November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

November 20, 2011

As many of us are getting ready to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, make sure to pause and take time to be thankful for the family and friends we have in our lives. 

Events of the Past Week

Monday - NO SCHOOL - Teacher Institute Day

Tuesday - Periods were shortened to 37 minutes due to our late start meetings in the morning.  During our late start time we were examining our grading practices and philosophies, which made for interesting discussions and reflections. 

In class, I lectured to the students about the concept of chromosomes, chromatids, and chromatin, as well as the first stages of the cell cycle.

Wednesday - I was out of school on Wednesday, so the students did a reading on the cell cycle from a booklet put out by the National Institutes of Health.  There were questions associated with it, which they completed in class.  Homework was a coloring worksheet on the cell cycle.  I find that colored diagrams make are a much better study aid than black and white diagrams because all of the parts stand out a little bit better.

Thursday - The students finished taking lecture notes on the cell cycle.  When we were done with our discussion, the students then began a lab looking for cells in the various stages of the cell cycle under the microscope.  We were looking at prepared slides of the tip of an onion root to find cells in various stages of their life cycle.  Each lab team had to show me each stage as they found them so I knew that they had correctly identified all of the different stages of the cell cycle. 

Friday - We finished identifying cells under the microscope, and then moved on to a lab where students were determining how long cells spend in each stage of the cell cycle.  The big ideas the students should learn from this lab are:  cancer cells go through their life cycle much quicker than normal cells, interphase is the longest stage of the cell cycle, and prophase is the longest stage of mitosis.  Homework was to complete the questions in the two labs that we completed on Thursday and Friday.

Upcoming Events

Monday - Due to my absence on Wednesday of last week, we did not run the lab that we were going to do to learn about the importance of the surface area to volume ratio of a cell.  That lab will instead be run Monday.  Homework will be to complete the lab question for homework.

Tuesday - We will be spending some time reviewing the stages of the cell cycle on Tuesday, and I will be sharing with the students how cancer has impacted my life.  I will invite anyone who would like to share to also do so after I have shared my story.

Wednesday - The students will take their quiz on the cell cycle that will consist of 20 multiple choice questions and five microscopes set up around the room.  They will get 1 minute at each microscope to look at and identify cells in the different stages of the cell cycle.  There is a pointer in the microscope that I will have pointing directly at one specific cell for them to identify.  On the microscope portion of the quiz, they may also be asked questions such as, "Name two events that take place during this stage of the cell cycle."

After the quiz, the students will be given a packet where they will investigate a molecule called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) that provides our cells with the energy they need to work.

Thursday - NO SCHOOL - EAT LOTS!


Interesting Tidbits

For those of you looking for opportunities for your children to get involved in science outside of the classroom, I found this opportunity:  It is called the Dupont Challenge.  The idea is that students pick a topic in science that interests them, and write about it in an essay of no more than 1,000 words.  The winners of the competition can earn:
  • $5,000 U.S. Savings Bond

  • Expenses-paid trip to Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World® Resort with a parent

  • Subscription to Britannica Pathways: Science for entire school

  • 26-volume Compton's by Britannica Encyclopedia

  • Full set of Britannica Mobile Apps

  • Britannica Ultimate Reference DVD

  • Graba Geek of the Week

    This week's geek of the week award goes to Max Jahns in my 5th period class.  During our lecture last week Max was really engaged and asked some excellent questions.  It's a lot of fun to teach students who have good questions and are thinking critically about the information they are presented.  That's one reason I enjoy teaching the accelerated students so much!  Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!

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