February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day everyone!  Do you know which famous biologist shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln?  If not, ask your kids, they should know since we talked about it the week before last!

Events of the Past Week

Monday - On Monday we spent time counting our flies, as there were a lot to count after 2 days of no counting!  I helped students with their classification on Monday and Tuesday so they would get the hang of identifying males and females.  By the end of the week they were real pros!

Tuesday (Late Start Day) - The students were introduced to many of our vocabulary terms as well as how to predict the results of a monohybrid (one trait) cross using a Punnett Square.  We used the ability to roll your tongue as the trait to introduce the topic.  Problem Set 1 was assigned for homework.

Wednesday - On Wednesday students counted their flies after taking a genetics vocabulary quiz.  Most students did very well on this.

Thursday - Thursday the students learned how to predict the results of a dihybrid (two trait) cross using a Punnett Square.  We looked at polydactyly (having extra fingers like former Chicago Cubs pitcher Antonio Alfonseca) and brachydactyly (having shortened digits, like Megan Fox does on one of her thumbs) as the two traits in our introductory problems.  After the introduction, students were given time to count flies.  Numbers 1-6 of Problem Set 2 were assigned for homework.

Friday (Half Day) - Anyone who earned a C or lower on our meiosis quiz had to retake a new version of the quiz, and those who earned a B or higher had the option to retake the quiz.  Students also counted their flies this day.  Numbers 7-9 of Problem Set 2 were assigned for homework.  The problem set will be collected on Tuesday.

Upcoming Events

Monday - NO SCHOOL!  Happy Presidents' Day!

Tuesday - Sex-linked traits (traits carried on the X chromosome) will be introduced.  These traits include hemophilia, red-green colorblindness, and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Quick quiz - do you know anyone who is colorblind?  What is their gender?  If you're looking for something quick to do with the family, do a survey with your family about anyone you know who has red-green colorblindness and see what they all seem to have in common.  Your children should be able to explain why the people with red-green colorblindness all have this one thing in common after Monday.  When I'm done introducing this topic, students will be given time to work on counting their flies.  This will be the last day for counting flies from the first generation of offspring.  Problem Set 3, numbers one through eight will be assigned for homework.

Wednesday - Students will be introduced to pedigrees (family trees), including Queen Victoria's pedigree.  We'll trace hemophilia through her family and learn how the fact that she was a carrier for hemophilia contributed to the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism!  Problem Set 3, numbers nine and ten, as well as a sex-linked traits worksheet will be assigned for homework.

Thursday - Students will be given a quiz on monohybrid crosses, simple dominance, dihybrid crosses, incomplete dominance, testcrosses, and sex-linked traits.  Afterwards, they will work on an assignment titled "Human Pedigree Genetics" in which they will try to identify the genotypes (the pair of genes a person carries for one trait) and phenotypes (physical appearance) of many individuals in 3 different pedigrees.  We will also listen to the song "I'm My Own Grandpa" by Ray Stevens and attempt to draw a pedigree of the family described in the song.

Friday - Students will be introduced to the inheritance of traits which have multiple alleles (which means there are many different versions of the gene in the human population.  One example is blood types, which have an A gene, a B gene, and an O gene).  This is opposed to other traits we've studied so far, such as tongue rolling, which only have two versions of the gene in the human population (the version that allows you to roll your tongue, and the version that doesn't allow you to roll your tongue).  We will also learn about the Hardy-Weinberg theorem, which explains the conditions necessary for a population's genetic makeup to NOT change over time.  Since these conditions never all exist, this theorem helps show that a population's genetic makeup is always changing over time.  Afterwards, Problem Set 4 will be assigned.

Have a good week everyone!

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