March 27, 2011

March 27,2011

March 27, 2011

Another spring break has come to a close, although from the weather we had you'd have thought we were on winter break!  I'm looking forward to getting back to school tomorrow and getting back to work with all of my students - they surely feel the same way :)

Events of the Past Week

The students were very busy in the week leading up to spring break.

Monday - On Monday, the students were given a day to work in their groups on their fruit fly reports.  They were very busy, making good use of the time they were given.

Tuesday - Tuesday was a late start day.  I was gone at an AP conference, so the students were given a review packet with many problems to help them prepare for the test.

Wednesday - The first day of the genetics test was given on Wednesday.  The classes all did well on the test. I was very proud of them and how hard they all worked!

Thursday - The second day of the genetics test was given on Thursday.  Again, all four classes performed well on this portion of the test.  

Friday - Friday was D-Day (Due Day) for our fruit fly reports.  After all of the reports had been handed in, we watched a movie called "Ghost in Your Genes" about the effects the environment has on our genes, and in turn, our health.

Upcoming Events

Monday - We will the first half of class looking at our genetics tests, answering questions, and making everyone understands what they missed on the test, and why it was missed.  When we are all done with that, we will work on an activity to help increase our knowledge of the age of the Earth.  It is important that the students understand the Earth is over 4 billion years old as we begin learning about evolution.  This first activity is designed to help them figure that out.  Students will also be given the objectives for the Evolution unit.  They can use these objectives to determine what is important that they understand as we go through the unit.  The topics in the objectives will all be covered on our test at the end of our evolution unit.  Homework will be a set of questions on the famous Miller-Urey experiment.  The passage was taken from an old ACT exam, so this assignment serves the dual purpose of both learning about an important experiment done in the field of evolution while also exposing students to ACT style questions.

Tuesday - On Tuesday, we will learn how radioactive dating of fossils and rocks works by learning about the rate of radioactive decay of Carbon-14.  I will also be assigning that notes on Chapter 14 in the textbook be completed by Friday.  The activity on radioactive dating will be due on Wednesday.

Wednesday - On Wednesday, I will be lecturing on some of the material from Chapter 14, and then the students will be doing an activity comparing the ideas of Charles Darwin to those of Alfred Russell Wallace and Jean Baptiste Lamarck.

Thursday - On Thursday, the students will be introduced to the concept of natural selection.  We will be doing an activity to reinforce this concept after I lecture on it.  The textbook notes on chapter 14 are due on Friday.

Friday - The students will be taking the district assessment test on Friday.  The district assessment test is the science section of an EXPLORE exam that is used to measure student growth from last year to this year.  This exam tests a students knowledge of the process of science, their scientific literacy, and their ability to interpret data, so there is no content that students need to study to prepare for the exam.  This will be counted as a quiz grade.  After the assessment is over (it is a timed test of 30 minutes) I will introduce the students to some of the evidence that supports evolution.  We will study that supporting evidence in more detail next week with a series of labs and activities.  Notes out of the textbook on Chapter 15 will be assigned for homework, to be completed by next Tuesday (the 4th of April).

Graba Geek of the Week

This week's Geek of the Week goes to Anushka Vazirani!  According to the peer evaluations I received from Anushka's lab team, she did a large amount of work on their Drosophila melanogaster lab report, and their report was outstanding.  I was impressed at the level of detail in the writing in their paper.  Congratulations, Anushka!

Have a good week! 

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