January 30, 2011
Events of the Past Week
Tuesday - The students learned how to graph their data from the gel electrophoresis lab that we did before final exam week, and used their graph to try to estimate the size of the DNA fragments in their gels. I also showed everyone their 1st semester grades that day.
Wednesday - On Wednesday we did a DNA Fingerprinting activity, where the students worked in pairs to figure out who stole the Crown Jewels. After analyzing the data gathered by Officer Dee Enae, and brought to the lab the messenger R. Renee, everyone was correctly able to deduce that Professor Angstrom was responsible for the theft!
Thursday - While I had originally planned to show my favorite movie about the Human Genome Project to the class, it was unfortunately on loan to another school in the district, as was the video I planned on showing on Friday. Attempts at streaming the video from a website on the Internet were unsuccessful. So instead, we went to the website http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/ to learn about stem cells, cloning, gene therapy, and the polymerase chain reaction. It is a fantastic, fun site that does a really good job of breaking those topics down to an introductory level for high school students.
Friday - Since the videos did not come in until 6th hour, everyone except for 8th hour (which did get to see the movie on the Human Genome Project) did the activity that was originally planned for Monday. The activity involved learning how molecular biologists are able to take a gene from one organism, and put it into the DNA of a different organism. 8th hour students will be doing this activity on Monday.
Monday - Everyone will be watching the Human Genome Project video except 8th hour, as noted before.
Tuesday - Everyone will watch the video from Frontline called "Harvest of Fear" about genetically modified organisms.
Wednesday - The students will be taking a short 20 question multiple choice quiz on the DNA technologies that we have learned about over the last two weeks. When everyone finishes we will begin studying the process of meiosis, which produces sperm and egg cells.
Thursday - We will continue our study of meiosis by modeling the process with pop bead chromosomes.
Friday - We will finish the pop bead chromosome meiosis lab and review meiosis in a kinesthetic manner that involves the use of playing cards as chromosomes. This has been a very successful review tool for my students in the past that I am excited to do with my current students on Friday! There will be a quiz on meiosis on Monday, followed by the beginning of our classical genetics unit.
Over the past week I've been collecting male and female fruit flies with various mutations every 8 hours (which means that, yes, I did bring them home with me)! On Saturday, the crosses were set up, so in two weeks the offspring of those flies should be emerging from their pupae and on Valentine's Day (depending on the flies) the students will begin gathering their data!
This is a large undertaking for the students, and may require them to come in a couple of days with some of their group members either before school, on a free period, or after school for a little while. I picked the groups for this project (which the students will find out about on Monday), and each group has either 3 or 4 people in it. In addition, in each group there is at least one person who is strong in math, as this project is more mathematical in nature than any of our others.
As always, if you have any questions please e-mail me, and any comments that you would like to make can be posted using the "Comments" button below!