January 2, 2011

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday and that all of my students are going to come back refreshed and ready to buckle down for the last two weeks before final exams.  This is my first attempt at having a weekly newsletter of information to share with the parents of my freshmen students.  My goal is to communicate to you any important upcoming events in the classroom, as well as review with you what the students accomplished over the course of the week.  In addition, there will be a small section of each post highlighting one student, the "Graba Geek of the Week."  I have taken pictures of all of the students in each of my classes, and plan on incorporating their picture into the blog.  If you do not want your child's picture posted, please e-mail me to let me know and I will respect your wishes.  Also, please remember that I have over 100 freshman students, and only 36 weeks in the school year (just 18-20 left this year), so not everyone will be chosen.  I'll be waiting to start the "Graba Geek of the Week" feature until the first week of second semester in order to give anyone who may need to e-mail me with any concerns the opportunity to do so.

Recap of Last Week
Before winter break we completed and took a test on what I consider to be our most difficult unit - bioenergetics.  The topics the students learned about were enzymes, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration.  In this unit there was quite a bit of detail to learn, so it did require some disciplined study habits for those students who are not able to study large amounts of information the night before a test and do well on it. 

Upcoming Events
Thankfully, our last unit before finals, molecular genetics, is one that students usually find much more interesting.  We will be spending time learning about the race to discover the structure of DNA, which is a wonderful story about how collaboration and competition drive science forward, culminating in the discovery of the double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick.  We will work on this on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday we will be learning how DNA copies itself in a process called DNA replication, and we will spend Thursday and Friday learning about how the information DNA carries is stored and used in the process of protein synthesis.  In one of my favorite one day activities of the year, the students will be acting out the process of protein synthesis in the classroom.  Next week we will be spending time on biotechnology, the details of which will be provided in my blog post next week.  The test on molecular genetics will be January 14th.  Finally, the review packet for the final exam, as well as the key for the review packet, is available on my website at the following URL:    http://www.fhs.d211.org/departments/science/bgraba/Calendars/138calendar1.htm

Please e-mail me any questions you have, and feel free to post comments on this page!

Mr. Graba

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