Happy Valentine's Day!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - On Monday we began our pop bead chromosome activity so that the students could get a hands-on experience to learn the process of meiosis. The activity was not completed in one class period, so we had to continue working on it on Tuesday.
Tuesday - On Tuesday, we completed the meiosis pop bead chromosome activity. When everyone completed the activity there was not enough time to start a new activity, so we watched a quick video clip on tissue engineering from NOVA. Here is a link to the video: Replacing Body Parts.
Wednesday - I didn't feel that we were ready to take a quiz today, so we did a few other things to reinforce our learning about the process of meiosis instead. The quiz was pushed to Friday because we had to remove the parents from our fruit fly vials on Thursday. The students learned about the formation of sperm cells and egg cells through a 15 minute lecture that I gave to them. Then we did a kinesthetic learning activity where the students used playing cards to act out the process of meiosis. When they finished this activity, we discussed as a class the ways in which meiosis increases the genetic diversity of a species, and why it is important that a species is genetically diverse.
Thursday - We began our Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) project. Students learned how to knock their flies out, how to determine the gender of a fruit fly (seriously!), and the stages of the life cycle of the fruit fly. After this, they actually did knock out their flies and identify the mutations that their flies showed. They were required to tell me once they thought that they had identified the mutations, and I let them know whether they were correct or not. On Monday, every class but 8th hour will begin counting and classifying the offspring of the flies they worked with this day. 8th hour already began that process on Friday after their quiz. I believe these flies went through their life cycle a little bit faster because the classroom we are in during 8th hour (Room 251) is a little bit warmer than my other classroom (room 245).
Friday - We took our quiz on meiosis. When the students finished, they worked on their genetics vocabulary worksheets, which are due on Monday. There will be a quiz on the terms on that sheet next week Wednesday.
Monday - On Monday we will be working with our Drosophila melanogaster. I will also be checking to see that everyone has completed their genetics vocabulary worksheet.
Tuesday - Students will be introduced to Punnett Squares, monohybrid crosses, testcrosses, and incomplete dominance. Afterwards, they will be given problem set 1, which will be due on Wednesday. If there is enough time, they will be able to work with their flies.
Wednesday - We will be working with our flies, I believe (it depends on what it looks like in their vials), and then students will be introduced to dihybrid crosses and given Problem Set 2, which will be due on Thursday.
Thursday - The groups will be given some time to count their flies again, and then will be introduced to sex-linked inheritance of genes (that is, genes that are carried on the X chromosome, such as hemophilia, red-green colorblindness, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy). Up to question 7 on Problem Set 3 will be assigned.
Friday - On Friday we will first be taking a retake of the meiosis quiz. This is a new quiz over the same topics as the first one. Anyone who earned a C or lower must retake the quiz, and I will then average the scores of the two quizzes together to determine a grade in the gradebook. Anyone who earned an A or a B has the option of doing the retake, but if they do I will still average the two scores together, no matter what they get on the second quiz.
After that, we will be taking a look at Queen Victoria's family tree, tracing the inheritance of hemophilia through the royal families of Europe. This will be the inroduction students receive to pedigrees. Afterwards, they will be assigned the rest of Problem Set 3, and given time to work with their flies.
During our genetics unit, all plans are tentative. I have to be flexible with the students and allow them enough class time to work with their flies, so we may or may not complete everything I have planned for them for the week (and that's OK). The hands-on experience they are getting right now is an experience that they will not forget, and I believe it will also help them improve their knowledge of genetics.
Have a good week everyone!