February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

Hello everyone!  I wonder who else has a sore back after dealing with that wet, heavy snow Friday morning.  This is being written a a little bit late because today was my son's 9th birthday, so I didn't really have time to write it until after he went to bed!

Events of the Past Week


Tuesday - While I was at a Genetics Update Conference with my AP students learning about the way that genes control the development of the embryo and the development of cancer, your children were taking our first genetics quiz.  There were 15 multiple choice questions and one written question.  If you have checked your child's grades online, you will notice that the two parts of the quiz were entered as two separate grades.  It was simply a faster way for me to enter the grades, but will not change the way in which your child's grade is determined.  This is because grades are determined based on the total points earned divided by the total points possible. 

Homework on Tuesday was to read about the explorations of Alexander von Humboldt.

Wednesday - The students had their first day of counting and classifying their Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies).  This was a busy day for everyone, as I was moving around quickly from table to table putting out fires (not literally) and helping students with their classification of males and females.

Homework on Wednesday was to write approximately one page about a place that you like to explore, and what you look for when you explore there.  Some students interpreted this as a place they would like to explore, rather than a place that they do like to explore, which was fine.  It was a way for me to learn a little bit about each student on a personal level, and also to get the students doing some writing, which never hurts!

Thursday - We began class by learning about how blood type is inherited.  This was used to introduce two concepts:  multiple alleles (meaning there are more than two versions of a gene in the human population), and codominance (not to be confused with incomplete dominance).  If you want to help your child a little bit, you might ask them if they can explain the difference between incomplete dominance and codominance.  This will help them to review their notes a little bit as we approach the end of our unit. 

When we finished learning about multiple alleles and codominance, the students were given time to count their fruit flies again.

Homework on Thursday was to complete questions 1-7 on Problem Set 4.

Friday - Students were introduced to polygenic inheritance.  In this type of inheritance, one trait is determined by multiple pairs of genes.  Classic examples of traits that show this type of inheritance are skin color and eye color.  After we finished this, the students were given time to count and classify their flies. 

Homework was to complete problems 9 and 10 in Problem Set 4 (we are skipping number 8).  Anyone who finished counting their flies early on Friday got the opportunity to start their homework in class.  It was unbelievable how much better the students were doing at identifying flies by Friday.  Some of them have already gotten to the point that they can tell the difference between a male and female fruit fly without even looking at them underneath the dissecting microscope!

Marty works hard at classifying his fruit flies.

Nathan and Carson show what teamwork is supposed to look like!

Konstantin transfers some of his fruit flies to a baby food jar to be knocked out.

Walt and Emily work together to separate males from females.

Jennie and Katie show that working with fruit flies can be fun!

Michael and Amy transfer fruit flies to their counting tray.

Working hard to get the fruit flies separated before they start to wake up again!

Prerana, Jenna, Jimmy, and Justin all work together to get their flies knocked out.

Ellen and Christina have almost completed separating the flies from one of their vials.

Tomas is focused on the task at hand.

Sunny and Alex seen from the point of view of one of our lab tables!

Upcoming Events

Monday - Monday will be spent counting flies.  We will have plenty to count after a weekend away from them, so I anticipate this taking most of the class period.  There will be some time to work on some practice problems and answer any questions students may have about any of the problems we have done so far.  Homework will be to start reviewing for the second quiz we will have on genetics during this week.

Tuesday - The students will be introduced to the concept of epistasis.  We will look at coat color in labrador retrievers and in mice as our example for this type of inheritance.  The students will be learning, for example, why there are three different coat colors in labs.  After being introduced to this concept, the students will have time to count their flies.  Homework will be practice problems related to epistasis.

Wednesday - We will review the different types of inheritance we have learned since the last quiz in preparation for our quiz on Thursday.  With any time that is left, there will be time to count our first generation of fruit flies one last time.  After Wednesday, we will be getting rid of our first generation of flies.  The second generation should be ready next week!

Thursday - On Thursday, we will take our second genetics quiz.  There will be a reading assignment that follows the quiz.  Homework will be to finish the reading assignment.

Friday - Finally, on Friday, we will be looking at the inheritance of genes which are located on the same chromosome, which we call "linked genes."  This is probably the most difficult topic in our current unit, so please encourage your students to ask me questions if they have any after they are introduced to it.  Homework will be some practice problems related to linked genes.

Graba Geek of the Week

This week's geek of the week is Will Helgren.  Will has been working extra hard during this unit, and it has paid off for him.  He earned one of the few perfect scores on our first quiz.  Way to go, Will!

Have a great week everyone!

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