September 30, 2012

September 30, 2012

September 30, 2012

I hope everyone has plans to enjoy this wonderful early fall weather we are having today!  We were very busy in class this last week, and have a lot planned for the upcoming week.

Events of the Past Week

Monday - We began our lab using different indicator's to determine the presence of certain macromolecules in a solution.  We used Benedict's Solution to test for monosaccharides, Iodine to test for polysaccharides, Biuret to test for proteins, and a grease-spot test and a solubility test to test for the presence of lipids.  On Monday, the students were able to complete the tests for monosaccharides, starch, and proteins so that they could learn what each indicator looked like in a positive test and in a negative test.  Homework was to complete questions 1-15 in the lab.

Tuesday - The students completed the grease-spot test for lipids, and I demonstrated the solubility test in water (a polar solvent) and hexane (a nonpolar solvent).  The students saw that the oil dissolved in the nonpolar solvent, and did not dissolve in the polar solvent.  We then figured out why this was the case.  Homework was to complete the rest of the questions in the lab handout., and to complete their graphic organizers on carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.

Wednesday - We began class by turning in the lab, and then discussing the objectives for the lab.  The goal was to make sure that the students understood what was important to know after having completed this lab.  The students were then given a handout with the objectives for our entire biochemistry unit, so they knew what they needed to study for the test.

After the objectives were handed out, we began reviewing.  The students were given 10 minutes to get together with their partners and review what they each came up with for their carbohydrate, protein, and lipid graphic organizers.  I then asked the students for any questions on those graphic organizers.  Then, we did a review sheet that asked the students to identify many different macromolecules based on their structural formulas.  This was challenging, but many students were doing much better at the identification of molecules by the time we were done.  Finally, the students were given a review sheet on carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids that asked them to identify different characteristics of those three macromolecules.  They were to complete this for homework.

Thursday - Rather than test, we reviewed for one more day.  First, the students were given the opportunity to ask any questions that they had from the review sheet they completed for homework.  Then, we played a review game where approximately 35 multiple choice questions were asked using a software program that we have called Classroom Performance System.  Each student had a remote control, and would click their answer to each question in.  The program keeps track of who gets each question correct, and lets the students know immediately whether or not they got the question correct.  We had some fun with this.  The high score in each class earned a couple of points of extra credit for the test on Friday.  Homework was to study for the test on Friday.

Friday - The students took the biochemistry test.  In each class, some students worked up to the bell.  There was no homework for the weekend.

Upcoming Events

Monday - The students will get back their biochemistry tests.  Each student will spend time analyzing which questions they got correct and which questions they got wrong.  The idea will be to help them figure out what topics they knew well, and which they did not.  This will hopefully help them when it comes time to study for final exams.  It will also help us to have a discussion about amount of time spent studying, and what kind of studying was done for the test.

After going over the test, the students will take a 15 question district assessment test on biochemistry.  This will be significantly easier than the test for our class, since every freshman in the school district takes this test.  This will be a small, 5 point grade in the gradebook.

When the students are done with the district assessment, they will begin a webquest on the history of the microscope.  Homework will be to complete the webquest, which can be found on the 1st semester labs page of my website, for those of you who are interested.

Tuesday - We will begin a cooperative group project learning about the parts of the microscope, how to use the microscope, and how to take care of the microscope.  This is a late start day, so we may not finish the project.  Each student is responsible for teaching the other people in their group one topic related to the microscope, so homework will be to complete preparing to teach the other people in their group about their topic.

Wednesday - We will be finishing the microscope peer teaching lab at the beginning of the class.  This will be followed by looking at several different objects under the microscope.  The goal of the lab is to learn how to use many of the different parts of the microscope, such as the diaphragm, the coarse and fine adjustments, etc., effectively.  There will be no homework.

Thursday - We will finish looking at objects under the microscope, and then begin a lab looking at money under the microscope.  The idea will be for the students to learn how to use the stereoscope, to learn a little about our currency, and to spark some interest in the microscope by looking at something everyone is interested in - money! 

Friday - We will do a quick review of the metric system, and the students will complete a lab where they will be measuring length, volume, and mass, and then converting between different units in the metric system.  Homework will be to complete the lab questions that they have remaining.

Graba Geek of the Week

This week we have co-Geek of the Week winners.  Both Emily Jia and Jiamin Huang earned perfect scores on our biochemistry test on Friday.  This was no small feat, as the test was relatively difficult.  Very impressive, girls!  Keep up the good work!

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