March 12, 2011

March 13, 2011

March 13, 2011

Happy Early St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Events of the Past Week

Monday - On Monday we had our second genetics quiz.  Most students did very well on the quiz - I was really impressed with their efforts!

Tuesday - On Tuesday we spent the day counting our fruit flies.  Since the last day of counting had been Friday, there were LOTS of flies to count!  There was no homework assigned on Tuesday.

Wednesday - The students were introduced to the concept of genes being carried on the same chromosome. This changes the expected ratios in the offspring compared to all of our previous problems, and is probably the most difficult concept of our genetics unit for most students.  I also introduced the students to Google Documents, which allows everyone in their group access to the same document.  They can be working on it at the same time, and observing their group members edit it in real time.  In addition, they can chat while they edit so that any changes that are made can be discussed.  It is a really powerful tool that you should have them show you if you are not familiar with it.  Finally, Problem Set 5 was assigned for homework.

Thursday - We learned about a statistical tool called chi-squared analysis.  This tool allows students to compare actual, observed results from a genetic cross with those that were expected.  After completing this analysis of actual data, they should be able to determine whether their data falls within an acceptable range of the expected results, or if they have collected really bad data!

Friday - The students were introduced to a concept known as nondisjunction, which can lead to the inheritance of one too many or one too few chromosomes.  This leads to inherited genetic disorders such as Down's Syndrome, Edward's Syndrome, Patau Syndrome, and others.

Upcoming Events

Monday - Every group will be given the opportunity to work on their fruit fly reports in class.    The test was initially scheduled to be given Tuesday and Wednesday, but since Tuesday is a late start day, there would  not be enough time for students to complete their tests.  Therefore, the test was pushed back one day, and the day for working on the fruit fly reports was bumped up.

Tuesday - This will be a review day for the genetics test the students will be taking on Wednesday and Thursday.  The students will get several practice problems and the answer key to the problems to use to help study.  I will be at an AP conference this day.  The test covers two days because genetics problems take a long time to work out as compared to our normal multiple choice questions on other tests.  There are not too many more questions than what we normally have on a test.

Wednesday - Students will take Day 1 of their genetics test.

Thursday - Students will take Day 2 of their genetics test.

Friday - The fruit fly reports are due.  They will NOT be accepted late, so even if nobody from the group is in class, I expect the reports to be e-mailed to me by the time class starts.  Everyone has been made aware of this expectation.  After the test, we will be watching a video called "Ghost In Your Genes" about the impact the environment can have on your genes.  It is a really well-done NOVA video.

Graba Geek of the Week

Pat Pazerunas is the geek of the week this week!  He has done very well on his genetics problems and with his flies.  Most importantly, Pat very bravely and generously shared with us about his relative with Down's Syndrome when we were discussing the inheritance of Down's as well as the effects of Down's Syndrome on individuals who inherit it.  He also made us aware that March 21st is World Down's Syndrome Day.  This date is chosen because individuals with Down's Syndrome have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome (3-21).  To find out more about this day, you can visit

Have a good week and an enjoyable spring break!  The next post will be March 27th.

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