Friday, February 29, 2008

Poster Feedback

Today we reflected on the poster session and what you learned as well as talked about how to give a "stellar" presentation during your final exam.

HOMEWORK: organize your notes for a notebook quiz on Monday in class.

Here is some of what you said during our discussion.

1.What did you learn from doing a project that you couldn't have learned just from taking a test?

How to present material in an effective way
We got to look up the information.
Got a little bit better at looking stuff up on line.
I probably learned something new everyday.
How to do a bibliography.
We had to teach ourselves
Once we got our feet wet, we wanted to learn about our topic
I had to spend so much time on this, I’m going to remember this forever
You knew a lot more then by just taking a test
Really work on it, rather than just listening or taking notes.
Taught you that you have to be organized and have your stuff together, if you don’t it will screw you over.

2. What would you do differently?
Plan ahead – all the work, dividing up what you are going to do
Buy a poster on time
Map things out before you start to glue things
Take advantage of class time
Be more creative on poster
Better use of blank space
Get a bit more done right off the bat, because I definitely procrastinated a bit
Spending more time on it overall.

3. What advice would you give for next year's class?
Do GMO’s.
Be neat with the poster and presenting
Try to finish the project 3 days before it’s due, so you have time to work on the minor details.
Don’t be scared of presenting
Make sure you pick a topic that you think you can find a lot of information for.
Be brave and pick a topic you don’t know anything about so you can learn something.
Don’t wait till the last second
Follow the deadlines
Actually use the summary tables
Schedule your time properly
Have fun with it.



Congratulations! You all should be very proud of the work you did.
Ms. Metzler said, "Great job to the Biology students in Ms. Saxe and Mrs. Joslin's classes! The Poster Session this evening was awesome. I learned a lot from your posters and by speaking with you all about your projects. Fantastic idea! We should do this more often!"

“I can’t just guess on my poster, I actually have to know the information. It’s not multiple choice.” – Lindsey B.

The boys in blue: Flash, Max and Leo with their poster on GMO's.

Posters on GMO's & Stem Cells

Jason critiques Pat & Mike's poster on GMO's

Students critique each other's work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Working Draft due on Monday

On Monday you will need to bring in everything that is going on your poster. This means you need to have completed you summary statement, printed off any images you are using, sections on background, FAQ's, legislation etc.

Your preparedness will count as a quiz grade (outstanding/satisfactory/unsatisfactory).
An outstanding grade means that in addition to having all of the work, it is typed, grammatically correct and there are no spelling errors.

A satisfactory grade means that you have all of the sections and they are typed, however hey could use some spelling, grammar and content revisions.

An unsatisfactory grade means any of the following: do not have all the sections
...the work is not typed

Working on Summary Statements

Today and tomorrow during long block students worked on their summary statements for their project. I will review the statements tonight and you will finalize them in the next class.

What is a summary statement?

This should be 7-10 sentences describing your issue, what are the key issues, what might the future look like for your issue. This must be an original statement. Below is a problem statement on domestic violence from:

Not long ago, what happened within the home was considered to be a private, family matter and was excluded from scrutiny by the public. During the last two decades, there has been an increase in awareness of the seriousness of child abuse and neglect, spouse/partner abuse, and elder abuse not only as critical societal problems but as crimes. As a result, there has been an increase in the use of the criminal process in addressing family and domestic violence. National incidence reports and research studies reveal the dramatic increase in family violence and the increasing tendency to respond to the problem not only as crime within the family but also as the prevention of crime outside the family.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Discussion on the future of genetic technology

Today in class (and tomorrow for F block) we discussed what genetic technology might look like in 2020.

As a result of the discussion, and extra credit opportunity arose:
Look up the views on Stem Cells, for Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Mike Huckabee and John McCain, write them down and bring it to class. It is not enough just to say a candidate supports stem cells, you must state their position and WHERE the information came from. See example:

Mitt Romney: "The governor said that he opposes "the creation of new human embryos for the purpose of research" and his aides indicated he would support criminal penalties for researchers who use new human embryos." From: The Boston Globe, Feb. 11, 2005
For Class on Thursday:
Please bring a laptop if you have one!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Albino Moose!?!?!

Mrs. Joslin set me this picture of an albino moose in B.C., Canada.

Prep for discussion & group meetings

Students read the article below and prepared for an article discussion in the next class period. While students were reading, I met with groups to collect assignment #4 and check in on their progress.

Homework: complete the discussion sheet and make sure you write an opening statement.

Fast Forward to 2020: What to Expect in Molecular Medicine
The first phase of the ambitious international effort to determine the entire sequence of the human chromosome set is virtually complete. Human Genome Project scientists plan to finish the human sequence by 2003, along with a database of the most common sequence variations that distinguish one person from another. This knowledge base, freely available to any interested person over the Internet, will revolutionize biology and medicine. But how? What will be different 20 years from now because the human genome was sequenced? Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

E Block class discussion

Today E block had their discussion (see post below).

Assignment #4 is due on Monday...yes all of it!

4. Multimedia Resource List: A resource list is a way to organize your research.

Your list must include each of the following (1 point for each source).

    1. Ten Websites. The following websites are UNACCEPTABLE: anything with a url attached to wikipedia,,, etc. NOTE: if you type in “global warming” 80,800,000 results are available. Look through some of them: the best are not always the first results. Give the title of the website and the url.

EXAMPLE: Global Warming in NH:

    1. AT LEAST Three Videos / Documentaries. One short video clip (less than 5 minutes), one medium clip (5-20 minutes) and one long video (greater than 20 minutes).

You can look for videos at , , the school library catalogue (Athena) and through Gordon Nash Library (you know….the building across the street). Catalogue is online at: . In the search box select “broad keyword.” To narrow your search, include the word “video.” For example you may search “Human Genome video.”

As you find your resources, you will need to complete a summary table.

Sample Summary Table




Date Published


Date Obtained

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Change in plans..

Because we only had 3 students in class today, we watched a documentary on GMO's and will have the discussion next class.

GMO Article Discussion

NOTE: This post is for Wednesday F block and Thursday E block

Objective: Students will lead a discussion on The New York Times article "Both Sides Cite Science to Address Altered Corn." Students will read their opening statements and use the questions they wrote for homework to drive the discussion.

Homework: Start Assignment 3 on the project. Each person in the group needs to turn in 3 websites with completed summary tables on Friday. To see a summary table, click here.
Make sure you talk to your partner(s) so that you do not have any of the same articles.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rest Day!

Enjoy rest day, see you tomorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

GMO Background

Objective: Students will watch two video clips, one video that glorifies GMO's (by none other than Monsanto) and one that highlights potentially negative aspects of GMO's. They will answer a series of questions on the videos and have a discussion. At the end of class, students will write an opinion statement on the videos.

Below are some of the opinion statements from both classes.
GM foods are not a bad thing in my opinion. These foods should be labeled however. Labeling these foods is very important. People who have allergies or are vegetarians need to know exactly what they are eating. ~ Nick C.

I think that GM foods should not be allowed in the U.S. They're combined with different genes to be resistant to certain elements. For example, artic char genes are combined with strawberries to make that resistant to frost. GMO's are not good for us and should be banned from the U.S. market. ~ Molly M.

I believe that Monsanto is just doing this for the money. The first video is just fibbing about the truth. I think that putting fish genes in strawberries and firefly genes in corn is disgusting. I don't understand why they have to modify foods just to make a quick buck. I totally agree with the second video. ~ Will K.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Applied Genetics Assignment 2

Assignment #2 is due IN CLASS on MONDAY.

  1. Find THREE articles PER PERSON that are from popular news sources (for example: CNN, The New York Times, Newsweek etc..) and complete a summary table. See sample below or design your own format. Make sure your table includes the information below.

Sample Summary Table




Date Published


Date Obtained

You may make your own summary table, or use the one that was emailed to you. Remember, all your work for this project must be typed.

How to have a discussion

Objective: Students will learn strategies for how to effectively prepare for a discussion.

What are our strategies?
1. First reading: Underline words we don't know or that at the very least "sound scientific."

2. Second reading: Highlight 3-5 key points

3. Use the space on the discussion sheet to write 5 discussion questions. Remember: "What does the word transgenic mean?" is NOT a good question. Rather, ask "should the government regulate transgenic organisms?"

4. Write an opening statement (12-15 sentences) on the reading. Your statement should set the stage for the discussion. You should include a summary of the article and introduce one of your discussion questions.

Below is a sample for the article "Cats, Clones and Chemicals" you read last night.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Genetic screening is not foolproof. Some tests can only show the probability that a person is a carrier. Does this weakness affect your thinking on genetic screening? How?
  1. Premarital screening is practiced to determine the probability of a couple producing children with serious genetic conditions that can deprive the couple of a happy marriage by producing a hopelessly impaired child. Should a couple so informed not get married; marry but not have children; or conceive a child but test the child in utero and abort if the child would have a serious genetic disease.
  1. Will mandatory genetic screening programs lead to laws that govern a person’s reproductive behavior?
  1. Whose rights could be violated if genetic screening were mandatory?
  1. Should members of high-risk ethnic groups be screened selectively – for example, Ashkenazi Jews for Tay-Sachs disease, African Americans for sickle-cell anemia, Scandinavians for PKU, or Italians and Greeks for thalassemia?
  1. Some minority ethnic groups regard genetic screening, which seeks out individuals who should not reproduce, as a thinly veiled genocidal program of majority ethnic groups. What do you think?
Summary Statement:

Genetic screening is the use of blood or chromosome tests to detect genetic disorders. Screening can be performed at different stages in life, from prenatal to adulthood. Tay-Sachs, PKU, and sickle-cell anemia are examples of genetic disorders that can sometimes be detected using genetic testing. Genetic screening can detect both afflicted individuals and carriers of a disease. Genetic screening is a controversial topic, due in part to the varied uses of this technique and their ethical, social, and legal implications. Genetic screening of fetuses allows the detection of diseases such as Tay-Sachs and PKU. Some advocates of screening suggest that this will allow undesirable fetuses to be aborted, saving a lot of money and heartache. Many people oppose screening for this purpose because it prevents individuals, who would normally be given the chance to live and find happiness, from being born. Some diseases, such as PKU, can be controlled or prevented if they are detected early. Screening allows early detection of these diseases in newborns and can possibly improve the quality of life of some individuals. Adults can be screened premaritally to see what probability they have of producing a child with a particular disease or undesirable trait. They can work with a genetic counselor to determine what steps to take in child-bearing. Some states are offering voluntary genetic screening while others have made it mandatory for certain diseases. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not screening should occur, when in the lifecycle it should take place, for what purpose it should be done, and who should be screened. For instance, genetic screening is not foolproof. Some tests can only show the probability that a person is a carrier. Does this weakness affect your thinking on genetic screening? How?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Homework Due Friday 2/8

Remember to read the article "Clones, Cats and Chemicals" for homework and prepare for a discussion in class.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Introducing the Final Project

Today we watched and discussed several video clips on the Human Genome Project, ELSI, Stem Cells and Genetically Modified Organisms. Some of the videos are posted below and others are in the sidebar on the right. Students decided on topics and groups.

Homework: Read the article "Clones, Cats, and Chemicals." Prepare for a discussion in class tomorrow.

Ethical Concerns With Genetic Engineering

Human Genome Project - Ethical, Legal, Social Concerns

The Politics of Stem Cell Research

Monday, February 04, 2008

Applied Genetics Unit

Before midwinter break we focused on classical genetics: dominant and recessive traits; inheritance patterns and mutations. For the next three and a half weeks we will be focusing on applied genetics, specifically: genetically modified organisms (GMOs); the human genome project (HGP) and stem cells.

Instead of a final exam, you and your peers will create posters and give presentations on one of those three topics in a formal symposium. Mrs. Joslin's classes are also doing this unit so there will be five classes at the symposium. You will have class time to complete your research as well as make your poster (which will be fantastic because your parents and advisers are invited to attend the presentations). During the final exam block you will give and receive critique as well as answer questions about your peers work.

You will see a sample poster presentation in class on Wednesday or Thursday depending on when your class meets.