January 17, 2012
Sorry this is a couple of days late. I was out of town this weekend and away from a computer until Monday evening, when I didn't have a chance to write the weekly blog!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - The day began with me collecting both the DNA History project the students had completed at home, as well as the protein synthesis activity that was due. We then began our activity for the day. We were learning about mutations by looking at the DNA sequences for the myostatin gene in the Belgian Blue cattle and the sickle cell hemoglobin gene in humans. The students had to figure out what type of mutation occurred and what the result of the mutation was as they completed the activity. Some of the questions also guided students to think about the way in which genes change over the course of time. Homework was to complete the mutation activity.
Tuesday - The students were given the opportunity to ask me questions about their mutation activity, which was then collected. Following that, we looked at palindromes such as "race car," "a man, a plan, a canal, Panama," and "go hang a salami I'm a lasagna hog." We looked at these to introduce restriction enzymes, which cut DNA at short, 4-6 base sequences which are palindromes in the DNA. For homework, the students were given a web-based activity to learn about the process of gel electrophoresis. This is a technique used to separate DNA fragments based on their relative size. Some of you may have seen (or heard) the simulation as your children watched it.
Wednesday - The students ran a gel electrophoresis activity. They had the opportunity to use micropipettes to transfer DNA from stock containers to their own little test tubes, and then to transfer the DNA from there into the gel. At the end of class, they put their gels into our electrophoresis chamber, and I turned on the power to get the fragments to separate. The gels were stained overnight. For homework, the students were given a review sheet on protein synthesis which I obtained from Ms. Kim Foglia, a fantastic biology teacher from New York who passed away last year. Many of the wonderful labs and activities the students are doing this year were taken from her.
Thursday - First, the students measured the distance their DNA fragments traveled in their gels. This information was recorded in their notebooks. We will come back to that data after final exams, and it will be used to determine the size of the fragments in the gel.
Once everyone was done measuring the distances their fragments traveled, we moved on to reviewing for the test on Friday. We went over the answers to the protein synthesis review homework, and then the students completed a second review sheet on protein synthesis, DNA structure, RNA structure, and DNA replication. We then went over the answers to that sheet in class. With the remaining time, the students were given the opportunity to ask me any questions that they had. Homework was to study for their test on Friday.
Friday - The students took their DNA test in two parts. The first part was 50 questions that were my test on DNA, and the second part was made up of 9 questions given as part of the district assessment test that all freshmen in District 211 must take. Almost everyone did very well on the district assessment portion of the test. Homework was to begin reviewing for final exams. There are several review sheets for finals posted on the accelerated biology worksheets page of www.mrgraba.net.
Monday - NO SCHOOL. THANK YOU DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR
Tuesday - We will be reviewing for final exams. The first order of business will be to look at the results from the DNA test that was taken on Friday. While the students are doing that, I will be showing them their grades for both 1st and 2nd quarter, so they know where the stand for final exams. Once we are done with all of that, the students will be given the remainder of the class period to ask me questions that they have about the material that will be covered on the test. Homework, of course, is to study for finals.
Wednesday - My 1st, 2nd, and 3rd period classes will take their final exams. My final exam is 145 multiple choice and matching questions. There are also 17 additional questions from the school district that all freshmen will take on the topics of cells and biochemistry.
Thursday - My 5th hour students will take their final exams on Thursday.
Friday - None of my freshmen have a biology final on Friday.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week is Megan Spletzer. Megan was so excited about her plans for studying and the amount of time she was going to spend studying that her enthusiasm was infectious. I love it when a student is excited about school, which Megan certainly seemed to be!
Have a great week, everyone!