February 6, 2011

February 6th, 2011

February 6th, 2011

"The best laid plans of mice and men . . ." is a quote that comes to mind after last week!  The snow days caused a few changes to the plans we had.  Hopefully everybody got through those days safe and sound (and not stuck on Lake Shore Drive)!

Events of the Past Week

Monday - The students watched the movie The Human Race about the Human Genome Project.  It offered them some pretty interesting insight into the personalities of the biologists involved in that project, especially J. Craig Venter, Francis Collins, and James Watson.  To see what Venter has been up to since the completion of the Human Genome Project, check out this article:  http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/05/scientists-create-first-self-replicating-synthetic-life/

Tuesday - On Tuesday we watched the movie "Harvest of Fear", a NOVA/Frontline special on genetically modified foods.  Included was discussion of what they are, how they can be produced, and the potential benefits and harms of genetically modified foods.

Wednesday - My kids had fun - hope yours did too!

Thursday - Yet another day off, but a little too cold to play outside!

Friday - Students took a quiz on biotechnology that had been scheduled for Wednesday.  After turning in the quiz, they picked up a reading on meiosis, which they are supposed to either highlight or underline as they read it.  The reading/highlighting is to be completed by Monday.

Upcoming Events

Monday - We will process the reading, focusing on the unique events of meiosis that create gametes (sperm and eggs) with half the chromosome number as the original, "mother" cell.  We will also focus on the events of the first two stages of meiosis (prophase I and metaphase I) that create an incredible amount of genetic diversity in organisms that use meiosis to produce their gametes.  After processing, we will begin our pop bead chromosome activity modeling the events of meiosis.

Tuesday - We will finish the pop bead chromosome activity, and then act out the events of meiosis as a class using playing cards as our chromosomes.

Wednesday - Students will take a quiz on meiosis.  This plan is tentative and will depend on how far the class is able to get on their activities Monday and Tuesday.  The quiz may have to be pushed back to Thursday depending on how things go on Monday and Tuesday.  After the quiz, we will begin our classical (Mendelian) genetics unit by focusing on important vocabulary.  Please make sure your children are spending time on this terminology!  If they do not learn it early in our unit, they will be lost as we continue through it.

Thursday - The students will be introduced to Punnett Squares, monohybrid (one trait) crosses, incomplete dominance, and testcrosses.  They will have the first of several problem sets to complete for homework.

Friday - We will spend time answering questions about the homework, which I will collect and grade five of the ten problems at random, with the goal of evaluating at least one problem on each of the different topics covered in the problem set.  Then the students will be introduced to dihybrid (two trait) crosses.  Homework will be Problem Set 2, due Monday.

I hope everyone enjoys (or enjoyed, depending on when you read this) the Super Bowl, or at least the Super Bowl commercials, and that we have a much less snowy week!

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