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1/22/10 Students will be asked to write a final reflection about the concepts they learned during their semester in science. They will also be given a list of topics that they can expect to see on their grade level CRT exams in April and instructions on how to access practice tests at home. We will also discuss opportunities for Science Fair and Science Olympiad for students who do not have this as their
1/21/10 Students will look at ways to classify species and participate in reviewing their previous work for final grades.
1/20/10 Students will read Section 6.2 Species change over time. Topics: Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, Charles Darwin, natural selection, populations, genetic variation, adaptation, environmental factors, speciation.
1/19/10 Students had the class period to complete their natural selection projects. The analysis paragraph has to detail: In what ways did the object change? Why did these changes happen? Do you think there was a precise moment in time when everybody stopped using 1 version of the object in favor of the newer version? Could there still be older versions of the object in use today? Predict what the next version of this object will look like. Describe changes you would make to the object.
1/18/10 Enjoy your Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday! I will be working hard at school for you!
1/15/10 Together as a class, we cloned Mimi the mouse and made predictions about what the baby would look like after considering the genes of the mother, egg-donor, and surrogate mother. We discussed the difference between a somatic cell and a gamete. Gametes are only egg and sperm and have 1/2 the number of chromosomes. Somatic cells are any other cell from your body that have the full number of chromosomes, 1/2 from mother and 1/2 from father, ex: liver cell, brain cell, skin cell, etc. Mimi donated a somatic cell with a full set of chromosomes. Megdo donated an egg which is a gamete that has only 1/2 the number of chromosomes. Megdo's egg had its nucleus removed and Mimi's somatic nucleus was transfered into the egg cell, "tricking" the egg into thinking it was fertilized with a full set of chromosomes. Finally, the "fertilized" egg was placed into Momi, the surrogate mother. Do you know who the baby looked like?
Next students began a natural selection project. Students were asked to pick any object and represent it with 6 chronological pictures, documenting its changes. Objects chosen included cell phones, video game consoles, Mario, cars, trucks, Mickey Mouse, pens, and many more. Most did not have time to complete their analysis paragraphs which will be done on Tuesday, 1/19/10. See documents attached below: Natural Selection Project and Evolution Project Pictures.
1/14/10 Students completed a short CH 4 review before starting their computer labs. They visited http://faculty.clintoncc.suny.edu/faculty/michael.gregory to review pedigrees. Next they visited http://learn.genetics.utah.edu and ran the Virtual Labs for DNA Extraction, Gel Electrophoresis, and DNA Microarray. If time allowed, they tried cloning a mouse named Mimi. The computer lab is attached as a document below.
1/13/10 We began by practicing our punnett squares, first 2 x 2 and then 4 x 4. Students names genotypes and phenotypes and worked out probabilities. I then dubbed the students Masters of the Pedigree. We learned how pedigree charts can help us trace genetic diseases through a family history. After learning the symbols, we discovered how to make an educated assumption about the dominance or recessive nature of an allele and determine if the defective gene is an X-linked or autosomal trait. We studied the Royal families of Europe and followed the spread of hemophelia from Queen Victoria to the Russian, Spanish, and German royal families. Then we practiced reading pedigree charts for color blindness, smurf disease, rainbow disease, and cat-faced disease (disclaimer: not all diseases studied exist).
1/12/10 Today we determined the genotype of a dog and created the phenotype on paper. We also completed our reading for Section 4.2 Patterns of heredity can be predicted, Section 4.3 DNA is divided during Meiosis, and 4.4 Cells use DNA and RNA to make proteins.
1/11/10 Fun with genes today! We'll start by identifying Mendelian traits and filling in a gene wheel. See documents below: Gene Wheel and Gene Wheel Instructions.  Finally, we used magnetic chromosomes to see how a slight modification from normal causes diseases like Turner's Syndrome, Kleinfelter's Syndrome, and Down's Syndrome.
1/8/10 The class read Section 4.1 Living things inherit traits in patterns, all about genes and chromosomes. We learned that tightly packed DNA results in a structure known as a chromosome which consists of 2 chromatids held together at the center by a centromere. A genes is a section of DNA that codes for a particular trait. Alleles are different forms of the same gene. For example: H may be the allele for regular height while h is the allele for short height. Both these alleles are different versions of the same height gene. Alleles can interact in different ways. Sometimes different alleles blend characteristics but sometimes one is dominant ove the other. A dominant allele is one that will be expressed when only one copy is present (Ex: Hh codes for regular height even though the short gene is present. HH also codes for regular height.) A recessive allele is one that is only expressed when two copies are present (Ex: hh codes for short height). Some traits are inherited while others are acquired. Playing the violin is an acquired trait because you had to learn how to do it. Having brown hair is an inherited trait.
We conducted a bug lab whereby students created a chromosome with genes coding for nose color, eyes, body segments, spots, and antennae. Students charted the genotype and then drew the phenotype. Next students practiced Meiosis by copying their chromosomes and going through 2 cell divisions to create haploid cells. Students traded a haploid chromosome with someone else in the class and combined the new chromosome with one of their own to create a child bug. Again they charted the genotype and drew the phenotype.
1/7/09 Test on cells today. After the test, students began reading about genes and chromosomes.
1/6/09 We learned about the 2 parts of the cell cycle, Interphase and Cell Division. We learned that there are also 2 parts to cell division, Mitosis and Cytokinesis. Within Mitosis are several phases, namely prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, followed by cytokinesis. We read CH 3 about uses for cell division whether it be asexual reproduction for unicellular organisms or for repair, growth, development, and reproduction for multicellular organisms. We looked at two forms of asexual reproduction, meaning only 1 parent, including regeneration (like sea stars or some plants) and binary fusion as in bacteria without a nucleus. Students looked at onion cells and fish cells undergoing Mitosis with microscopes.
1/5/09 Today students reviewed the results of both the Carrot lab and the Defecation lab. Carrots in fresh water became hard, swelled up, and gained mass. Carrots in salt water became bendy, shrunk, and lost mass. Osmosis carried water molecules out of the carrot's cells into the salt water to bring a balance of water molecules to the salt solution. The bags of yeast, water, and sugar were puffed up to the point of bursting. This demonstrated the expulsion of carbon dioxide waste from a living organism (yeast) which burned the sugar as food during cellular respiration. The rest of the class was spent completing the cell review study guide attached as a document below (2009 Cell Review).
1/4/2010  Journal Entry: Passive transport - movement of molecules from a more crowded to a less crowded area WITHOUT the use of energy. Movement occurs when there are unequal concentrations of a substance inside and outside of the cell. When concentrations are equal, the molecules have achieved homeostasis.

The two kinds of passive transport are:

Diffusion - movement of molecules from a region of higher concentration to a region of lower concentration. Diffusion occurs because of the constant, random motion of particles.

Osmosis - diffusion of water through a membrane.


Active transport - movement of molecules from a less crowded to a more crowded area WITH the use of energy. Molecules are "carried" into or out of the cell using some of the cell's energy.


We conducted 2 labs in class: The Osmosis Lab and Defecation Lab. See attached documents below.


12/10 & 12/11/09 We spent time looking at plasma membranes up close. We learned about lipids and carbohydrate hooks that connect one cell to another. Students labeled the hydrophobic and hydrophilic ends of the lipids. We studied plant and animal cells under a microscope and watched some clips on how molecules can be transported through the membrane, including endocytosis, exocytosis, ion channels, and protein pumps.

12/3-12/9-09 We embarked on a cell advertising campaign. Students began researching an organelle in-depth and planning a media campaign to present to the class. Final projects could be a video-taped commercial, a magazine ad, an interview with a cell, a comic strip, or live skit.
11/23 & 11/24 More about cells.
11/19 & 11/20/09 
Yesterday we began the Cells Alive Computer Lab attached as a word document at the bottom of this page and today those who finished began the Cell Computer Lab. Our journal entry had us detail the three most obvious differences between a plant and animal cell. Namely, a plant has a cell wall, a large central vacuole, and chloroplasts. Animal cells do not have these. Bacteria are another type of cell that has a cell wall.
11/18/09 Students were given the scenario that they were building a Gummi-bear factory out in the middle of nowhere. They have 200 workers who have signed up to move to this barren place and work in their factory. They were asked to brainstorm everything they would need in their new town to keep their workers safe and happy and to produce their product. We will compare the essential services and materials students brainstormed to the jobs of organelles in cells, thus launching our unit on cells!
11/16/09 Students received their report grades and had the opportunity to add missing information for additional points during this class period.
11/9-11/13/09 This week has been spent on student presentations and reflections for the Student Led Conferences.
11/2/09-11/9/09 Here are the due dates for the research project: 11/2/09 Final research should be completed today & final format selected (powerpoint, poster, traditional report)
11/4/09: Rough draft is due at the end of class so I can proof read and edit. 11/5/09 Peer review and in-class editing. Begin revising. 11/6/09 Final product is due by the end of class. If all revisions are
 complete, then ask yourself what can I add to this report to make it spectacular?  11/9/09 Present your project to the class. 
 Compare any planet in our solar system with the Earth.
How scientists believe the planet was formed.
Physical Properties of the planet (size, diameter, what is it made of, distance from the sun, gravity, temperature)
Surface Properties (mountains, valleys, volcanoes, liquid or water-ice
What are its movements (rotations around the sun, rotations that affect the length of day or seasons)
Atmosphere (gases, density, elements, chemicals)
Other unique characteristics
What technology or methods have scientists used to study each planet? (Have they actually been there? collected samples? Used ultrasound waves? Taken x-rays? Probe? Satellite?)
Cover page should include student names, report title, date, school, and teacher name.
Bibliography should include 3 internet references and at least 1 book reference.
Include 3 pictures of each planet
Watch out for plagiarism.
10/29/09  Yesterday we began reading about the terrestrial planets and how they are similar or different from Earth. Today we reinforced what we read by watching clips about Venus, Mercury, and Mars as well as an Earthlike planet discovered in a different solar system. I introduced a research project where students will research and compare a planet of their choice with the Earth. We will assign due dates soon and those will get posted on this site.
Spiral Notebook8/26/09 Today we got to know our classmates and designed some funky rocket fuel. Students brought home a course syllabus to be signed and returned by parents (10 points- due tomorrow). Students will also receive 10 points for having their 2 pocket folder, spiral notebook, and pencil here tomorrow.
8/27/09 Students wrote a journal entry describing why scientists have to be honest, self-disciplined, have integrity, and show respect. We discussed responsible vs. irresponsible behavior during science labs. We began our first lab. Learning targets: I can form a hypothesis. I can record accurate data. I can perform calculations with my data and analyse the results.
8/28/09 Students picked from one of these 4 scientist traits and illustrated it in their journal: co-operation, consideration, teamwork, & environmental stewardship. We then completed our gum lab, analyzed our data and wrote our conclusions. We began a discussion of variables. They need to know that there are 3 types: independent, dependent, and controlled. They were given the first 2 pages of the attachment below called Variables. There will be a quiz on this information on Wednesday.

8/31/09 We reviewed the 3 types of variables and came up with some examples of controlled variables: atmospheric pressure, air temperature, lights, and gravity. Students completed a worksheet to practice categorizing variables and converting scientific questions into hypotheses. It is attached below as Variable W.S. We them brainstormed the atoms we are familiar with and contemplated size, form the universe, to our galaxy, to us on the Earth, to the blood cells in our bodies, to the water molecules in our blood, to the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen that make up that water.
9/1/09 All day expedition.
9/2/09 Students began with a journal entry that required them to write 6 sentences about a set of pictures on their table. Sentences were comments such as (I notice....) or (I wonder...). It turns out these pictures were all related to plastic. We looked at the chemical formulas for plastic and began reading about plastic bag controversies. See "Plastic politics.doc" below. Quiz on variables. Students who finished early read an article called "Plastic Blood." (You may click to read it.)
9/3/09 Students created a table for their journal entry surrounding these 4 scientists and their discoveries. If you were absent, copy this down and staple it into your journal:
J.J. Thomson of Manchester, England won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1906.
His model of the atom showed electrically charged particles in a contained space but no nucleus.
Ernest Rutherford of Nelson, New Zealand won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1908.
His model of the atom showed electrons gathered around a positively charged nucleus.
     Niels Bohr of Copenhagen, Denmark won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1922.
     His model shows electrons arranged in shells around a positively charged nucleus.
      Erwin Schroedinger of Vienna, Austria won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1933.
      His is the currently accepted Electron Cloud Model. Electrons are in constant motion around
      the positively charged nucleus and their exact location cannot be pinpointed at any given
      time. Electrons with low energy cannot escape the attraction of the positively charged
      nuclues and are closer to the nuclues. Electrons with high energy can escape the attraction
      and are found farther away from the nucleus.
***Scientific models change over time as new discoveries are made. It is important that we study the work of earlier scientists so that our experiments either
   confirm their results or pose new questions. Someday, there may be a new atomic model to add to this list.
We participated in a spirit read about plastics and discussed several types and their uses. See "plastic.doc" below.
9/4/09 Journal Entry: Homemade Hover Craft 
Weight in pounds (lbs) Distance travelled in feet
10 7
20 12
30 20
50 30
75 40
125 25
Question: How far will a homemade hover craft travel carrying various weights?
Hypothesis: A homemade hover craft will travel a distance of 25 feet carrying 50 lbs.
What were the controlled variables during this hover craft test?
  • The same hover craft machine was used each time.
  • The surface (floor) was the same.
  • The person pushing the hover craft used the same force.
  • Gravity and air pressure were constant.
What was the independent variable?   Weight          Dependent variable? How far it travelled.
We returned and reviewed our quiz from Wednesday. Students also worked in groups to complete the worksheet: The Latest Release: The Electron Cloud Model. I do not have a link for this worksheet. If
your student was absent then he/she needs to request a copy from me.
9/7/09  No School. Happy Labor Day. Don't labor too much.
9/8/09  All day expedition.
9/9/09  We compared the elements in common in the human body, Earth, a sugar cube, and a plastic bowl, but the real fun came when we made our own polymers (a.k.a. long stranded molecules). Students from all grades and classes asked me for the recipe. It is the document below titled, "Polymer Lab Instructions." Print and enjoy.
9/10/09 We added a list of common elements and their symbols to our journal:

O is oxygen   H  hydrogen  N nitrogen  C  carbon  Ca calcium  Si Silicon  Fe  Iron (Ferrous) Na Sodium   and after analyzing the make-up of elements in the Earth, our bodies, plastic, and fructose sugar, we concluded that all are made up of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen. Nitrogen was a close runner up, but there isn't any in sugar.

We learned that while elements are made of only 1 type of atom, such as a gold bar in Ft. Knox (only 1 student knew what Ft. Knox was), a compound is formed when 2 or more types of atoms are joined by a chemical reaction. The smallest part of a compound that still has the properties of that compound is a molecule. Consider water, a compound. Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas at room temperature and so is oxygen. When these 2 types of atoms are joined by a chemical reaction, they become a liquid water molecule at room temperature. The water molecule has very different properties than the elements hydrogen and oxygen.

Homework!  Build a molecule of water or fructose sugar out of household items. Example: Small marshmallow= hydrogen, Large marshmallow= oxygen, pretzel= bond that holds them together. Please don’t go buy anything. You can use cereal, playdough, paper, carrot sticks, grapes etc. but if you make it tasty, you can eat it after you share it with the class. Write down a key that explains what each component represents.

Also, there is an open note quiz tomorrow. See document below: "Quiz Review 2"

9/11/09 Today we will share our yummy molecules, take our quiz, and if time permits, explore how a mixture is different from a compound.

                  Many students forgot to bring their yummy molecules today. Bring it on Monday.....last chance for credit!

9/12/09 The homework written on the board for Friday was to visit this website and tell me what funny picture I had here. It's worth 5 points!

 I hope you enjoyed visiting my website.

9/14/09  We discussed 4 mixtures: blood, Rocky Road icecream, Sprite, and nail polish. We learned that mixtures can be separated with relative ease and the substances are not bonded together like compounds are. We then tested samples of black ink to determine if the ink was a mixture. While "Sharpie" markers did not separate out, regular washable markers bled out into shades of blue, green, and reds.

9/16/09  We thought about ways to measure matter and wrote down a list of common units for measuring volume, mass, and length. Students practiced using graduated cylinders to find the volume of irregularly shaped objects. Then we found the mass of those objects and calculated density for those objects. Density = mass/volume. We also observed equal sized pails full of ice and liquid water. Although the containers had the same volume, the mass was much greater for the liquid water pails than the ice filled pails. Students offered ideas about these differences.

9/17/09 Students were asked for their journal entry how they would find the volume of a pothole in the street and why they might need to know this information. We then conducted a liquid density lab. See below attachment "Liquid Density Lab."


9/18/09 We conducted a density lab on gases. See below attachment "Mass the Gas"

9/21/09 We conducted our final density lab of 3. See below attachment "I Love Density Lab." There will be a quiz on Density on Wednesday. Students need to identify mass and calculate volume and label their answers with the correct units. Students will then have to calculate density.

9/23/09 Our journal entry helped us prepare for today's quiz. I told the class I wanted to sell a gold charm to 'Cash 4 Gold' and they pay $15 per cubic centimeter of gold. We looked at a graduated cylinder with water at the 10mL mark which rose to 12 mL after the charm was added. The charm displaced the water by 2 CCs x $15, so I could get $30 for my gold charm. Then we found the density of my charm after I told the class that my charm had a mass of 10g. Density=mass/volume so D=10g/2cc=5g/cc

9/24/09 Quiz results were not as magnificent as they could have been. We spent the class period reviewing the concepts of volume and density and took a new quiz.

9/25/09 Generally,  students saw a big improvement between their 2 quizes. Today we practiced more with reading triple beam balances, rulers, and graduated cylinders by

looking at pictures like these:    We also enjoyed several video clips about atoms, molecules, motion of particles, and temperature.

9/28/09  Learning Targets (Written as a journal entry): I can identify the parts of a microscope. I can properly focus a microscope. I can explain evidence for molecular motion using words like molecule, atom, matter, & temperature.
We then drew a diagram of a microscope and labeled the parts. (See "Microscope ws.pdf" below if you were absent and look at "Microscopes.ppt" for the powerpoint we viewed). We examined how microscopes have evolved from th 1500s through the 1990s. We then participated in 3 activities on the "Molecules in Motion Activities.doc" below. Print this out if you were absent and try these activities.
9/30/09 Catch up day. Students worked on BEAMS (Becoming Excited About Math & Science)
10/5/06 We worked on 2 Labs today. Look below for "We're Outta Here" and " The Race is On" 
10/7/09 Journal Entry: Rocks vs. Minerals:  (minerals are chemical substances)
     molten rock         Granite           Feldspar   (These 3 minerals are found in all the rocks on the left in
    from volcanoes      Basalt            Quartz       different quantities and combinations)
                               Gabro             Mica
                                                                    ***There are close to 3,000 different minerals.
     Sedimentary        Limestone                 
     rock formed in      Sandstone                    **Some minerals are a pure element like Gold AU
     lakes and seas                                        **Some minerals are compounds like Quartz Si O2
*All rocks are minerals.  **All minerals are NOT rocks.  **Minerals do not have fossils.
Students received a packet of information about Earth's materials and started a vocabulary list including: minerals, cleavage, fracture, harndess, streak, magma
10/8/2009 Students completed Section 1 of the Earth Materials reading packet on Minerals. The set up a mineral identification chart and began a note-taking worksheet
               to help them extract important information from the text. Topics: The characteristics of all minerals; How to identify minerals by phyical properties; Conditions of mineral formation; Uses of minerals.
10/9/2009 We watched 3 short clips about minerals: A geologist performed a streak test on 15 different  minerals and identified physical properties such as crystalline structure that
               could help students identify minerals. In the next clip a teacher performed scratch tests on several different minerals to determine their hardness on the Moh's Scale. Finally
               students watched a clip explaining the different types of crystal structures. Several students brought in minerals to share.
10/12/2009 As a class we read Section 2 today about Igneous Rocks. Topics: The types of minerals present in most rocks; How and where igneous rocks form (intrusive vs. extrusive); How to classify igneous rocks.
                Minerals that are the first to form in the magma chamber are the most dense and settle at the bottom such as Olivine and Pyroxine. These are associated with layers close to the mantle.
                Minerals that are the last to form are the least dense and float to the top of the magma chamber. Mica and Quartz are at the top and so we find a lot of quartz in the continental crust that we stand on.
             years to cool, causing large crystals to form.
              Extrusive igneous rocks form from lava that cools at the Earth's surface. Rapid cooling causes it to have small or microscopic grains or no grains at all. The minerals in the rock composition are the same as
               for Intrusive Igneous rock such as pyroxine, olivine, and quartz, but the texture is different.
10/14/09   We began with a journal entry that ties igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rock together. We also did a Salt & Sugar lab where we used microscopes to identify crystal structures: Cubic, Hexagonal, Tetragonal,
               Orthorhombic, Monoclinic, & Triclinic systems.
10/15/09   Quiz today on Minerals. After the quiz students self corrected their papers and worked on answering Section 2 questions on the Note-Taking packet.
10/16/09    Students read stories about Minerals and Mining and the environmental impact and about how Diamonds are formed. After their spirit read, they wrote poems using phrases from these readings. Some students
               began working on Section 3: Sedimentary Rocks.
   Today the class completed Section 3. Topics: How and where sedimentary rocks form; How sedimentary rocks give clues about Earth's history; How sedimentary rocks are classified (Detrital, Chemical, & Biochemical). Students completed section 3 of the Note-Taking packet and began creating Bingo cards with their vocabulary from all sections of the Earth Materials chapter. For each Bingo square, they are to create a question the Bingo "caller" can read aloud which  will result in the answer on their card.
10/21/09   Students will read Section 4 on Metamorphic Rock. Topics: The physical conditions that cause metamorphism; Where metamorphism occurs; How metamorphic rocks are classified. After completing the
                note-taking packet, students will complete their BINGO cards and questions so they can play on Friday.
10/22/09   Hike to Malin's Peak: Students can speculate about the composition of continental crust they are standing on. No science class.
10/23/09   Students will play Earth Materials Bingo for several rounds and prepare for a test on Monday on all 4 sections: Minerals, Igneous Rocks, Sedimentary Rocks, and Metamorphic Rocks.
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