October 8, 2012
Happy Columbus Day! After a long, cold weekend of camping with the Webelos, I'm ready to get back to work with the kids in class. I hope they are ready to be put to work!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - On Monday we spent much of the class period reviewing our results from the Biochemistry Test from the previous Friday. The average for my classes was an 81%, which is a solid B. After reviewing the results from the test, I introduced the students to the parts of the microscope. There was no homework on Monday night.
Tuesday - I was gone on Tuesday, so the students worked on a history of the microscope webquest. Unfortunately, the school's Internet was really slow, and the periods were shortened. As a result, most students did not finish their webquests. Homework was supposed to be to finish the webquest. At home, however, some students had trouble with a Java plug-in, so the students were also given Wednesday night to finish the assignment.
Wednesday - We did a peer teaching lab in class. The students each had an aspect of the microscope they were to teach the rest of their lab table about. One person was responsible for teaching the parts of the microscope and calculating total magnification. One person was responsible for teaching how to find objects under the microscope. One person taught the students how to make a wet mount, and one person showed the students how to properly clean the microscope and put the microscope away when you are done with it. Homework was to finish the webquest.
Thursday - We began a lab looking at different objects under the microscope. There were five prepared slides (a fruit fly, a Paramecium, human blood, human blood with sickle-cell anemia, and frog blood) for the students to look at on Thursday. Some students also brought in pond water to look at on Thursday. One sample had many microscopic organisms called Daphnia which were very interesting for the students to look at under the microscope.
Friday - We finished the microscope lab by looking at potato slices first without any stain, and then with Iodine as a stain. We tied this staining back to our biochemistry unit by reminding the students what it is that Iodine indicates when it changes color from yellow to purple. Any prepared slides that the students did not get to look at on Thursday were also viewed on Friday. When a lab team finished, they were given a worksheet that had them practicing metric conversions, as our next lab will be having the students working with the metric system. Homework was to finish any lab questions and to finish any metric conversions that were not completed in class.
Monday - NO SCHOOL! COLUMBUS DAY!
Tuesday - We will be running a metric system lab to help the students review the metric system, which I'm sure they have learned many times before! The students will be measuring length, volume, and mass, and then converting their measurements from the metric unit the measure in to other metric units. Since it only involves moving decimals, converting in the metric system should not be too difficult for the students! They will be asked to know the following prefixes: tera, giga, mega, kilo, hecto, deka, deci, centi, milli, micro, nano. There are computers being developed with terabytes worth of memory now, and technology being developed using nanotechnology, so I believe that these are useful prefixes for the students to know. Homework will be to complete the questions in the metric system lab.
Wednesday - The metric system lab will be collected, and I will see if the students have any questions about the metric system as we process what they learned from the experiment. The students will then be reintroduced to using scientific notation. They will also be taught how to multiply, divide, add, and subtract while using scientific notation. There will be time given for the students to begin some practice scientific notation problems. Any problems that are not finished in class will be finished for homework.
Thursday - We will spend time reviewing the scientific notation homework. The students will be grading their own work, and then will be given the opportunity to ask for help on any questions that the got wrong. After this, we will conduct a lab experiment called "Measuring with the Microscope." The students will measure the length of the diameter of their field of view under low power on the microscope, and then calculate the diameter of their field of view under high power. Once they have completed that task, they will then estimate the size of various microorganisms as they view them under the microscope. This can be challenging for the students, but we will work to get everyone understanding how to estimate sizes by the end of the lab. This lab ties together everything we will have learned about the microscope, the metric system, and scientific notation. There will be no homework on Thursday.
Friday - At the beginning of class, the students will be shown how to graph a data set by using Microsoft Excel. Then, the students will be given time to finish their "Measuring with the Microscope" lab activity. This should take about 15-20 minutes. After completing the lab activity, the students will hand it in and begin working on a graphing activity using data sets that I will give them. There are a series of questions to answer about the graphs the students create as they work through the graphing activity. I will not be requiring the graphs to be completed for homework, as not all students may have Microsoft Excel at home. The graphs will be completed in class on Monday. Plan on there being a test on the microscope, metric system, scientific notation, and graphing on Tuesday the 16th of October.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week is Mark Guo, who brought in our Daphnia filled water sample. Without him, the pond water observation portion of our lab would not have been nearly as successful or interesting. Thank you, Mark!
Have a great week everyone!