Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Vacation!

I hope you all have a wonderful vacation. You have no homework over the break, except to bring back food for the can drive. Please help those who are less fortunate than you.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

While I'm on JUA

Mrs. Joslin will be covering your class, please be nice to her :)
You should be working on your cancer pamphlets. E block: Mrs. Joslin will collect your pamphlets at the end of class on Tuesday. D block, I will collect yours in class.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cancer Pamphlet

While I am on JUA you will be working on creating a pamphlet that discusses a particular cancer's causes, symptoms, detection, prevention and treatment.

For information on specific types of cancer, click here.

Food Drive!

Here's the video from school meeting.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mitosis and Cell Cycle Project

The past few days students have been working on a cell cycle and mitosis project.

To see exemplary student samples from last year, click here.

Below are the guidelines for the project. This is due in class on Friday for E block and Saturday for F block.

REQUIREMENTS: Each Student MUST READ CHAPTER , focusing on ,

Draw, Label, and Define ALL the PARTS of The Cell Cycle.




Monday, December 10, 2007

What would you do?

Today students read and discussed the following case study.

Sam (73) had a growth inside of his mouth for some time that he finally had checked out by his doctor. Following some tests, Dr. MacAvee, an oncologist, told Sam he had cancer of the gum (a squamous [skin] cell cancer). Unfortunately, the cancer had spread to Sam's lymph nodes in his neck and into his tongue and jaw. Dr. MacAvee told Sam they could do radical surgery to take out part of his tongue, the right side of his jawbone, and all of the lymph nodes in his neck, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Sam has refused. Sam's wife, Lois, seems reluctantly supportive of his decision. Sam's daughter, Michelle, has been lobbying Dr. MacAvee to convince her father to accept as aggressive a treatment as possible, so that Sam might have as much time as possible with his twin grand-daughters

What are the consequences of the course of treatment the doctor has suggested?

What is the likely prognosis (what will happen) for a metastatic skin cancer

Does Sam's decision to decline treatment make reasonable sense? Please discuss from the perspective of all people involved.

How should a physician respond to the wishes of a family member

Homework: none :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cancer & You!

E Block:
Objective: Complete a jigsaw activity for the cancer reading.

Students read a packet of information on cancer causes and treatments then shared their answers with a partner.

Homework: Due Monday for both E and F blocks
1. Click here to get the list of types of cancers
2. Choose a cancer that begins with the same letter as your first name (unless your name begins with an F or a J, then you can choose any cancer).
3. Write down:
a. the name of the cancer
b. a 3-5 sentence description of the cancer
c. how many new cases happen each year
d. how many deaths happen each year.

F block:
Objective: Examine the relationship between the cell cycle and cancer.
Students completed a review of the cell cycle worksheet, took notes from a powerpoint and had a discussion on cancer.

Homework: see above

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cell Cycle

Objective: Introduce the cell cycle and complete a review of mitosis.

Homework: Play the cell cycle game here and answer the questions on the worksheet you got in class.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mitosis "Flip Books"

Objective: Today students will create mini flip books for the stages of mitosis an animal cell.

There should be one card/stage. The stages are: prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase and cytokinesis. On the front of each card should be a drawing of mitosis with the appropriate cell parts labeled (scroll down for pictures). On the back of the card should be the name of the stage and a description of what is happening in the cell and what number the stage is (1, 2, 3 or 4).

Homework: Complete the mitosis summary table worksheet. Extra credit: Mitosis coloring sheet.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mitosis & Microscopes cont.

F Block: Read the post below this, from Thursday November 29th, for what you did in class.

E Block:
Objective: Students examined slides to see how a plant cell undergoes mitosis and compared plant cells to animal cells to observe the difference in cell division.

Today students looked at plant cells and after completing drawings, needed to find various stages of mitosis on their own on the slides as opposed to looking at slides that were already focused.

Homework: Read section 9.3 and complete the notetaking sheet. Answer the concept check questions for section 9.3, #1-3 on page 188.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Objective: Students will use microscopes to look at unlabeled slides of animal cells going through mitosis.Purpose: This activity follows the ABC educational theory (activity before concept). Students will draw the stages they see and answer questions about the slides. After answering questions independently, we will talk about the questions as a class.

Homework: Read section 9.1 in the book and answer the concept check questions on page 181 # 1-3.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For the winter term only...

posts made on Tuesday will also apply to Wednesday, unless otherwise noted.
Why's this? Because E and F blocks each meet on either Tuesday or Wednesday for 55 minutes (therefore you'll be doing the same things).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Unit: Cancer, Mitosis & the Cell Cycle

Welcome Back! I hope you all enjoyed you Thanksgiving break and caught up on some much needed rest. We are starting a new unit on Cancer, Mitosis and the Cell Cycle that will take we will finish right before winter break.

Objective: 1. Introduce the cell cycle, cancer and mitosis unit to the students. 2. Identify myths and truths about cancer.

Students competed a true/false quiz in teams
to test their knowledge on cancer (don't worry it doesn't count as a quiz grade). We discussed each myth and explained if it was true or false.

Homework: None.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Food Lab: Bringing together the unit on Macromolecules.

What are you eating? Are you getting the protein you need? Today students conducted an experiment to see if various food samples contain protein, lipids, starch and/or sugars (specifically glucose and sucrose).

Homework: Complete the questions in the lab handout, we will go over the questions and how you should write your lab report.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Macromolecules Wrap Up

Today we finished the presentations on macromolecules. Each group made some great posters and handouts. You should be very proud of yourselves. To make sure we didn't miss any info, students completed a guided reading and study guide to review.

Homework: Bring in three different food samples. 1 that you think contains protein, one that you think contains MOSTLY starch and one that you think contains mostly fat.

Tomorrow we will be doing the Food Lab and you will get to see what your foods contain.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Peer Evaluation for Project

Please answer the following questions as HONESTLY as possible:

1. Out of 100% how much work did you do and how much work did your partner do? If you think you shared the work equally, you would write "I did 50% and my partner did 50%."

2. Were you pleased with the partner you had, or were you disappointed. Explain.

3. What did you learn about group work from this project.

4. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the worst, 10 is the best). What score would you give your parter. You must write at least 3 sentences explaining your grade.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Personal Day

I'm taking a personal day today to recover from the race yesterday. Please come prepared to give your presentations tomorrow.

Friday, November 02, 2007

What are you going to say?

Today students put the final touches on their projects and rehearsed what they are going to say on Tuesday.

Homework: practice what you are going to say for the presentation.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Projects cont.

Today students worked on their projects. Tomorrow students will have a practice presentation of their projects. Remember: this counts as a test grade.

Click here to link to the post with info on your topics and how to cite your sources.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Projects and returning the quizzes.

First things first. On Friday October 26th you took a quiz on Osmosis, Diffusions and Membranes. On Thursday October 25th your homework was to study for this quiz. You were even given a link directly to the vocabulary for this quiz on the post from Thursday October 25th. So, as a result of this your quiz grades stand.

So the next logical question is: How can I raise my grade?

Answer: Do a really great job on your project. You will be working on it again in class today and on Thursday. I will also be available for extra help if you would like to practice your presentation on Thursday night in Moore House.

Homework: Work on your presentations.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Macromolecules Posters Links

Click on any of the links below for help with your projects. Remember to cite where you got your information from. Click here for information on how to cite internet sources and images.

Macromolecule Glossary

Macromolecules Overview





Macromolecule Projects

Objective: Go over project requirements and start working on the macromolecules project.

What is a macromolecule? Well, break it up: Macro = big. Molecule = made up of atoms held together by chemical bonds.

What are the project requirements?

Student Responsibilities

1. Read your assigned section of Chapter 5 in your textbook

2. With your partner, prepare a 15 minute presentation of your section

3. With your partner, prepare a poster that highlights the important concepts and vocabulary in your section. This should include text and pictures/diagrams. Make these artistic, neat, and informative; they will be on display in the classroom.

4. Make vocabulary cards of your section for the rest of the members of the class.

5. Create a handout for your classmates. You have been emailed a handout template.

6. Present your section on the Molecules of Life to the class.

You will be assessed by your teacher and your peers (in your group) on:
-your presentation
-your poster
-your vocabulary cards
-your ability to work in a group
-your contributions to the group effort

Homework: Read your assigned section and BRING NOTES TO CLASS on your section.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quiz and Review of the Lab Reports

"I should have gone to the blog."

"What? This lab report is sooo long! Last year it took me like three minutes to write a lab report."
Objective: 1. Go over the correct way to write a lab report and compare that to way you turned in. 2. Take a quiz on osmosis and diffusion.

Handouts: sample lab report on brightly colored paper and the updated lab rubric on yellow paper.

Today we compared student's lab reports to the sample and we learned that writing lab reports will take more than 15 minutes. Never fear, next week you will have a project on macromolecules to work on and the following week you will have another chance to write a lab report.

Homework: none. Enjoy homecoming weekend. Please bring your books to class on Monday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blue Planet

Well, the NOLS bus broke down so unfortunately we didn't get to learn about alternative energy today. However, in an effort to work ecology in throughout the year, we started to watch Blue Planet and had a discussion about the behavior of marine life.

Homework: study for your quiz on osmosis, diffusion, cell membranes, membrane functions, concentration gradients and the scientific method. To link to a list of the vocabulary that you need to know for the quiz, click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Parents Weekend!

Today parents played board games with their students to review for an upcoming test. Pictures coming soon :)

Homework: Study all of your vocab cards for a test on Friday when you return.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Biology Board Games

"Wow, I need to study, I can't look stupid in front of his mom..."

Objective: Make biology board games to review and to play with your parents & grandparent tomorrow.

Homework: finish your board game and bring in dice.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eggsperiment Lab Write Up

Objective: Review how to write a lab report/start eggsperiment lab write up.

Today we reviewed each section of a scientific paper and the do's and don'ts for each section. Here's a quick summary:

* Write your section headings in bold and center them on the page (ex):

* Have a description of tables and graphs, in addition to labels.
* List at least three sources of errors in the discussion section.
* Type the lab report
* Use the rubric (check your email)

* Have a numerical list of the steps in the procedure or list of materials
* Use the first person "I, My" etc..

Have you "misplaced" the guide to writing scientific papers? Click here for the more elaborate version online.

Each person must turn in his/her own lab report, IN CLASS ON THURSDAY.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eggsperiment Data

E block, please only complete your data. I will give you F block's data in class tomorrow.

All classes should complete analysis questions 1-5.

Eggsperiment Results

Complete eggsperiment observations, data collection and analysis questions.

Today students looked at their eggs after they had been sitting in "secret" solutions over the weekend. Students will complete a data table using data from both E and F blocks.

Homework: Complete analysis questions 1-5 on the back of the lab sheet.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Objective: 1. Conduct the first half of the eggsperiment. 2. Complete the notebook quiz.

What's the eggsperiment? Students used large chicken eggs which had the shell removed using vinegar, revealing a cell membrane. The eggs are then placed in various "secret" solutions of water, sucrose, table sugar and/or corn syrup. The eggs sit over the weekend and on Monday students will be able to see if osmosis and/or diffusion has occurred.

Homework: none.
Pictures from the eggsperimentLong and Madison collect their egg.

Leo and Flash make primary observations of their egg.

Kirsten and Emily find the initial mass of their egg.

Lindsey and Morgan work on their "secret" solution.

Max and Patt work on their "secret" solutions.

E Blocks eggs. The control is the egg on the far left.

F Blocks eggs. The control is the egg on the far left.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Membranes regulate the traffic of molecules

Objective: 1. Students will be able to distinguish between osmosis and diffusion, as well as give examples of each process. 2. Students will be able to identify the three methods for things to enter/exit the cell (active transport, passive transport, exo/endocytosis).

The plan:
complete reading quiz
finish membrane protein function notes
fill in guided notes on osmosis and diffusion

Make Flash Cards for the 17 following words/concepts:

1. Phospholipid Bilayer
2. hydrophobic
3. hydrophilic
4. Components of a cell membrane (phospholipid bilayer, proteins, carbohydrates)
5. Four functions of membrane proteins (enzyme activity, cell-cell recognition, cell signaling, transport of materials)
6. Diffusion
7. Osmosis
8. Equilibrium
9. Passive Transport
10. Facilitated Diffusion
11. Hypertonic Solution
12. Isotonic Solution
13. Hypotonic Solution
14. Active Transport
15. Vesicle
16. Exocytosis
17. Endocytosis

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cell Membrane Structure

Objective: 1. Learn the composition of the cell membrane. 2. Be able to explain how substances enter and leave the cell (the role that proteins play in the cell membrane).

Today we had our first reading quiz of the year! Something that is likely to happen more often. Students needed to answer five questions about the reading and could use any notes they had taken. What did we learn from this experience?
"Ugh, I should have done the reading."
"I guess I should have taken notes."
"I should have written down the homework."

Student were given their midterm progress reports with a total of 23 assignments so far!

Tonight's homework: If you haven't read section 6.3 read it and be ready for a reading quiz.

Extra Credit: Find the answers to "What happens if you get the wrong type of blood? How long can you live with the wrong type of blood?"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lab Report Rubric








Includes the environmental factors that were manipulated, the parameter that was measured and the specific organism that was studied.



Includes the observation and question that led to the hypothesis, any relevant background information and the hypothesis.


Materials and Methods

Describes (not lists) how the experiment was conducted. The equipment used in the experiment is NOT listed, instead is part of the narrative. If well-known methods were used without changes, simply name the methods (e.g., standard microscopic techniques).



Here the researcher presents summarized data for inspection using narrative text and, where appropriate, tables and figures to display summarized data. Only the results are presented. No interpretation of the data or conclusions about what the data might mean are given in this section.


Formatting of tables or graphs

All tables or graphs have titles and a description explaining what is presented.



Here, the researcher interprets the data in terms of any patterns that were observed. The author should include any explanations of how the results differed from those hypothesized. Include at least 3 sources of error.



This section simply states what the researcher thinks the data mean, and, as such, should relate directly back to the problem/question stated in the introduction.



In this section you should give credit to people who have helped you with the research or with writing the paper. If your work has been supported by a grant, you would also give credit for that in this section.


Literature Cited

This section lists, in alphabetical order by author, all published information that was referred to anywhere in the text of the paper. It provides the readers with the information needed should they want to refer to the original literature on the general problem.


Spelling & Grammar

Report is free from spelling and grammatical errors.


Total Points


Quiz on Cell Parts

At the beginning of class I handed back the rip-o-meter labs along with lab rubric. From now on please use this rubric to make sure that your labs have all the right information.

You also had a quiz on the parts of the cell, scientific method and microscope skills.

Homework: re-read section 6.2 and read section 6.3

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Plant Cell Wet Lab

Objective: 1. Learn how a plant cell is different from an animal cell. 2. Make a wet mount of a plant cell.
Homework: Make flash cards for the cell wall, chloroplast and central vacuole.
Study for the quiz on cell parts, comparing plant and animal cells, scientific method and using microscopes.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Chapter 6 vocabulary part 1

Make flash cards using the following words/concepts.
19 words

Section 6.1
Cell Theory
Prokaryotic Cell
Eukaryotic Cell

For the following cell parts, make sure your definition includes the structure and function of the cell part.

Section 6.1 & Class notes
Plasma Membrane
Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)
Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)
Golgi body

Class Notes / Mini-lab Vocabulary

Amino Acid

Cell Parts Continued

Objective: Finish identifying the parts of the cell using the "more than a membrane" worksheet.

Homework: Click here to use the interactive cells alive animation to answer the questions on the worksheet.
E block also did a mini lab to look at their own cheek cells using microscopes and methlyene blue.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


1. Explain the three parts of cell theory
2. Differentiate between prokaryotes and eukaryotes
3. Begin to identify organelles (cell parts) and their functions

Using a hand out on cell parts, students worked to create analogies between cell parts and their functions.

Homework: Read section 6.1 and answer the concept check questions on page 114. Read section 6.2 and answer the questions on page 117.

If you did not make the flash cards for last week, you still need to do that!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chapters 1 & 2 vocabulary

Your homework this weekend is to make flash cards for all of the following words. Look up the words in your text book or in your notes.

Section 1.2
1. species
2. domain
3. eukarya (domain)
4. unicellular organism
5. multicellular organism

Section 1.3
6. biological system
7. producers
8. consumers
9. homeostasis

Section 2.1
10. observation
11. data
12. inference
13. hypothesis
14. variable
15. controlled experiment

In your notes:
16. independent variable
17. dependent variable
18. qualitative observations/data
19. quantitative observations/data

20-25. Make one flash card for each of the following conversions:
1 Liter = 1000 milliliters
1 meter = 100 centimeters
1 meter = 1000 millimeters
1 millimeter = 10 centimeters
1 gram = 1000 milligrams

Metrics and Rip-o-Meters

Objective: Review metric conversions & design and carry out an experiment.

How do you test the strength of a leaf?
Do dead leaves always rip more easily than living leaves?
Does how you try to rip the leaf matter?
How many leaves should you test?

Today E block answered the Rip-o-Meter prelab questions and was able to conduct their experiments and collect leaves. F Block only had a chance to answer the prelab questions. Tomorrow E block will collect leaves and conduct their experiments.

Homework: none. enjoy the night off :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mix and Match Mass

1. Review basic metric measurements
2. Practice using a triple beam balance.

Today students completed the "Mix and Match Mass" Activity. The purpose this activity is to practice using a triple beam balance and making predictions about the mass of various objects.

Homework: Complete the units and measurements homework.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Experimental Design & Controls and Variables

Objective: To improve your understanding of designing an experiment and identifying controls and variables.

The Plan:
1. Write in objective (3 minutes)
2. Review Homework (10 minutes)
3. Parts of an experimental design (15 minutes)
4. Practice identifying variables in the design (12 minutes)
5. Explain homework (5 minutes)

Homework: Complete the Simpson's controls and variables problem set.

Friday, September 21, 2007

What makes your Rice Krispies pop?

Objective: design and carry out a scientific experiment

Click the link above for a news story and video

Here are some of your guesses as to why Rice Krispies pop

Air bubbles
Any liquid with any viscosity will create the "snap, crackle, pop"
Jello or jam might be too heavy to hear the sound
Size effects how they pop
Shape effects how they pop
How stale they are
If there's a sugar coating, when the liquid dissolves it, the bubbles pop
Will a single Rice Krispie make a sound?
Different kinds of liquids will make different sounds (what happens if you use pond water)?

Here's what you used to make them pop

Apple Cider Vinegar
Skim Milk
Water and Vinegar
Milk and Water
Milk, Water and Vinegar

Turns out the reason why Rice Krispies pop is... watch the video and find out!

Homework: E block: read section 2.3 and answer questions 7-14
F block: write a hypothesis using "if...then..." and design a detailed experiment

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Science News

Objective: 1. To present a scientific article to your peers.
2. To learn about at least three scientific research findings.

Did you know...
...that a gene can actually limit the effectiveness of medicines that help people quit smoking?

...that bacteria can successfully treat cancer?

...crops can be genetically engineered to grow in poisonous soil?

Working in small groups. students shared their articles and had a discussion. After the small group work, we talked as a class about what people learned.

Homework: Read AND take notes on sections 2.1 and 2.2.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chapter 1 Quiz

Today students took an open notes quiz on Chapter 1. What's the deal with open notes quizzes? Well, your notes are only helpful if you can use them.

Homework: One of the major themes in Biology is "Biology and Society." For Thursday Sept. 20th (the next time class meets) bring in an article about current scientific research. Read the article, answer the questions on the handout and be prepared to share your article with the class.

If nobody else in the class has the same article as you, you will get extra credit.

Not sure where to look for articles or what qualifies are "good science research?"
Below is a list of websites that will have articles for you to choose from.

Research and News on the Earth and Climate
Research and News on Health and Medicine
Research and News on Plants and Animals
Research and News on Fossils and Ruins

Still not sure? Click here for a list of topics. Click on any of the words in blue to be taken to a page of articles on that topic alone!

Monday, September 17, 2007

5 Themes (cont.)

Objective: Be able to identify the remaining 5 themes in biology and give an example for each.

Homework: Study for the open notes quiz tomorrow on the following material:
sections 1.2 and 1.3, as well as microscope skills. Just because it is open notes, doesn't mean you shouldn't at least look over your notes ahead of time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

5 Themes in Biology

Objective: Be able to identify, explain and give an example of 5 of the ten themes in biology.

What we did:
E block completed a jig-saw activity and working with a partner, gave a mini-presentation on one of the following themes: form and function, energy and life, reproduction, cellular basis of life, interaction with the environment or biological systems.

F Long Block: After a 20 minute discussion on the five themes listed above, we set off on a walk towards the lower pond to see how many of the themes we could see in action. Armed with clipboards and magnifying glasses, we observed how an oyster mushroom on a tree is an example of an interaction with the environment and how a monarch butterfly has other species that imitate it for protection (an example of adaptation).

Homework: Read section 1.3 and complete the short answer essay questions on page 20. You must write 3-4 sentences for each questions and use complete sentences.

Heads Up: You have a quiz on Tuesday on sections 1.2, 1.3 and use of a microscope.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lab 1: Exploring Kingdoms with Microscopes

Objective: To learn microscope skills and examine the differences between various kingdoms and domains.

By the end of today you should be able to...
1. Successfully focus a slide using low (scanning) power, medium power and high power.
2. Differentiate between single celled organisms and multicelled organisms.
3. Make observations using a microscope and draw these observations.
4. Classify organisms based on relative size.

Homework: Complete parts 1 AND 2 of the analysis questions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lab Contract

Read the lab safety contract below and use the "post a comment" link to sign your name. Remember to only use your FIRST NAME and LAST INITIAL.

Lab Safety Contract

PREPARE FOR LABORATORY WORK· Study laboratory procedures prior to class.· Never perform unauthorized experiments.· Keep your lab bench organized and free of apparel, books, and other clutter.· Know how to use the safety shower, eye wash, fire blanket and first aid kit.

DRESS FOR LABORATORY WORK· Tie back long hair.· Do not wear loose sleeves as they tend to get in the way.· Wear shoes with tops.· Wear lab coats during all laboratory sessions.· Wear safety goggles during all laboratory sessions.· Wear gloves when using chemicals that irritate or can be absorbed through skin.

AVOID CONTACT WITH CHEMICALS· Never taste or "sniff" chemicals.· Never draw materials in a pipette with your mouth.· When heating substances in a test tube, point the mouth away from people.· Never carry dangerous chemicals or hot equipment near other people.

AVOID HAZARDS· Keep combustibles away from open flames.· Use caution when handling hot glassware. · When diluting acid, always add acid slowly to water. Never add water to acid.· Use glycerin and twist slowly at the base when inserting glass tubing through stoppers.· Turn off burners when not in use.· Do not bend or cut glass unless appropriately instructed by teacher.· Keep caps on reagent bottles. Never switch caps.

CLEAN UP· Consult teacher for proper disposal of chemicals.· Wash hands thoroughly following experiments.· Leave laboratory bench clean and neat.

IN CASE OF ACCIDENT· Report all accidents and spills immediately.· Place broken glass in designated containers.· Wash all acids and bases from your skin immediately with plenty of running water.· If chemicals get in your eyes, wash them for at least 15 minutes with an eyewash.

By signing my name (first name, last initial only) I acknowledge that I have read the information above and agree to: (a) Follow the teachers instructions, (b) protect my eyes, face, hands and body during laboratory, (c) conduct myself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory, and (d) abide by all of the safety regulations specified above. If I am in violation of this contract I will accept responsibility for my actions.

Organization in Biology

Objectives: Identify major organizational levels in Biology, explain basic ways biologists classify organisms, use the term species in discussing life's diversity.

Today students presented their syllabi posters and we explored biological classification in sections 1.1 and 1.2.

Homework: Sign the lab contract (in the post above) and complete the pre-lab reading and questions. No prelab = no lab = a zero.

Monday, September 10, 2007

F Block : Biology Is..

Literally translated from Latin, biology is the "study of life." But what does that mean? We have less than 9 months to "study life," so what are we going to learn? What are the basics in biology?
Post a comment and list at least 5 things you think you will learn about this year.
This must be completed before 8am.
How to post a comment:
1. Click on the word "comments" in the light blue box right below this post.
2. If a Security box pops up, just click "yes."
3. Type your comment in the box titled "Leave Your Comment."
4. Sign your comment with your first name and last initial only.
5. Choose the identity "anonymous."
6. Click the orange "publish your comment" box.

REMEMBER: Your syllabi poster is due in class tomorrow and you MUST bring your notebook to class.

E Block: Biology Is..

Literally translated from Latin, biology is the "study of life." But what does that mean? We have less than 9 months to "study life," so what are we going to learn? What are the basics in biology?
Post a comment and list at least 5 things you think you will learn about this year.
This must be completed before 8am.
How to post a comment:
1. Click on the word "comments" in the light blue box right below this post.
2. If a Security box pops up, just click "yes."
3. Type your comment in the box titled "Leave Your Comment."
4. Sign your comment with your first name and last initial only.
5. Choose the identity "anonymous."
6. Click the orange "publish your comment" box.

REMEMBER: Your syllabi poster is due in class tomorrow and you MUST bring your notebook to class.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Predessesors to current views on evolution

Admit Slip: What is evolution?

Objective: Students will take notes on Charles Darwin, Alfred Russsel Wallace, Jean Baptiste Lamark, Georges Cuvier, James Hutton, Charles Lyell and Thomas Malthus.

Homework: We now know that there are four major modes of evolution: mutation, migration, genetic drift and natural selection. Find one example for each of the four modes (one example for mutation, one for migration..)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How long ago did.....?

Today we created an evolutionary timeline and realized just how long ago things happened on the earth. Students took notes on a handout elaborating on some of the events on the timeline.

Homework: Answer the four questions on the handout. Please use a seperate sheet of paper.

Flash player is needed for this animation. If you don't have flash and don't want to download it you can view the non-interactive timeline here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome Back

I hope you all had a great break. The spring term, we'll be working from our new blog at:

So head on over and see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Homework over break

Go to to find your assignment. This must be completed by 8am on March 27th.

Have a great break!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Review Monday & Tuesday

Today and tomorrow we will be reviewing for the final exam. Below is a list of questions to help you study. Items in bold are only for the honors classes.

1. Describe the difference between cytokinesis in animal cells and plant cells?

2. List two way that meiosis differs from mitosis.

3. How is cancer related to the cell cycle?

4. Describe the structure of a chromosome.

5. What is independent assortment, and how does it affect the genetic makeup of offspring cells?

6. Describe how you could determine if a dividing cell is an animal cell or a plant cell.
What structures would you look for?

7. Why is crossing over important?

8. Describe the relationship between the cell cycle and mitosis.

9. Describe the role that the spindle fibers play in mitosis.

10. Explain why Crossing-over is an important source of genetic variation.

11. What types of cells does mitosis occur in?

12. Explain the difference between a diploid cell and a haploid cell?

13. Explain the difference between cytokinesis in eukaryotic plant and animal cells?

14. What is Interphase? What makes up and occurs during each part of Interphase?

15. Explain the Difference (Contrast) between Sex Chromosomes and Autosomes?

16. What are homologous chromosomes?

17. What is the cell cycle?

Classical Genetics
1. Describe Mendel's two laws of heredity.

2. What happens during meiosis that would allow genes located on the same chromosome to separate independently of one another?

3. Give an example of a sex-linked disorder.

4. How can two individuals who are phenotypically “normal” for a disorder produce a child who is affected.

5. Distinguish between codominance and incomplete dominance. Give an example of each type of inheritance.

6. Define the terms, dominant and recessive.

7. Relate the events of meiosis to the law of segregation.

8. Give an example of a monohybrid cross.

9. Explain how you would use a Punnett square to predict the probable outcome of a monohybrid cross. Draw a Punnett square to demonstrate your monohybrid cross.

10. Explain the terms genotype and phenotype.

11. Explain the terms homozygous and heterozygous.

12. Draw a pedigree for a couple who are phenotypically normal for albinsim who produce 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. One girl and two boys are albino.

13. Give an example of a non-disjunction disorder and explain how it occurs.

14. List and explain four types of chromosomal mutations (non non-disjunction).

DNA replication, Transcription and Translation

1. When does DNA replication occur?

2. List at least three enzymes involved in DNA replication and explain their function.

3. Where does DNA replication occur?

4. Draw DNA replication from start to finish.

5. Explain the need for a leading strand and a lagging strand.

6. Explain what would happen if there were a malfunction in the cell and ligase were never produced.

7. Describe the structure and function of DNA

8. Name three scientists associated with early DNA research. Briefly describe their contributions.

9. List three ways that DNA differs from RNA

10. Where does transcription occur?

11. Why does transcription occur?

12. Where does translation occur?

13. When does translation occur?

14. What is a codon? How many codons can be produced? How many amino acids are there?

15. Describe the cell part that is most involved with translation. What does it do?

16. If there were a mutation (such as in insertion or deletion) in the DNA sequence what affect would that have during translation. Give a real-life example of this.

17. A mutation at which base pair (first, second or third) in a codon would have the LEAST affect on the amino acid produced? Explain your answer.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bioethics & You (Friday & Saturday Classes)

Students debated the ethics of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) using the case studies they read for homework (yes, I actually forgot to post the homework...sorry Mike H.).

Case Studies were taken from the High School Bioethics Project and included the following briefs:

1. Patenting Life: Chakrabarty (bacteria engineered to "eat" crude oil)
2. Patenting Life: Of (spliced) Mice and Men (the Harvard Oncomouse)
3. Food & Drinks: GM Wine (GM grapes that grow in Florida)
4. Food & Drinks: Starlink Corn (Corn made for animal consumption and ended up in the human food supply)
5. Food & Drinks: GM Coffee (Coffee that can be ripened by the addition of a chemical)
6. The Forest for the Trees: GM Trees for paper production

There are only 2 more classes before the final exam!
General Bio homework: Complete pages: 77,79,81,83,85 and 87 in the review packet. This will take you about an hour and is due in class on Monday

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Review Sheet for Final Exam

Just in case you deleted it (and at Carson's suggestion) here's the review sheet for the final exam. Topics with a * next to them are only for the honors biology class.

Below is a check list for all of the things that will be covered on your final exam. This is your review sheet.

1. Describe the cell cycle and the process of mitosis.

2. Explain the role of mitosis in the formation of new cells

3. Describe how the process of meiosis results in the formation of haploid cells.

4. Explain the importance of meiosis in sexual reproduction

5. Explain how gametes form diploid zygotes in the process of fertilization.

6. Compare and contrast a virus and an animal or plant cell in terms of genetic material and reproduction. (we covered this on the History of DNA movies handout – Bacteriaphages & Radioactive tracers)*

7. Describe the basic structure (double helix, sugar/phosphate backbone, linked by complementary nucleotide pairs) of DNA

8. Describe DNA’s function in genetic inheritance.

9. Describe the basic process of DNA replication (*honors classes need to know all the enzymes involved, direction of replication, leading and lagging strands etc.)

10. Explain how DNA replication relates to the transmission and conservation of the genetic code.

11. Explain the basic processes of transcription and translation, and how they result in the expression of genes (creation of amino acids, which create proteins which affect genes)

12. Distinguish among the end products of replication, transcription, and translation.

13. Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence of a gene may or may not result in phenotypic change in an organism.

14. Explain how mutations in gametes may result in phenotypic changes in offspring.

15. Distinguish among observed inheritance patterns caused by several types of genetic traits
a. dominant
b. recessive
c. codominant
d. sex-linked
e. incomplete dominance

16. Describe how Mendel’s laws of segregation and independent assortment can be observed through patterns of inheritance

17. Use a Punnett Square to determine the probabilities for genotype and phenotype combinations in monohybrid crosses.

18. Explain how cancer is related to the cell cycle.

A test & Review

General bio had a test on DNA replication, transcription and translation.

Honors bio had a review session for their test tomorrow.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Notebook Quiz and Science News

Honors classes had a notebook quiz in preparation for the test on Thursday. General classes worked on their projects.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

DNA replication, transcription and translation project

Honors biology students present their projects today. Projects ranged from WANTED POSTERS and candy diagrams to an animation, a movie and even a MySpace. Click on the names and descriptions to link directly to the projects (or just scroll down). As always, please feel free to leave a postive or constructive comment. For the guidelines of the project, click here.

Chloe, Carson & David's Movie

Olivia & Carol's Blog

Bruce, Mike and Paul's MySpace

Andrea's Poster

Kali's Poster and Mike's Book (as well as some dragons)

Nick's Foam-Core Cut Outs

Jess & Sayde's Candy Poster

Chloe, Carson & David's movie

Chloe, Caron and David made a movie. It's pretty sweet. You should check it out.

Olivia & Carol Blog

Self proclaimed "really bad with computers" Olivia N. faced her fears with Carol (and the help of Mr. Falconer) to create a blog.

Click here to check it out.

MySpace & Science?? Whhhhatt? Bruce, Mike and Paul take it to a new level

MySpace and school project are words I thought I'd never say in the same sentence, but Bruce, Mike and Paul proved me wrong (well done!). They created two MySpace pages, which are open for public viewing, one for DNA replication and one for transcription and translation.

Andrea's Poster

Andrea made another great poster.

Kali's Poster & Mike's Book

Kali made a great poster (complete with sequins and Cinderella stickers). This picture also shows the cover of Mike's book and some of the dragons students made for the dragon genetics lab.

Nick's Project

Nick is a master at cutting out shapes using foam-core poster board.

Jess & Sayde's Project

Jess and Sayde used candy for their project. See how many differents types you can identify (HINT: there are more than five)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Independent Work & A Snow Day!

Students are working independently on their DNA replication, transcription and translation projects. Remember: Honors projects are due in class tomorrow.'s finally starting to look like winter!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Honors Test Update

Instead of having your test on Monday February 18th, your test is now on Thursday February 22nd (between College Weekend, the NHS Invitational Basketball Tourney and the Dance Show there's is too much going on this weekend).

Your test is worth 50 points and will be combined with your project grade.

Here's what your test includes:

21 multiple choice questions and 4 true/false total:

1 misc. question
2 questions on the history of the discovery of DNA
7 questions on transcription & translation
15 questions on the structure and replication of DNA

DNA replication, transcription, translation

General Class: Explain the following pickup line "I wish I were DNA helicase so I could unzip your jeans."

Objective: Students will use the following activities online to learn DNA replication along with transcription & translation. Students will complete guiding questions while working on the activities.

Homework: Work on project.

Honors Biology: Students are working on their projects in class.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Links to Student Work

Permanant links to student work were added to the sidebar on the right side, after the "Fall Term" section. Please feel free to leave positive or constructive comments.

Biology Honors Due Dates

Projects are due in class on Thursday February 15th and are worth 50 points.

The test is on Monday February 18th and is worth 50 points. Here is the breakdown of the test:
21 multiple choice questions and 4 true/false.

1 misc. question
2 questions on the history of the discovery of DNA
7 questions on transcription & translation
15 questions on the structure and replication of DNA

Friday, February 09, 2007

No 54321 this week and no class monday

happy winter carnival! there's no 54321 due this week and no class on Monday (because it's S.C. day).

Transcription & Translation

Honors classes only for 2/9 and 2/10

Admit Slip: Explain this pick up line "I wish I were DNA Helicase, so I could unzip your jeans"

Objective: Review the DNA replication homework. Students will take notes on Transcription & Translation and be able to identify the major stages as well as if the process takes place inside or outside of the nucleus.

Homework: Start working on your project. The guidelines were emailed to you and are posted below.

Project Guidelines
DUE DATE: Feb. 15th.
TIME: In class, so you can present them
You may work in a group
Project 50 points: DNA replication, Transcription & Translation Project. The project is worth 50 points and your test will be worth 50 points. Same idea as the cell cycle & mitosis project: create a visual for DNA replication, transcription and translation. You may work independently or as a group (no more than 3 people, if you really need a larger group, please see me). Below are the requirements.

1. DNA replication (10 points):
What is it? (4pts)
Where does it occur? (1pt)
When does it happen? (1pt)
How does it happen? (4pts)

2. Transcription (10 points):
What is it? (4pts)
Where does it occur? (1pt)
When does it happen? (1pt)
How does it happen? (4pts)

3. Translation (10 points):
What is it? (4pts)
Where does it occur? (1pt)
When does it happen? (1pt)
How does it happen? (4pts)
4. Creativity (10 points):
Project is creative, original and aesthetically pleasing.

5. Content & Grammar (10 points):
Project contains no scientific, spelling or grammatical errors.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Your DNA & Valentines Day

National Public Radio
Nothing Says 'I Love You' Like Framed Genetic Code

Weekend Edition Sunday, February 4, 2007 · So you're feeling pressure to come up with a deeply personal Valentine's gift. How about original art, made from your DNA? Adrian Salamunivoc runs a Web site that allows you to order just such a present.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

History of DNA (A & C blocks)

See post below the ski day post.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ski Day is Thursday!

Ok, so you probably won't need powder skis at Gunstock, but hey it's SKI DAY!
Here's the schedule:
7:00 - 8:20AM - BREAKFAST
11:30 - 1:00PM - LUNCH AT GUNSTOCK

History of the Discovery of DNA

Admit Slip: It is the year ________ (Write the year you think DNA was discovered). How do you think scientists discovered what DNA does?

Objective: Students will use a graphic organizer to take notes on a serries of mini-video clips from which explain the contributions of the following scientists:

Friedrich Meisher: 1870
P.A. Levene: 1920’s

Fredrick Griffith: 1928

Avery, MacLeod and McCarty: 1944
Hershey & Chase: 1952
Franklin & Wilkins 1950’s

Watson & Crick 1953

Homework: Use the DNA replication animation (available by clicking here) to complete the notes organizer. If for whatever reason you don't have a Flash player on your computer, you can use your textbook to find the information.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mental Inventory

Honors Biology is taking a test today on Classical Genetics (and a little bit of Meiosis). General Biology has their test tomorrow.

NOTE: Since we had a review in class, you recieved the packet (and the answers to all the multiple choice questions) THERE ARE NO TEST CORRECTIONS.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Answer Key & 54321 reminder

Yes, there is a game tomorrow evening, but the Pats aren't playing and you have a test on Monday, so....

.......the 54321 is due Sunday night by 9:30pm. If you turn it in at 9:31 it's late. Do yourself a favor and finish in the afternoon.

.......the answers to the review sheet have been emailed to you.

Blood Feud

A Long Block:
We read and discussed the article Blood Feud (available by clicking here)
Our discussion not only included material from the article but also touched on:
the genocide in Darfur
Colonization of Africa by European countries
the African Union
(who would have thought history and biology would ever actually come together...)


B block:
reviewed for the test on Monday.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Review Packet via Email

check your email!
there is a review packet.
some of the questions on the exam may have even been taken from the packet....

an answer key will be available on monday night.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Exceptions to Mendel's Laws (A block only)

Admit Slip: Complete the practice review sheet

Objective: Review questions from Dragon Genetics and complete sample problems for sex-linked traits.

Homework: Complete the test cross problem set.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dragon Genetics (Wednesday Jan. 31 & Thursday Feb.1)

Admit Slip: read the intro in the packet, what are we doing today?

Objective: Students will use popsicle sticks with letters that symbolize alleles to create a "dragon baby." Students will answer questions that compare what they did in the activity with Mendel's laws as well as co-dominance, incomplete dominace and sex-linkage.

Homework: complete the questions

Extra Credit: Make a drawing of your dragon baby.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Test 2

Honors Biology you have a test on Monday February 5th, 2007

General Biology you have a test on Tuesday February 6th, 2007.

Both tests will include the following material (degree of difficulty for the questions will vary between honors and general).

Meiosis and how it compares to mitosis
What is the importance of meiosis?
Examples and consequences of nondisjunction
Chromosomal Mutation
Basic Genetics (Mendel's Laws, punnett squares, test crosses)
Using a pedigree to track autosomal and sex linked disorders

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Intro to Genetics: Jan. 22-Jan. 25

Admit Slip: Why study genetics? How does genetics play a role in our everyday lives.

Objective: Students will complete the Intro to Genetics packet over two class periods. Concepts covered include: gametes, zygotes, alleles, homozygous, heterozygous, dominant allele, recessive allele, monohybrid crosses using punnett square, probability, pedigrees, albinism, dwarfism, genotype, phenotype and SRY sex determination.

Homework: Complete questions 1-5 in the "sex determination" section.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mitosis, Cell Cycle and Cancer test recap

Finally all the tests from the "snowday" last Monday have been made up. Here's one student's artistic response to for the short answer questions. Click on the picture to make it larger.

Andrea's PSA for Angelman's Disease

Assignment: Create a public service annoucement for a genetic disorder. You can click on the picture to make it larger to read the text. Great Job Andrea!

More Mutations

Admit Slip: Share you P.S.A that you completed for homework with the class.

Objective: Students will make an analogy using the terms: chromosome, gene, loci and allele to better understand the significance of those terms. Students will take notes of 5 different types of mutations and how they affect chromosomes, as well as find examples of disorders caused by mutations.

Honors Homework: none.
General Homework: create your PSA for a genetic disorder.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

54321: Update and Reminder

An excellent compromise and incentive for the 54321 was suggested by one of your fellow students. The result:

If you have an A (93%) or better
you are exempt from the 54321.

There is one little catch: if your grade drops below a 93% you are must go back to turning in the 54321 and are not eligible for this privilege until the spring term. To everyone else, your 54321 is due by 9:30pm this evening. The Pats don't play until 6:30 so you have plenty of time to get it done before the game. The game will not be an acceptable excuse.

Friday, January 19, 2007

When Meiosis Goes Wrong (Friday 1/19 and Sat. 1/20)

Admit Slip: What are some of the possible consequences if meiosis is not performed correctly?

Objective: Students will use a Jig-Saw method to present information on six nondisjunction disorders.

Homework: Choose a chromosomal disorder and create a public service flyer.

General class: in addition to discussion nondisjunction, will wrap up meiosis by creating a decorating cookies with the stages of meiosis.

Here's a slide show of decorating cookies. See how many stages of meiosis you can identify. HINT: (even though the pictures are blurry, you can see: metaphase 1, prophase 2, metaphase 2 and interphase)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Meiosis with Pop-it Beads

Admit Slip: Why Meiosis? Why do we have it? Why do we need it?

Objective: Students will use pop-beads from Carolina Biological supply to gain hands-on experience in manipulating chromosomes in meiosis. Students will complete a comparison chart of meiosis and mitosis, along with several questions.

NOTE: while the objective sounds glorious, anyone who has ever done this activity realizes it can be like herding an elephant with a toothbrush....fortunately, there were no elephants...just slightly smaller mammals.

Homework: Turn in your second Navigating the Scientific Literature (a quiz grade) if you haven't already done so.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Meiosis (Jan. 16th & 17th)

Admit Slip: How could you alter mitosis so that instead of producing 2 daughter cells, it produced four? Why would you want to do this?

Objective: students will be able to compare mitosis and meiosis through drawing the steps and completing a comparison chart.

Homework: none.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Test on Mitosis, Cell Cycle and Cancer

Honors biology had a test today on mitosis, the cell cycle and cancer.

General biology has their test tomorrow.

Next up: Meiosis (why we aren't clones of our parents...)

Samples of Student's Cell Cycle & Mitosis Projects

Click on any of the students below to see their projects (or you can simply scroll down). Think a project is great? Leave a comment!

Chloe, Chien & David act out mitosis
Bruce's Animation w/ a description of what happens in mitosis
Tak & Jun's Poster
Gunnar's Mitosis Mystery Wheel
Andrea's Mitosis Flipbook (in a movie)
Nick & Carson's Mitosis Mobile

Chloe, Chien & David's Movie

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bruce's Animation

Click on the picture and the animation will open up in a new window.

Prof. Slover's Lecture

Professor Alex S.'s flash movie/guest lecture on the cell cycle.

Tak & Jun's Poster

Gunnar's Mitosis Mystery Wheel

But wait....there's more! (underneath the interphase picture--lower half of the circle--is a great description of G1, S and G2)

Andrea's Mitosis Flip Book

Here's a slide show of Andrea W.'s Cell Cycle and Mitosis Flipbook.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Nick C. and Carson M.'s Mitosis Mobile

The front of the mobile is shown above. The back of the mobile has typed descriptions of each of the phases of the cell cycle. Unfortuntely the quality of the picture isn't great (the dept. camera is only 2.1 megapixels).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working on Mitosis & Cell Cycle Project

Today students were given time in class to work on their cell cycle and mitosis projects. So far things are looking very promising. Here are some samples of what students are doing:

*Mitosis Mobile
*Flash Movie
*Flip Book
*Movie (starring students as parts of the cells)
*3D Posters
E Block will present their projects on Friday (yes, that's tomorrow).
A & B Blocks will present their projects on Saturday.
Tune in tomorrow for samples of outstanding student work.