January 6, 2012
I hope everyone's children had the opportunity to rest up and recharge their batteries over the last 2 weeks! My time with my family was wonderful, but I'm ready to get going again. Hopefully your children are, too!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - I concluded the lecture on Photosynthesis on Monday. For homework, the students worked on a review sheet to get ready for the test on Thursday.
Tuesday - We spent the day going over the review sheet and working on a second review sheet. Homework was to finish the second review sheet.
Wednesday - We corrected the second review sheet of the week. Then I spent time answering any questions the students had about the test or the content on the test, and then gave the students time to study with a partner and ask me any individual questions that they had.
Thursday - Thursday was the big test day. This was one of the most difficult tests of the year on what I consider to be the most difficult content. The mean score was a 53.66 out of 65 (83%), and the median score was a 56 out of 65 (86%). That is a very impressive showing on this particular test!
Friday - We reviewed the results of the cellular respiration test, then spent some time exercising our brains with some brain teasers. At the end of class, I passed out the review sheet for the final exam and the homework to be done over break. Homework was to work on a study guide that will have the students learn about the discovery of the structure of DNA. The study guide goes along with a sort of webquest that I created using the website www.dnai.org. Hopefully the students will find the story of the discovery a little bit interesting. It is a classic story of the way in which science works.
Monday - We will spend the day reviewing the story of the discovery of the structure of DNA. The students will then learn about how it is that DNA replicates, followed by some reinforcement activities on the structure and replication of DNA. Homework will be to complete those reinforcement activities.
Tuesday - The students will begin a two day paper and pencil activity to learn about the way in which protein synthesis works. The instructions in DNA are used to direct the building of all of our proteins, so this is a vitally important piece of information for students to understand going forward.
Wednesday - We will complete the paper and pencil activity on protein synthesis in class. The students will complete the questions in the activity for homework.
Thursday - The students will hand in their protein synthesis activity, and they will be given the opportunity to ask me any questions they may have about how the process works. Once that is completed, we will be working on an activity to help the students understand the different types of mutations and what their impact on living things might be. We will be looking at mutations in the genes that direct the formation of the protein myostatin and the protein hemoglobin. The students are usually pretty amazed by the results of the myostatin mutation!
Friday - We will be completing the mutation activity, which will be collected in class. Then, the students will be introduced to special enzymes called restriction enzymes, which cut DNA at specific sequences of 4-8 bases. The sequences in the DNA are usually palindromes, so we will have some fun with those at the beginning of the lesson. Homework will be to begin studying for final exams.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week award goes to Michael Qian. Michael missed significant class time during this unit due to an injury he incurred while playing soccer. Despite missing all of that time, he earned one of the highest scores on our bioenergetics test. That is really impressive to me. Great job, Michael!