March 3, 2013
We had the first day of meteorological spring on Friday, but it sure doesn't look or feel like anyone has told Mother Nature yet!
Events of the Past Week
Monday - We took a quiz on Monday that consisted of 15 multiple choice questions and 1 written question. There was no homework on Monday.
Tuesday - To begin class, we reviewed our results from our first genetics quiz. We then learned about two types of inheritance (multiple alleles and codominance) by learning about how we inherit our blood type. When we were done with that, the students were given the opportunity to get started on their homework, which was to complete questions 1-7 in Problem Set 4.
Wednesday - The students were introduced to polygenic traits. Those are traits controlled by more than one pair of genes, like height, skin color, and eye color, to name a few. In fact, most of our traits are probably not as simple as many of the practice work we do, but rather more complex, polygenic traits. For homework, the students completed numbers 9 and 10 in Problem Set 4. We skipped number 8 in that problem set because it covers a topic we will learn about during our evolution unit, instead.
Thursday - Problem Set 4 was collected, and we spent the day reviewing much of the material we have learned throughout the unit with a couple of practice problem sets. Homework was to finish any work not completed in class, and then to watch my video lecture on a type of inheritance called epistasis. Fur color in labrador retrievers, mice, and sheep are all controlled by epistasis.
Friday - The students were given an open note quiz on the notes they should have taken from watching the video that was linked to my website. The questions were simple. I asked for the definition of epistasis, two examples of epistasis (I gave 3 in the lecture), and one expected ratio from a cross involving epistasis (2 were given in the video). 11 out of 27 students could answer those questions, which means 16 students did not watch the video. It is tough to be successful in an accelerated class if you don't do some of the assigned work, especially when the assigned work is to watch an explanation of content that is new. Those students who had completed watching the video at home were then given two practice epistasis problems, while the others had to watch the video in class first, and then worked on the two practice problems. There was a review packet given to those students who were able to complete the two epistasis problems in class. Homework is to study for our quiz on Monday.
Monday - We will take our second genetics quiz on Monday. Any content we have covered during our genetics unit up to this point is fair game for the quiz.
Tuesday - The students will be introduced to linked genes. These are genes located on the same chromosome. They do not follow Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment, so their inheritance pattern is somewhat unpredictable. Homework will be to complete Problem Set 5.
Wednesday - Problem Set 5 will be collected. The students will then be introduced to Chi-Square Analysis. This is a statistical tool that can be used to compare the expected outcome of an experiment with the actual outcome. This tool will need to be used by the students in writing up their Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) lab reports. We will then conduct a lab experiment where we look at the percentage of different colored M&M's in a bag of M&M's. The Mars candy company says that there is supposed to be a certain percentage of each color M&M in one of their bags. We can use those expected percentages and compare them to the actual percentages of each color using the Chi-Square Analysis tool to see if the company's claims are accurate.
Thursday - The students will be introduced to nondisjunction, which is when chromosomes do not separate properly during meiosis. As a result of nondisjunction, many genetic disorders arise, such as Down Syndrome, Klinefelter's Syndrome, Turner's Syndrome, and many others. We will learn a little bit about those on Thursday. After the students are done, they will be given a group of Chi-Square practice problems to complete for homework if they do not complete them in class.
Friday - We will review for our genetics test, which will take place on Monday and Tuesday of the next week (March 11 and March 12). It is a two day test because it is the same length as my other tests in terms of the number of questions, but genetics problems take much longer to do. As a result, we decided to split the test up over two days in order to be fair to the students.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week is Chase Jauch, who came in for extra help a few times, and, after initially struggling a little bit in our genetics unit, was able to earn himself a perfect score on our first genetics quiz! Way to go, Chase!