March 17, 2013
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage - it is the one time of year I will eat either one of those!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - We finished up the last of our new content in the genetics unit. The students learned about nondisjunction (the improper separation of chromosomes when sperm and eggs are formed that can lead to many different genetic abnormalities in the offspring), and some of the results of nondisjunction occurring. When we finished, the students were given some review sheets and the opportunity to work on those or their fruit fly reports. Homework was to work on the fruit fly reports and study for their test.
Tuesday - LATE START DAY. The students were given the option of studying for their test or working on their fruit fly reports. Most worked on their reports. The answer keys for the 3 sets of review problems the students were given between Monday and Tuesday were all posted on www.mrgraba.net, so that the students could check themselves when they completed any of the review problems. Homework was to work on the fruit fly reports or study for the genetics test.
Wednesday - Wednesday was day 1 of the genetics test. The class average was a 32.7 out of 40, which is an 82%. This day of the test was difficult. The 82% works out to a B average, which is very impressive. Homework was to work on the fruit fly reports or study for day 2 of the test.
Thursday - Day 2 of the genetics test was given on Thursday. The class average for the second day of the genetics test was a 36.5 out of 40, which is a 91%. Between the two days of the test, the average worked out to be a 69.2 out of 80, or an 86.5%, which is a B+. The kids clearly worked hard during this unit, and it showed in their test results.
Friday - The students first turned in their fruit fly reports. They then took the district benchmark assessment in genetics. This is a 15 question assessment in genetics that all freshman throughout District 211 take. Almost everyone in class earned an A on the assessment. From there, we moved on to doing test corrections on the two days of our genetics test. Finally, the students were given an activity to complete at home interpreting a graph of the geologic history of the earth.
Monday - After collecting the geologic history assignment, I will give about a 15 minute lecture on the theories of spontaneous generation, biogenesis, and earth's history. The students will then begin to work on an activity to learn about radioactive dating of fossils and rocks. We will focus on the radioactive isotope Carbon-14 in our activity, although there are many other radioactive isotopes that can be used for this purpose.
Tuesday - We will finish our radioactive dating activity, then complete the reading of a passage from an ACT exam related to evolution, and then a study guide that goes with Chapter 14 of their textbook. Students need to be sure to bring their textbooks to class on Tuesday. Homework will be to complete the study guide.
Wednesday - We will be watching a NOVA video called "Origins." This video explores some of they hypotheses of where the first life on earth originated.
Thursday - The students will be reading an excerpt on Alexander von Humboldt from a book by Sean B.Carroll called Remarkable Creatures. After students have read the article, they will be asked to write about a place they like to or used to like to go explore. This will be an opportunity to encourage writing in the science classroom as well as have the students do some scientific reading.
Friday - We will be watching three separate 10-15 minute video segments on natural selection working in our modern world. Each of the video segments was put together by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. They are very interesting and very well done. There will be no homework over spring break!
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geeks of the Week are Billy Maniscalco and James Qiu. Each of these young men earned perfect scores on the second day of the genetics test, as well as A's on the first day of the test. Very well done, gentlemen!