December 11, 2011
One more week left until winter break. The weather sure is starting to make it feel like the holidays are almost upon us!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - We took an enzyme quiz on Monday. It was a 20 question, multiple choice quiz that the students completed in about 25 minutes. When everyone was done, I introduced the students to the structure of the leaf, the structure of a chloroplast, pigments, and the colors of the visible light spectrum. This was all to prepare for our two labs on Tuesday.
Tuesday - We began class by setting up our labs. At each lab table, two students set up a chromatography lab to separate the pigments in a spinach leaf. This showed the students the presence of pigments other than the green ones that are obviously present. While the chromatography lab was being set up, one student was finding the cross-section of a leaf on a prepared slide under the microscope, and the other student at the lab table was looking for stomata (openings) and guard cells (that control the size of the openings) on the underside of a Tradescantia leaf under the microscope. Everyone at the lab table then observed the objects under both microscopes, and drew and labeled what they saw. Homework was to complete the analysis questions in the chromatography lab.
Wednesday - The students took lecture notes on the light reactions of photosynthesis. This took most of the class period. Homework was to complete the analysis questions at the end of the lab we did on Tuesday where we were looking at leaf structures under the microscope.
Thursday - The students finished taking lecture notes on the light reactions and then took lecture notes on the Calvin Cycle (the second stage of photosynthesis, named for the man who determined the steps of the cycle, Dr. Melvin Calvin). Homework was to study for a quiz on photosynthesis.
Friday - The photosynthesis quiz was scheduled for Friday; however, I received several panicked e-mails on Thursday night from students saying they did not feel prepared for the quiz. I felt this was reasonable because they really had not had much time to process the information from the previous two days of class. We instead did a review packet, went over it, and asked questions about photosynthesis. The quiz was pushed back to Monday.
Monday - We will spend the first 20 minutes of class taking our photosynthesis quiz. The students will then be given about 10 minutes to review their results from the enzyme quiz of the previous week. After everyone has looked at their enzyme quiz, we will move on and begin our cellular respiration lecture. This will take us to the end of the period.
Tuesday - I will finish lecturing on cellular respiration on Tuesday. When we are done, the students will be given a study guide to go along with their textbook on the topic of cellular respiration. It should be completed for homework.
Wednesday - We will review enzymes, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration by creating graphic organizers to help keep all of the information from the bioenergetics unit straight. Homework will be to study for our test on bioenergetics (enzymes, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration).
Thursday - Students will take their test on enzymes, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration. This should take most of the class period for some students.
Friday - We will review our results from our test, and then do some fun winter break/holiday activities.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week award goes to Jimmy Mullen, who has turned in consistently outstanding work all year long. He clearly puts in a lot of time on his work, and his efforts have been rewarded on tests and quizzes throughout the year. Good job, Jimmy!
Have a great winter break, everyone! Don't forget, anyone who wants to can enter a great science competition. Check out www.thechallenge.dupont.com for details. There are monetary awards and a trip to Disney available to talented students! The next newsletter will be after winter break.