October 9, 2011
Happy Columbus Day, everyone! Enjoy the beautiful Indian Summer we're having right now, because it sounds like Chicago is supposed to have a rough winter.
Events of the Past Week
Monday - We started the week by learning how to use Microsoft Excel to create graphs. This was new for several students, as was e-mailing the partially completed assignment to themselves. Most students have a pretty good graphing foundation, so it was good to be able to teach them how to use technology to create those same graphs for them. We also learned how to use the slope of a line in a graph to make predictions and draw conclusions about the data that has been gathered. It was fun to see the light bulb go off in students' brains as they finally saw a point to all the slope calculating they have been doing in their math classes!
Tuesday - The graphs the students created were collected on Tuesday. One issue we had was that several students came up to me at the beginning of class to tell me they couldn't use Excel at home, or their printer wasn't working, or that they had other problems with the technology at home. I understand that those problems do happen, but I need to be made aware of the problem before class starts, either via e-mail (if the computer is working but Excel is not), or by stopping in to the science office before school starts. Otherwise, I do not know that a student isn't just trying to cover up the fact that they simply did not do their homework. I let the students know this, as well.
After collecting the graphs, the students were introduced to metric prefixes they will use in class or that they will see in their lives outside of class. The students are expected to know: tera, giga, mega, kilo, hecto, deka, deci, centi, milli, micro, and nano. After a brief review of the metric system, we began a lab where the students measured the length, volume, and mass of various objects using the metric system. They then converted their measurements to other units in the metric system and answered a few questions about the metric system when they finished. Most students did not finish all of their measurements in class due to shortened class periods because it was a late start day.
Wednesday - On Wednesday, students worked on two different metric conversion worksheets. After completing each worksheet, they checked their answers to the sheets with answer keys that were provided for them.
Thursday - On Thursday, we completed the metric system lab. Afterwards, the students were given an activity that reviewed using scientific notation with them. They were asked to convert standard notation to scientific notation, and scientific notation to standard notation. They were also asked to multiply and divide in scientific notation, convert from one metric unit to another in scientific notation, and then given some problems that had them apply what they learned about multiplying and dividing in scientific notation. Homework was to complete any problems in the activity that they did not finish in class.
Friday - Class began by checking the homework from the previous night, and then I answered any questions the students had about the homework. There were not too many questions that had to be answered.
After checking our homework, everyone got to work on an online activity that had the students learning about the history of the microscope. There is a link to the document on my website, www.mrgraba.net, which the students can access if they forgot their worksheet at school. The worksheet is located under the Accelerated Biology --> Worksheets and Presentations link on the website.
Monday - Monday will begin with the students being given a cooperative group project. Each student at the lab table will be responsible for teaching the other people at the table about one important technique for the proper use of a microscope. One person will be responsible for teaching how to calculate total magnification and the parts of the microscope. One person will be responsible for teaching how to find objects under the microscope. A third person will teach the other members of the group how to create a wet mount properly. The final person will be responsible for teaching how to properly clean the lenses on the microscope and how to properly put the microscope away. Each individual will be given instructions for how to do the things they are responsible for teaching, as well as a little bit of time to practice before they teach.
Tuesday - We will finish teaching each other about the proper use of the microscope. Afterwards, we will look at various prepared slides and wet mounts under the microscope for a little bit of practice using the microscope.
Wednesday - This is a late start day due to testing. On this shortened day, we will be finishing looking at the materials we began looking at on Tuesday. Afterwards, I have a new lab to try where we will be looking at money under the microscope. It will hopefully really catch the interest of the students in class!
Thursday - We will finish looking at money under the microscope, then begin learning how to measure the size of objects under the microscope with our fourth and final introduction to the microscope lab.
Friday - We will finish measuring with the microscope, and then the students will be given a review sheet on graphing, the metric system, scientific notation, and the microscope. The answer key to the review sheet is posted on my website. This way, after they complete the review sheet, the students can check their work over the weekend. The test on this unit will be on Monday.