Saturday, September 30, 2006

Homework for Monday 10/2

Thank you to those of you who turned in your 54321's on time (if you didn't, well, better luck next week). Rather than hand back the rubrics with comments from now on, I will email you back comments and your grade.


Honors: Read and outline sections 4.1 and 4.2

General: Read section 5.1 and answer the section review questions 1-4 (yes, do answer the critical thinking question).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Student work on macromolecules

Check out the video below for some samples of posters (and a rap, thanks David and Carson) on Macromolecules. Don't know what a macromolecule is? Well, you'd better check out this video/slideshow. Turn up the sound, there's also a song....


US homework is being outsourced....

Having trouble with your homework? Dial your friendly tutor in India.....

Click here to read the article (from

Macromolecules Quiz

Students took an open notes quiz on Macromolecules (lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids and nucleotides).

E Block's Saturday class: Read the article "Turf Warrior." Click here to read the article (From

Honors: Read and outline sections 4.1 and 4.2 in your book.
General: Read section 5.1 and answer questions 1-4 (yes, do answer the Critical Thinking question).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Proteins and Nucleic Acids

NOTE: This post applies to both Wednesday and Thursday Classes
Admit Slip:
General: What were the three most challenging aspects of the reading from last night's homework (aka: what "didn't you get?")

Honors: What you do you know/think you know about Proteins and Nucleic Acids

Objective: Students will be able to define and give examples of proteins and nucleic acids. Students will demonstrate their understanding by giving an oral or visual presentation at the end of class.
Study and organize your notes for a quiz on Friday. The quiz will be open notes, but not open book. REMEMBER: YOUR NOTES CAN ONLY HELP YOU IF YOU KNOW HOW TO FIND INFORMATION. The quiz will cover material from the first day of class to now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Carbohydrates, Lipids (and Amino Acids)

Admit Slip: What are the three key points from each of the sections of the reading that you had for homework?

Honors: Students will be able to identify and differentiate between carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids. In groups of 3-4 students will give a short (1-2 minute) oral presentation (skit, news cast, etc.) on one of the following: carbohydrates, lipids or amino acids.
General: same as honors accept amino acids were not covered. These will be introduced tomorrow.


Honors none.
General: Read pages 64-67 and answer questions 1-4 in the section review.

Monday, September 25, 2006

How to Read a Science Book

Admit Slip: Complete the notebook quiz

Objective: Discuss the challenges of reading a science textbook. Students will practice reading and outlining from Chapter 3 in Starr's 6th ed. Biology.


Honors classes: Read and create an outline for Sections 3.3,3.4 and 3.5 IF YOU ARE GOING TO REWRITE YOUR ABSTRACT, IT IS DUE IN CLASS TOMORROW. (If you don't have class, put it in my Meservey Mailbox).

General class: Read pages 60-64 and answer questions 1-4 in the section review.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

An Exemplary 5-4-3-2-1

As a change of pace (and no, it's not because I am lazy this week), I wanted to post what I thought was an exemplary 5-4-3-2-1. The only thing that I altered was that I removed the answer to the question "What are two really great things that happened this week?" to protect this student's privacy.

Below the student's responses is my explanation for why I thought this 5-4-3-2-1 was particularly well done.

21 September 2006
a. A gram is much lighter than I thought it was, making some of my predictions during the mix and match exercise seem a bit absurd. A gram is not even close to a pound in mass which I first thought were comparable to each other however, a gram is really only about .0022 pounds.

b. An abstract is more than a summery of an experiment. It explains the experiment in detail without stating every detail of the experiment. It gives the reader a total picture of why the experiment was performed, what it accomplished, mentions certain materials that were used, and either states the results or predicts them.

c. When a certain animal that is indigenous to a certain area is moved from its home to another, much different environment, the animal is susceptible to many different viruses as well as other factors like other animals which may eat them. The fact is that the animals that are in a certain area are genetically predisposed to what ever land they have known whether it be as a result of evolution or not.

d. I never knew Mentos had such an explosive reaction when mixed with Coca Cola. The coke experiment I witnessed showed how volatile the two can be when mixed with each other.

e. Coming up with an experiment that is realistic as well as accurate is not easy. So many variables must be taken into account for even the most financially blessed of scientists. The experiment I came up originally with was a good idea that may have shown me as well as others an answer or solution to the problem of rust on hockey skates. I did not have the resources nor the time to do the experiment properly and therefore had to switch my project to a more reasonable one that did not really solve an important problem.

a. How exactly does the genetic predisposition of an animal factor into its survival? The fox squirrel project seemed like a very interesting topic for this concept.

b. Why is this predisposition mentioned in the previous question existent in some cases but not in others, is it the result of evolution or something else?

c. What is the chemical in the Mentos that causes the explosive reaction as witnessed in the experiment performed outside?

d. Why is an abstract important in the process of the experiment? Why can’t the facts in the experiment be simply stated and left to the interpretation of the reader?

a. Genetics seem like a very interesting thing to learn about. I think that it is important to understand the genetic make up of an organism to better understand why and how it functions.

b. I would like to learn more about the delmarva fox squirrel experiment and how it can be used in the future to help recover other endangered species.

d. I would like to do more work designing an experiment, only in a hypothetical situation since I do not have the materials that can be used to make an experiment that could benefit mankind right now but maybe someday.

a. Hopefully I’ve improved my 5-4-3-2-1 for this week since last weeks was mediocre at best.
I would also like to improve my in-class work since my original experiment in the design your own experiment exercise was not very inspired; I think I can do more in terms of innovation compared to some of the work I did this week.

This student was particularly thoughtful and reflective in his/her responses and made reference to specific topics that were discussed in class. The student was honest in acknowledging that previous work was subpar. When the student stated what was learned in class he/she included how that information personally impacted him/her.

Saving Your 5-4-3-2-1's

Thank you to those of you who have been saving your 54321's correctly. However some of you are not saving them the right way.

Please save your work like this:

(Letter of your block)(Last name)(date in number format)

For Example:

Perhaps you're asking yourself, "Why is Ms. Saxe being so uptight about saving it this way, who cares?" Because for each file that is saved incorrectly, I need to go back and rename it, which takes time and is annoying. Also, if the files are not renamed, I can't see who has submitted the assignment and who hasn't because the files on my computer all have the same name.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Presenting Your Experiments & Review

Admit Slip: What is the title of your abstract? Does it follow the "rules" of a scientific title? The guidelines are on the top half of the abstract handout.

Objective: Students will present and answer questions about their experiments.

The BIG QUESTION: Were we "hands on" and "minds on" this week? How can we be more "minds on" in class?

Honors class: complete the "More than a Glossary" book tour worksheet.
General class: complete the "what i know, what i think i know, what i want to know" about Cells and Energy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Writing an Abstract and Finishing Conducting Your Original Experiment

***NOTE: This post applies to all classes and is for Wednesday and Thursday***

Admit Slip: What is a summary? Who writes summaries?

Objective: 1. Students will read an abstract from a published scientific article. 2. Students will be able to identify what should and should not be included in an abstract and will demonstate their understanding by writing an abstract for their own experiments. 3. Students will complete their experiments.

Handouts: Writing an Abstract/Title from the Colby College Guide to Writing Scientific Papers on the back of this hand out are sample abstracts. One of the abstracts is from Stacey Lance

Homework DUE FRIDAY.
1. Write an abstract using the guidelines in the handout.
2. Below your abstract list AT LEAST two sources of error.
3. Include a figure/table/chart etc. presenting your data.
4. Be prepared to present your study to the class on Friday September 22.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Design Your Own Experiment

Admit Slip: Look at your hypotheses from last night's homework. Identify the independent and dependent variables.

Objective: Students will gain a greater understanding of the scientific method by designing and conducting their own experiment. Specific attention will be paid to writing a testable hypothesis, identifying independent/dependent variables, a control group and data collection.

Handouts: Design Your Own Experiment Planning Sheet.

Homework: All classes bring the neccessary materials to conduct your experiment to class. If you have completed your experiment, begin to analyze the data.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mix and Match Mass

Admit Slip:
What is a metric unit for measuring length?
What is a metric unit for measuring mass?
What is a metric unit for measuring volume?
What is a metric unit for measuring height?

Objective: Students will practice making predictions about mass, using a triple beam balance to check their predictions and continue doing metric conversions (between metric units only).

Handouts: Mix and Match Mass lab sheet, Metric System Challenge sheet

Homework all classes:
1. Complete the metric system challenge.
2. Write down THREE hypotheses that you could test in class.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Answers to Questions Posed in the 5-4-3-2-1 due September 15, 2006

Below are the answers to some of the questions and the things that you'd like to learn more about from the 5-4-3-2-1 due September 15, 2006.

Q: WHY is this 54321 paper so vital?
A: Because I said so. Just kidding. There are several goals of the 54321: 1. Basically, to force you to review your notes at least once a week, so that when you have an exam you have already done some review. 2. To provide a way for you to ask and get questions answered that you may not have thought of or had a chance to ask in class. 3. To push you to think beyond reading a text and perhaps get you interested in various areas of Biology.

Q:How can learning about Biology help us understand the world?
Ernst Mayer, author of This is Biology: Study of the Living World said (much better than I ever could have) "Every educated person should have an understanding of basic biological concepts-evolution, biodiversity, competition, extinction, adaptation, natural selection, reproductive development, and a host of others…Overpopulation, the destruction of the environment, and the malaise of the inner cities cannot be solved by technological advances, nor by literature or history, but by measures that are based on an understanding of the biological roots of these problems."

Q: What is the website to the Chimpz crossing guard. Cause it would
be cool to see.
A: Click here to watch Chimps cross the road.

Q: Why are we not able to dissect pigs or cats?
A: We aren't dissecting pigs or cats because I feel that the intellectual return on dissections is rather low. Yes, dissections are fun, messy and any excuse to cut something up is a good excuse. However, dissections take substantial amounts of time and don't always relate to the "big picture."

Q: What aspects of biology are we going to learn?
A: Each term is structured around a central theme. After we get through the review of the scientific method, the fall theme is Energy (cells, nutrition, photosynthesis and cellular respiration). The winter theme is Evolution of Disease and the spring theme is Biodiversity.

Q: How do you use the metric conversion sheet?
A: Click here for a helpful conversion website.

Q:How often is the scientific method used in the real world?
A: All the time. Scientists are contantly making observations, forming hypotheses and conducting experiments. Look up any scientific article through EBSCO for examples.

Q:Why don't we rearrange the desks so it is not so cramped?
A: If anyone can think of a way to move the desks so that there is more room, by all means, please let me know. The only restriction is that we still need to be able to seat 15 students.

Q: I need to know more ways to make quantitative measurements.
A: Use any measuring device (a ruler, scale, triple beam balance, graduated cylinder, odometer etc.)

Q: What specifically does Biology mean?
A: Study of life, from the Latin bio meaning life/living and logy meaning study of.

Q: What makes a good hypothesis?
Click here to go to for a helpful explanation of what makes a good hypothesis. You can also find an explanation of independent and dependent variables.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Turf Warrior Article Discussion

Admit Slip: You are given an article to read and some of the pages are missing or are out of order. Give one good way and one bad way to deal with this.

Objective: 1. Students will have a debates as to whether or not genetically modified (transgenic) grass will have positive or negative impacts on society and the environment. 2. Students be able to identify what makes a source reliable or questionable when conducting research.

Questions raised as a result of the debates:
**What will the economic impacts be of producing transgenic grass if Europe has a zero tollerance policy for transgenic organisms?
**What will the impact of transgenic organisms be on native species?
**Are there any crops that are not genetically modified?

NOTE: Because I made a mistake in photocopying the article and many people wasted valuable time trying to decipher the text, you will not have homework tonight.

Click here if you would like to read the article in the correct order (From

Friday, September 15, 2006


Admit Slip: Think back to (or look at) the science news articles from earlier in the week. What were at least two of the variables that were studied in those experiments.

Objective: Students will be able to identify and differentiate between Independent, Dependent, Qualitative and Quantitative variables as well as control groups.

Handouts: Simpson's problem set; Turf Warrior Article

Homework for Blocks B, A and C:

Read the article Turf Warrior. Complete the following:
1. Make a list of all the variables described in the article
2. What are AT LEAST 3 pros and 3 cons of the developments discussed in this article.
3. What are AT LEAST 2 questions you have about the methods discussed in the article.
4. What is AT LEAST 1 environmental concern presented in this article.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If you are having trouble opening the 5-4-3-2-1 attachment...

Click here to download the 5-4-3-2-1 template





Scientific Measurement

Long Blocks for Honors A & Honors E ONLY today

Admit Slip: Write down a minimum of 5 ways to make quantitative observations/measurements.

Objective: Students will be assessed on their ability to acurately measure the mass, volume and dimensions of various solids and liquids.

Handouts: Metric Conversion Table and Conversion Problem Set


Complete metric conversion problems.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Scientific Measurement

Admit Slip: Write down a minimum of 5 ways to make quantitative observations/measurements.

Objective Honors Class: Students will be assessed on thier ability to acurately measure the mass, volume and dimensions of various solids and liquids.

Objective General Class: Students will practice working with various units of measurement and converting between metric units.

Handouts: Metric Conversion Table

B Block: Conversion Homework

C Block: Complete Conversion problems.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scientific Method and Global Science News


Admit Slip: Using the notes from yesterday's class, come up with three good hypotheses.

Objective: Read various science news articles/abstracts and be able to identify the components of the scientific method. Students will show understanding by answering guiding questions.

Handouts: Questions to go along with the science news articles.


General Biology: Read the section "Scientific Measurement" on pages 17-19. Copy the chart from the top of page 18 into your notes. Answer #3 on page 19, 6 & 7 on page 30 and #13 on page 31.

Honors classes have the night off. Get some sleep.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Scientific Method


Admit Slip: Write a paragraph answering the question: What is science?

Objective: Be able to identify and describe all major components of the scientific method.

Handouts: A copy of the 5-4-3-2-1 rubric.
A Block: REVISE your Null and Alternative hypotheses, experimental method and create a data table.
B Block: Find an article about a scientific breakthrough/discovery. Read it. Highlight key information/take notes on it. Come up with three questions related to the article. For example: things you don't understand, want to learn more about etc. Lastly answer the question: How does this discovery or breakthrough impact you? Bring the article to class. Bonus points if nobody else in the class has your article.
C Block: Using the classnotes as a guideline, come up with a hypothesis and an experimental design that you could actually do in class.
E Block: Find an article about a scientific breakthrough/discovery. Read it. Highlight key information/take notes on it. Come up with three questions related to the article. For example: things you don't understand, want to learn more about etc. Lastly answer the question: How does this discovery or breakthrough impact you? Bring the article to class. Bonus points if nobody else in the class has your article.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What sound does a raisin make?

Based on what we discussed in class today, create a hypothesis revolving around "what sound does a raisin make?" Please use only your current knowledge of hypotheses.

Honors Classes:
In addition to creating a hypothesis, create an outline of an experiment that you could actually do to test your hypothesis.