January 29, 2012
The first week of second semester is now in the books. We are just about to wrap up our biotechnology unit and begin our genetics unit, as the presence of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) in our prep area attests!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - NO SCHOOL. TEACHER INSTITUTE DAY
Tuesday - At the beginning of class, I showed the students their final exam grades and their semester grades. After that was completed, we took out or data from the gel electrophoresis lab we did before final exams and graphed it on special graph paper called "semilog" graph paper. We graphed the data from one of our DNA digests, then we used our line to determine the length of other DNA fragments based on the distance they traveled in our gel. Some of the students had some pretty accurate results, while others did not. This lab, however, was more about the experience and learning to use the equipment than it was about getting accurate results. There was no homework on Tuesday.
Wednesday - We began class by completing a DNA fingerprinting activity. The students all solved "The Case of the Crown Jewels" correctly by using their knowledge of restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis. When that was finished, we began watching our movie called "The Human Race" about the Human Genome Project. There was no homework on Wednesday.
Thursday - We finished our video on the Human Genome Project, and then learned some key vocabulary that will be important in understanding how recombinant DNA is made. We will complete an activity on creating recombinant DNA on Monday. My first hour class already completed this activity due to some technical difficulties with the connection between the DVD player and projector. We will finish the video on Monday.
Friday - I was out sick on Friday, but the plan was to watch a video on genetically modified organisms anyway. The video, called "Harvest of Fear", was a Frontline special that presented the benefits and the dangers of genetically modified organisms to the students.
Monday - We will begin the week by completing the recombinant DNA activity. Following that, the students will be directed to the website http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/, where they will learn about stem cells, cloning, gene therapy, and the polymerase chain reaction. This will probably take the rest of the class period on Monday and some of the class period on Tuesday. Homework will be to begin studying for a quiz on biotechnology, covering restriction enzymes, gel electrophoresis, the Human Genome Project, recombinant DNA, stem cells, cloning, gene therapy, and the polymerase chain reaction on Wednesday.
Tuesday - We will begin class by finishing working through the learn.genetics.utah.edu website. Afterwards, we will be processing all of the information from the website and reviewing for the quiz on Wednesday.
Wednesday - We will take our quiz on biotechnology to begin class. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, we will begin learning about the process of meiosis by taking a look at some diagrams and readings on meiosis.
Thursday - We will learn about the process of meiosis by modeling it with pop beads. There will be some questions to answer related to the activity for homework.
Friday - We will review the process of meiosis by using playing cards. The playing cards will be used to simulate chromosomes, and the students will be moving around the class as though they are actually going through meiosis. Homework will be to study for a quiz on meiosis on Monday.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Graba Geek of the Week goes to Patrick Chen, who asked some very good questions about the Human Genome and the video that we watched on Thursday. Good questions lead to good discussions and everyone benefits, so way to go, Patrick!