November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011

This school year is flying past right now!  We just reached the midterm of second quarter and December is almost upon us.  You can look for the midterm reports in your mailboxes sometime at the end of this week or beginning of next, depending on the mail.

Events of the Past Week

Monday - The students ran a lab experiment called "The Limits of Cell Size," where they learned that the larger the surface area to volume ratio of a cell is, the quicker it is able to get nutrients in and waste out.  Cells have a larger surface area to volume ratio the smaller they are, which is why they need to divide after growing for a little while.  They also turned in their "Mitosis" lab and "Time for Mitosis" lab.  Homework was to complete the questions in the "Limits of Cell Size" lab.

Tuesday - The students first took a lab quiz over the cell size lab.  It was a 10 question quiz that we give to all of our freshman, no matter what level of biology they are in, because this is a lab we do at all levels of biology.  Most students did well on the short quiz.  The students then got back their two labs that they handed in the previous day, as well as the questions to the mitosis reading assignment from the previous week.

After all of the papers were passed back and everyone was done with the quiz, we reviewed for our quiz the next day by doing a pattern puzzle.  The students were given pictures of all of the stages of the cell cycle, as well as many statements about the events of the cell cycle to cut out and place in the proper order.  This took them a little while to complete, and they had to show me their completed work when they were done.  If they had made any mistakes, I pulled out the parts that were wrong and they had to go back and fix them to show me again until they had everything right.  Homework was to study for the quiz.

Wednesday - The students took their quiz over the cell cycle, which did include the five microscopes with one question at each microscope about cells in the various stages of the cell cycle.  This took the students most of the class period, so we did not do the cell energy assignment I had planned.  This is because I did not want them to have any homework over the Thanksgiving break, which I feel should be spent with family. 



Upcoming Events

Monday - After first going over the cell cycle quiz together, we will begin our next unit on cell energy.  This is one of the toughest units of the year because there will be a lot of new information which the students have not seen much of before, and some of the concepts are very high level.  The unit will begin on Monday with an introduction to enzymes, the molecules which speed up all of the chemical reactions in our bodies.  The students will be working in groups of 3 on a cooperative group project.  Each student will complete one part of a 3 part assignment on enzymes, and then be responsible for teaching the other members in his or her group the information in their part. 

Tuesday - Late Start Day - We will continue with the cooperative group project.  Students will complete the research on their part of the project, and then begin teaching each other.  Because of the shortened day, this will probably carry over into Wednesday.

Wednesday - Students will complete teaching their part of the project, and then have the opportunity to ask any questions that they might have about enzymes.  For homework, they will be looking at the lab that we will be running on Thursday and Friday with enzymes.

Thursday - This will be Day 1 of our enzyme lab.  Students will be working with an enzyme found in fresh pineapples called bromelain, which digests collagen.  Because of bromelain's function, gelatin, which is made of collagen, will not set up in the presence of fresh pineapple juice.  Students will be investigating which fruit juices contain bromelain, the effects of temperature on enzymes, and the effects of pH on enzymes during the course of this laboratory experiment.  If the enzyme bromelain is present and functioning, then the gelatin mixture they are working with will not solidify overnight in a refrigerator.  If the bromelain is not present or not functional, then the gelatin solution they will be working with will solidify overnight. 

One two member lab team will investigate whether or not bromelain is present in many different fruit juices, one two member team will investigate the effects of temperature on bromelain, and one two member team will investigate the effects of pH on bromelain.  Homework for each lab team will be to design a data table in which to record their results, and to begin writing up the procedure for their experiment.  The procedures will be written in the form of a flow chart.

Friday - Each two member team will observe their gelatin solutions to see whether or not they have solidified.  After recording their results, the teams will share their results with the other two member teams in their group.  They will then produce a procedure in flow chart form for each two member team, and answer 5 post-lab questions together as a big group.  Homework will be to study for a quiz on enzymes on Monday.

Graba Geek of the Week

This week's Geek of the Week award goes to Katie Schuelke, who worked very hard during the course of this unit and earned herself a perfect score on the lab quiz we took on Tuesday, and also earned a perfect score on the regular quiz on Wednesday.  That's the way to take yourself into Thanksgiving break!

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