has gained or lost one or more electrons. This gives the atom a positive or negative charge.

3. A compound is matter composed of two or more elements chemically bonded. What is the difference between a covalent bond and an ionic bond?

Answer: covalent - electrons are shared; ionic - electrons are transferred.

4. A mixture is two or more distinct substances that are mixed together but are not chemically bonded. What is the difference between a homogenous mixture and a heterogeneous mixture?

Answer: homogenous - The substances are evenly distributed throughout the mixture. An example would be a solution.
heterogeneous - The substances are not evenly distributed throughout the mixture. An example would be a suspension. 

5. If household ammonia has a pH of 12, is it an acid or a base?

Answer: base

Week Four - Basic Chemistry

1. What is the difference between organic and inorganic compounds? 

Answer: Organic compounds have carbon.

2. What are the three elements that are in the organic compounds called carbohydrates?

Answer: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen

3. What are the building blocks of proteins?

Answer: amino acids

4. State the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy.

Answer: Mass is neither created or destroyed.
Energy is neither created or destroyed. 

5. When does a skydiver have the greatest potential energy? When does a skydiver have the greatest kinetic energy?

Answer: Potential - when he is leaning out of the plane about to jump.
Kinetic - when he is plummeting to the earth.

Week Five - Cell Biology

1. Which scientist is given credit for being the first to observe and identify cells? 

Answer: Robert Hooke

2. What types of cells do not contain membrane-bound organelles and are the oldest known forms of life?

Answer: Prokaryotes

3. Which organelle controls a cell's activities?

Answer: Nucleus

4. Which organelles are known as the powerhouses of the cell because they produce energy?

Answer: Mitochondria 

5. Which organelle is responsible for the production of protein? 

Answer: Ribosomes

Week Six - Cells and Cellular Transport

1. In the plant cell, what organelle is responsible for the production of food? 

Answer: Chloroplasts

2. What is the main purpose of the cell membrane?

Answer: It helps to regulate the passage of materials between the wall and its environment.

3. What do we call the process when a sugar cube dissolves in a cup of water?

Answer: Diffusion

4. Osmosis is a type of diffusion. However, what is being diffused in osmosis?

Answer: Water 

5. What is the difference between endocytosis and exocytosis

Answer: Endocytosis - the process that cells use to take in large molecules that can not fit through the cell membrane. Exocytosis - the process that cells use to expel large molecules from the cell.

Week Seven - Cell Chemistry

1. Would you classify human beings as autotrophs or heterotrophs? 

Answer: We are heterotrophs because we gain our food from other sources.

2. What do we collectively call all the reactions taking place in a cell?

Answer: Metabolism

3. What is the difference between anabolic and catabolic reactions?

Answer: Anabolic - simple substances join to make more complex ones. Catabolic - complex substances are broken down to make simpler ones.

4. Is the burning of wood an endergonic or exergonic reaction? Explain why.

Answer: The burning of wood is an exergonic reaction because energy is given off or released in the form of heat. An endergonic reaction uses energy. 

5. What are enzymes? 

Answer: They are special proteins that act as catalysts in a chemical reaction.

Week Eight - Cellular Energy

1. What is the main difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration? 

Answer: Aerobic respiration is a type of cellular respiration that requires oxygen. Anaerobic respiration does not use oxygen.

2. Glycolysis occurs when glucose is changed into this acid. What is the acid? 

Answer: Pyruvic Acid

3. What is the main difference between ATP and ADP?

Answer: ATP or adenosine triphosphate has one more phosphate group than adenosine diphosphate.

4. Most autotrophs use this process to make food. The process literally translated means 'putting together light'. What do we call this process?

Answer: photosynthesis 

5. What is the green pigment in the cells of plants called? 

Answer: chlorophyll

Week Nine - Mitosis and Meiosis

1. Name the five phases of mitosis

Answer: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, interphase

2. What do we call the division of the cytoplasm? 

Answer: cytokinesis

3. In what type of cell division does the chromosome number reduce by one half and gametes form?

Answer: meiosis

4. Name the male and female gametes and the process that creates each of them.

Answer: female gametes - ova or eggs - oogenesis
male gametes - sperm - spermatogenesis 

5. Explain the differences between mitosis and meiosis in relation to the daughter cells. 

Answer: mitosis - two daughter cells that are identical to each other and the parent cell
meiosis - four daughter cells that contain a varying combination of chromosomes and that are not identical to the parent cells 

Week Ten - DNA and RNA

1. Nucleotides are the basis of the DNA molecule. Name the components of a nucleotide. 

Answer: Phosphate groups, deoxyribose (a five-carbon sugar) and nitrogenous bases.

2. What is the spiral shape of a DNA molecule called? 

Answer: double helix

3. Name the four nitrogenous bases and correctly pair them with one another. 

Answer: Adenine always bonds with thymine.
Cytosine always bonds with guanine. 

4. What is the process that produces RNA from the information in DNA?

Answer: transcription

5. RNA contains the base uracil. What base does it replace from DNA?

Answer: thymine 

Week Eleven - Genetics

1. Name the Austrian Monk that laid the foundation for the study of modern genetics. 

Answer: Gregor Mendel

2. What is the difference between homozygous and heterozygous? 

Answer: Homozygous - occurs when the two genes for a trait are the same.
Heterozygous - occurs when the two genes for a trait are different, also known as a hybrid.

3. What is the difference between dominant and recessive genes?

Answer: Dominant - genes that prevent the expression of another gene.
Recessive - genes that are suppressed. 

4. What is the difference between genotype and phenotype?

Answer: Genotype is the genetic makeup of the organism.
Phenotype is the outward appearance of the organism.

5. In a particular flower, red is dominant over white. If a heterozygous plant is crossed with another heterozygous plant, what will be the genotypic and phenotypic ratios? You may use a Punnett square to find your answer.

Answer: genotypic ratio = 1/4 RR, 1/2 Rr, 1/4 rr
phenotypic ratio = 3/4 Red, 1/4 White 

Week Twelve - Applied Genetics

Week Twelve Science Warm-Ups:

1. What do we call the changes in hereditary material?

Answer: mutations

2. What are the two basic types of mutations?

Answer: chromosomal alteration and gene mutation

3. What is the common name for the condition trisomy 21 which occurs because a person has an extra chromosome?

Answer: Down Syndrome

4. What do we call the process of crossing animals or plants with desirable characteristics to produce offspring with the same desirable characteristics?

Answer: selective breeding

5. The process of forming genetically identical offspring from a single cell is in the news a great deal. What do we call this process. Also, explain if you think it is a good thing.

Answer: cloning; answers will vary

Week Thirteen - Evolution

1. What do we call the process of new life evolving from pre-existing lifeforms? 

Answer: evolution

2. What organism is often classified as a transitional form between reptiles and birds? 

Answer: Archaeopteryx

3. What French scientist of the early nineteenth century put forth the hypothesis of use and disuse to explain evolution?

Answer: Jean Baptiste Lamarck 

4. What islands off the coast of Ecuador were the topic of study for Charles Darwin?

Answer: Galapagos Islands

5. An adaptation is an inherited trait that makes an organism better able to survive. Name three types of adaptations.

Answer: morphological, physiological, behavioral 

Week Fourteen - History of Life

1. What is chemical evolution? 

Answer: The process by which inorganic and simple organic compounds change into more complex compounds.

2. Name the three periods of the Mesozoic period. 

Answer: Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic

3. Adaptive radiation is the rapid expansion of many new species. What group probably experienced adaptive radiation at the beginning of the Paleocene epoch?

Answer: mammals 

4. There are two competing ideas to explain the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Name the two ideas.

Answer: meteor impact hypothesis and climate change hypothesis

5. Horses, donkeys and zebras have a common ancestor in the Pliohippus. Over time these species have become different from each other. What is this pattern of evolution called?

Answer: divergence 

Week Fifteen - Classification

1. What is the term for the science of classification? 

Answer: taxonomy

2. Name the Greek philosopher that introduced the term species. 

Answer: Aristotle

3. Name the scientist that created a classification system using species, genus and kingdom. Also tell what he called his naming system.

Answer: Carolus Linnaeus; binomial nomenclature 

4. According to the hierarchical system of classification there are seven major categories. Name them in order from largest to smallest.

Answer: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species

5. What are the five kingdoms?

Answer: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia 

Week Sixteen - Viruses

1. What is a virus

Answer: A very small particle made up of nucleic acid and protein.

2. What are the two classes of viruses? 

Answer: RNA viruses and DNA viruses

3. In viral replication, what do we call the bursting of the cell?

Answer: lysis 

4. What are the phages called that cause lysis in their hosts?

Answer: virulent phages

5. What are short naked strands of RNA with similarities to viruses called?

Answer: viroids 

Week Seventeen - Bacteria

1. What is a colony? 

Answer: A group of celss that are similar and attached to one another.

2. What two pigments do all blue-green bacteria have in common? 

Answer: Phycocyanin (blue) and Chlorophyll (green)

3. Name the three groups that most bacteria are divided into.

Answer: cocci - spheres; bacilli - rods; spirilla - spirals 

4. What is the process by which most bacteria cells divide?

Answer: binary fission

5. Name two ways that bacteria exchange genetic material.

Answer: conjugation and transformation 

Week Eighteen - The Protists

1. What type of organisms make up kingdom Protista

Answer: simple eukaryotic organisms.

2. Which subkingdom of the protists contain algal protists, which contains fungal protists and which contain animallike protists? 

Answer: Protophyta, Gymnomycota, and Protozoa

3. What structure(s) do Euglenoids use to move around?

Answer: flagella 

4. What are cilia and which Phylum is made up of one-celled organisms that have man of them?

Answer: Cilia are short hairlike extensions from a cell; Phylum Ciliata

5. Name two diseases caused by protozoans.

Answer: malaria and dysentery 

Week Nineteen - Fungi

1. What is a group or network of fungal hyphae called? 

Answer: mycelium

2. What are the four phyla of fungi? 

Answer: oomycota, zygomycota, ascomycota, basidiomycota

3. What are the land dwelling zygomycota often known as?

Answer: molds and blights 

4. Name the British scientist that discovered penicillin in 1928.

Answer: Dr. Alexander Fleming

5. Name three common products that are the result of fungal activity.

Answer: Ex: alcohol, bread, cheese, antibiotics, etc. 

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Kelly, Melissa. "Science Class Question-and-Answer Topics." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Kelly, Melissa. (2023, April 5). Science Class Question-and-Answer Topics. Retrieved from Kelly, Melissa. "Science Class Question-and-Answer Topics." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).