September 18, 2011

September 18, 2011

September 18, 2011

I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend.  Sunday was pretty dreary, but I know we used it to get a lot of cleaning done inside our house, anyway!

Events of the Past Week

Monday - We began the week by finishing our acid/base lab.  Students investigated the concept of buffers, chemicals that prevent the pH of a solution from fluctuating, in this lab.  Homework was to finish the questions in the lab and study for a quiz on basic chemistry.

Tuesday - The students began class by taking their quiz.  When they finished their quiz, the students worked on answering questions in their study guides for biochemistry.  The questions pertained to the element carbon, and why it is so important to living things.  For homework, they were to finish answering through question 43.

Wednesday - We began class on Wednesday by taking our 3rd prefix quiz.  When everyone was finished, I introduced our lab experiment on building models of molecules.  Included in this was an explanation of the difference between a molecular and a structural formula.

After introducing the lab, the students were given their quizzes from Tuesday back to go over.  There was a checklist that was used to help the students analyze their performance.  The list had them focus on which topics they needed to work on before the next quiz.

As soon as they were done checking their quiz results, students immediately moved into beginning their molecule building lab.  There was no homework, as no one finished the lab in class.

Thursday - Since Thursday was a half day, all we had time to do was finish building our molecular models.  Homework was to finish the 6 questions at the end of the lab.

Friday - On Friday, we began class by asking questions about the homework from Tuesday night about carbon.  After everone was finished asking questions, I lectured to the students about some important concepts related to organic molecules.

Students were then given the opportunity to begin their homework, which was to answer questions 44-54 in their biochemistry study guide.  Any questions that were not finished had to be finished for homework over the weekend.

Upcoming Events

Monday - The plan for Monday is to begin class by asking for questions related to the homework from the weekend.  Hopefully the questions will lead to a productive discussion of important ideas related to carbohydrates.  Anything that I consider important for the students to know that we don't cover during the question answer period will be covered during a brief carbohydrate lecture. 

The lecture will be followed by a modeling lab, where the students will be building paper models of the three different types of carbohydrates:  monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.

If there is time left, I will lecture on the topic of lipids.  Homework will be to answer the questions in their study guides related to proteins and lipids.

Tuesday - We will begin class by building paper models of lipids.  I will then lecture briefly on proteins, and then the students will build paper models of proteins.  For homework, the students will be asked to read over the lab we will do the next two days.

Wednesday - On Wednesday, we will do day 1 of a 2 day lab.  This is the first time I'm attempting this lab, so it may take more than 2 days, but that is the plan for now.  We will be using different indicators, and testing them with different types of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.  The idea is for the students to learn what the following indicators actually indicate the presence of:  Benedict's solution, Biuret solution, and Iodine solution.

Thursday - The students will be given an unknown solution, containing anywhere between 1 and 3 of the different types of molecules we will have used indicators with, and they will have to run the indicator tests on the unknown solution to figure out what is in it.

Friday - Friday will be day 1 of review for our biochemistry unit test.  We will play a review game with whiteboards and dry erase markers, or with cell phones (I'm not sure which I'll try yet), to help get the students ready for their test.  There is a website called, that allows you to type in multiple choice questions, which the site then saves as a PowerPoint slide that can be downloaded.  After downloading the slide, the user puts it into a presentation, and when the slide comes up, students text their answers to the question.  The results of the texting come up in real time on the PowerPoint slide.  I have used it before with kids, and they really enjoy it.

Have a great week!

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