Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Membranes, Membranes, Membranes

We started today with a review of what we talked about yesterday (ATP, phosphorylation, how a protein is formed) before moving forward. Through the beauty of YouTube we watched several short clips that summed up the information in various sections in the book.

C Block: For Lab tomorrow you need to take notes on the osmosis animations seen here. These notes should go in your class notebook (this is the material we did not get to today).

5.10 Membranes organize the chemical activities of cells
5.11 Membrane phospholipids form a bilayer
5.12 The membrane is a fluid mosaic of phospholipids & proteins

5.14 Passive transport is diffusion across a membrane

5.13 Proteins make the membrane a mosaic of function
5.17 Transport proteins facilitate diffusion across membranes

Lastly we used these animations (click the picture to be taken to the link) to learn about osmosis, hypertonic, hypotonic and isotonic solutions (sections 5.15 and 5.16)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chapter 4 Wrap Up & Starting Chapter 5

Today we wrapped up chapter 4 by looking at how ribosomes make proteins (click the picture to be taken to the animation we watched in class).

We moved onto chapter 5 and here's a list that D block came up with for all the things they learned (not bad for only one class)

Types of energy, Endergonic reactions, Exergonic reactions, Laws of thermodynamics, What ATP is, Role of ribosomes, Enzymes lower activation energy, Energy coupling, What a fever is, Dephosphorylizaton, How a protein is formed, Structure of ATP, What a mutation is, tRNA v. mRNA, Ribosomes have 2 subunits, What sickle cell anemia is.

Homework for all classes due tomorrow: Read sections 5.8 and 5.9. Research and find an example of an enzyme inhibitor. Write down your example and how it works, bring this to class.
A bonus point will be given if nobody in the class has the same inhibitor as you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Laboratory Week 3

Monday (for A and D blocks):
I will be collecting your lab notebooks, so make sure that you have an updated table of contents, data tables for the experiment and have written the answers to all of the questions on pages 9-11 from the lab packet in your notebook. (If you make the graph in excel, print it out and tape it into your lab notebook).

Here is the lab data for A block (click on the image to make it larger)

Here is the lab data for D block (click on the image to make it larger)Because we had to rush, if you did not have a chance to write in the purpose/procedure here it is. Generally you will read the lab before coming to class and come up with your own purpose etc.

Title: The Properties of Enzymes: A study of catalase
Purpose: Potato catalase and hydrogran peroixde will be used to explore the relationship between enzymes and substrates at various concentrations.
Procedures: See pages 7 & 8 of the student section of the Cornell Inst. for Biology Teachers, "The Properties of Enzymes: A study of catalase" (c) (2000).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Want Ads and Review of Ch. 4

Note: A block missed this class because of House Trips (hence why there is no post from Thursday September 25th).

Today students learned about cell to cell junctions (tight, adhering and gap). Most of the class was spent creating want ads for cells. Below are some of what people came up with. See if you can guess what they are looking for (answers are at the bottom of this post).

1. Are you rough, tough and full of good stuff? (Ribosomes that is). We are looking for workers who can make things like proteins or even more membrane.

2. WANTED: Someone who loves the sun. If tanning is your thing this, my dear friend, is for you. Chill in the sun and help your community at the same time! A little photosynthesis here and there and all's good. Who said it wasn't easy being green?

3. New D Block Chapter of F.A.D.S. (Fibers Against Droopy Cells). A comprehensive and empowering support group. Come and help the fight. All welcome. President: Mr. Microfilament, V.President: Mrs. Intermediate Filament, Secretary: Mr. Microtubule.

Answers to the want ads:
1. The Rough ER
2. Chloroplasts
3. The Cytoskeleton

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Laboratory Week 3 - C Block Data

Here is the data that C block collected today. Click on the image to make it larger. See the post below for the details of what you need to have in your lab notebook for Friday.

Laboratory Week 3

Catalytic Activity of Enzymes

The video below gives an overview of what we are doing this week in lab. Instead of having closed tubes that force a liquid to rise we will be using filter paper disks. Note the connection between pH and the effectiveness of enzymes.

Due on Friday (for C block) and on Monday (for A and D blocks):
I will be collecting your lab notebooks, so make sure that you have an updated table of contents, data tables for the experiment and have written the answers to all of the questions on pages 9-11 from the lab packet in your notebook. (If you make the graph in excel, print it out and tape it into your lab notebook).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Intro to Cells

Today we learned about three different types of microscopes (light, SEM and TEM). After a brief talk about how to use a scope, students practiced looking at various cell types and making observations.
Picture of the epithelial cells of a clam gill (just like we looked at today!)

Homework: Read chapter 4 and complete the More than a Membrane worksheets (these were emailed to you). This counts as a double homework. D and C blocks this is due on Friday. A block because you don't meet on Thursday it is due on Saturday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mental Inventory

Today students had a test on chapters 2 and 3. Tomorrow we will begin discussing and looking at cells (chapter 4).

Give your brain a rest tonight (there's no homework).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Macromolecule Presentations

Today and tomorrow students will be giving their macromolecule PowerPoint Presentations. Please bring the blue rubric sheet to class with you.

(the cartoon reads: "I sort of thought your presentation was going to be in PowerPoint.")

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Laboratory Week 2

Note: This post is for Wednesday and Saturday Labs.

What is the relationship between CO2 and plants? How would you conduct an experiment to test this relationship? Does this have anything to do with what's going on in the world right now?

This week in lab students will be learning how to set up their lab notebooks, planting some seeds for their experiment.

Setting up the lab notebook.
Students will follow the guidelines below to set up their notebooks. Each page should follow the format below. Lab notebooks will be checked on a regular basis. Click on the picture to open in a new window and make it larger.

Homework for next week lab period: Find an article from the past 12 months on CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Write an abstract for this article. You do not need to print out the article but you do need to have an MLA citation for it included in your abstract.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Acceptable Sources & Citations for Your Project

Today students worked on their projects and asked some of these questions:

Question: Can we use wikipedia?
Answer: No!

Question: What can we use?
Answer: Lots of other things, url's that end in ".edu" tend to be good because they are from educational institutions. See if you can find an author, make sure this site isn't some kid's middle school project.

Question: How do we cite things?
Answer: One option is to use citation machine another option is to look up how you do it using ONLINE! Citation Styles

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quiz Results & Class Tomorrow

I have graded your first quiz and here are the class averages:

A block: 87%
C block: 84%
D block: 80%

Please remember to bring your book to class as well as one laptop per group. If nobody in your group has a laptop, arrangements can be made so that you can use one.

Macromolecules Guiding Questions

Below are the guiding questions for each section of the project. Click on the image to open it in a new window.


After a short quiz to wrap up chemistry and chapter 2, students were introduced to chapter 3 on the molecules of life. Rather than have me lecture on the material, students will teach each other. Each group will need to have a handout, visual and give an 8 minute oral explanation of one of the sections below. Students have been given a list of key points to address in each section as well as a rubric for their projects. A block will present their lessons on Thursday (9.18) and D and C blocks will present on Friday (9.19).

Sections & Topics:

Carbohydrates: 3.4, 3.5, 3.7

Fats: 3.8, 3.9

Proteins: 3.11, 3.12, 3.13

Protein shape: 3.14, 3.15, 3.16, 3.17, 3.18

Nucleic acids: 3.20, 10.2, 10.3

Homework: Work on your project.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Lab

Saturday's lab did the same thing as Wednesday, for details, click here.

Remember, you have a quiz on Monday. Also, please bring your textbook to class on Monday as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Organic Chemistry

Note: This post is for A block on 9.11.08 as well as D and C blocks on 9.12.08

By the end of the class students should be able to:
1. Identify the characteristics of life
2. Identify an organic compound
3. Name organic compounds
4. Identify functional groups

Homework: This homework is due at your next class meeting.

Read about the seven functional groups we talked about in class here.
For Example: You are responsible for knowing that the Hydryoxyl Group (OH)
  • are compounds containing -OH and are alcohols. Eg. ethanol, sugars, phenol
  • -OH group is polar. Therefore such compounds dissolve in water (sugars)
Create a study tool of your choice to help you to learn these groups for the quiz you will be taking on Monday in class. The quiz will be on any thing we have talked about thus far (questions will come from chapter 1, chapter 2 and sections 3.1 and 3.2).

Check out these links for help:
Understanding the names of organic compounds
Alkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes
Matching Organic Functional Groups

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Lab Period

For C block (A and D block will do this on Saturday)

This week we will not be doing a lab, instead we will be doing the following:

1. Watch the lab safety video
2. Handout the lab safety contract
3. Take a tour of the lab and point out all the safety equipment, as well as how to carry a microscope.
4. Do a worksheet identifying controls, variables and review experimental design.
5. Discuss the difference between sharing data and plagiarism.

1. Read and sign the lab safety contract
2. Purchase (if you haven't already) a bound, marble lab notebook. Bring this to the next class.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Overview of Chapter 1 and Chemistry Review

Today we spent 15 minutes answering questions from chapter one (mainly on the difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes as well as the difference between food webs and chains).

Students completed a chemistry reivew (see below)

  1. Does having a basic understanding of chemistry help when it comes to learning biology? Explain your answer using no more than 5 sentences.
  1. What six elements are most common in living matter? (2.2)
  1. List any three compounds in the human body. (2.3)
  1. Explain and give an example of an isotope. (2.4)
  1. How many covalent bonds does H, O, N, C and S make? (2.6)
  1. Draw the electron configuration for the following elements: Na & Cl. (2.6/2.7)
  1. Explain and give an example of an ionic bond. (2.7)
  1. Explain and give an example of a covalent bond. (2.8)
  1. What is chemically nonsensical about this structure? (2.8) H---C==C----H
  1. Water is kind of a big deal in biology. Tell me everything that you know about water that you consider relevant. (2.9-2.14)

11. Based on what you know about pH, make a prediction about the role that pH plays in living systems. (2.15-2.16)

12. The relationship between structure and function is a theme that is central in biology. Describe the relationship between structure and function using any molecule of your choice.

We discussed the importance of spring turnover in aquatic ecosystems and what happens when a thermocline occurs as well as what happens at the molecular level for acid reflux.

Homework: (all blocks) If there were any questions that you are still having trouble with look at that section in the book. The numbers parentheses at the end of the question correspond to the section in the book.

C block: you do NOT need to wear closed toed shoes to lab tomorrow. All other labs you will need to wear closed toed shoes.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today we only had 20 minute block classes and used this time for introductions and to go over the syllabus as well as other some other class details.

Homework: (all blocks)
1. Read the syllabus and post a comment with your first name, last initial and block.
2. Read chapter 1 in your book, come prepared with any questions for class tomorrow. Chapter 1 is an overview of biology.

Note: You do not need to bring your book to class unless it you are asked to do so.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Syllabus for Biology


Instructor: Ms. Saxe
Office Hours: (see below)

Required Materials:

1.Textbook: Biology Concepts and Connections Campbell, Reece, Mitchell and Taylor 4th Edition. New or used book is fine.

2. Lab Notebook: A marble bound notebook with graph paper. If you can not find one with graph paper, regular lined paper is acceptable. This should be separate from the notebook you use for class. Format will be outlined.

3. Class Notebook: A three ring binder (1”-2” is the best). This notebook is for biology only and you will be keeping all of your work for the entire year in this notebook. Please do not ask if you can throw things out. You must also have a table of contents.

Basis for your Marking Period Grade in this course - Evaluation:

The grade you earn in this course will be determined by the quality of your work in the following areas:

1. Laboratory Reports and your technique/understanding in the Lab

2. Chapter and/or Unit Tests - usually given every other week

3. Special Projects

4. Class participation and preparedness

5. Homework & Quizzes

The weights for each section will be posted in the right sidebar by 9.10.08

NOTE: Students should familiarize themselves with the Division’s study skill strategies. This information is described on the second page of your Academic Calendar. Students are also expected to do all their work in accordance with the SPS Honor Code which is posted in all classrooms and in school buildings.


Homework: Homework will be incorporated into the following day’s class. A late assignment defeats the purpose of completing it. Therefore, late homework will not be accepted and will be graded as a zero.

Make-up Work: You are responsible for obtaining missed assignments. If you know in you will be missing class for co-curriculars, an appointment etc. you should notify me in advance.

Late Work Policy: As previously stated, late homework is not accepted. The late project policy will be posted when a project is due.

Extensions: Extensions will not be given except in the event of extenuating circumstances, so plan your time wisely.

Bags: Attendance is mandatory at all class meetings. Additionally, if you are 10 minutes late (or more) to class you will receive a bag.

Class participation: In order to make the most progress in this class you will need to participate actively. Participating in class not only means sharing your ideas but also coming prepared and on time.

Office Hours: I do not have regularly scheduled office hours. If you need help please email me and we will find a time that works for both of us. Please do not come in and say “I don’t get it,” rather bring specific questions. Also note that asking “what will be on the test” is not an appropriate use of office hours.

Class Rules:


· BE PREPARED! Bring the your notebook, highlighters and pens/pencils each day. I do not require that you bring the textbook every day. If you need it, I will post it on the blog.

· BE PRESENT! Both in mind and body. Showing up for class doesn’t mean much if you are daydreaming.

· If you bag class on the day of a test or quiz you will receive a zero.

· As soon as you need extra help, come find me. Don’t wait!

· NO eating or chewing gum in class. You may bring water.

Lab Expectations:

There is no food or drinks (including water) allowed in the lab at any time.

Your lab grade will be based on:

  1. Preparation: You need to read and understand any materials prior to coming to lab.
  2. Pre-Lab: You may be required to write a pre-lab. Failure to complete this will mean that you are unable to participate in the lab and will receive a zero.
  3. Lab Procedure and Conduct: You are expected to stay on task and work carefully throughout the lab.
  4. Results: Careful work should lead to accurate results. Results should be obtained individually or within a lab group. “Borrowing” another lab group’s results is a form of plagiarism and the matter will be dealt with through the academic studies office.
  5. Lab Reports: When assigned, the write-ups will be due shortly after the lab is finished. Lab reports can count as a homework, quiz or test grade. Students will know in advance what the lab will count for.
Once you have read the syllabus, click on "comments" to sign your name, acknowledging that you have read this. Additionally, please write what block you are in. For example, I if were a student in A block, I would write:

Ilana S. , A block