Thursday, December 10, 2009

Virtual Textbook

Click here to be taken to a site with chapter reviews with summaries, animations, quizzes and flashcards. NOTE: Since this is not our exact book, there will be some things that we have not covered. Do not freak out about this.

The chapters numbers on this site which relate to what we have studied are:
5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and parts of 25 and 27.

And for something to smile about... Don't be this person, study!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


In class assignment:
page 76: 5, 6, 9, 13
page 77: 14, 15, 16, 20
page 78: 22, 23, 24, 28-34
page 80: all questions
page 81: all questions
page 82: 21
page 83:4
page 84: optional

homework due next class:
read pages 85 and 86
answers all questions on pages 87 & 88
page 89: 1, 5, 6, 7
all questions on page 90.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Disease Progress of HIV

Today (and tomorrow for D and F blocks) will be focusing on the disease progression of HIV as well as watching a mini documentary on living with HIV.

Homework: Complete the study plan worksheet. This is due in class on Friday.
D and F blocks, if you would like to get a head start on this tonight, I will leave the worksheets on the door to our classroom.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Final Exam Essay Questions

You have been emailed the final exam essay questions 2 of these questions will be on your exam. You will not know which questions until you open your exam.

Please do not ask which of the two questions will be on the test.

You may NOT use any notes on the exam.

Your exam is Tuesday December 15 at 8:00 AM (I'm not sure of the location yet).

World AIDS Day: South Africa to treat all HIV positive children

South African President Jacob Zuma, during his World AIDS Day speech, announced that South Africa would provide treatment for all HIV-positive children, a dramatic step forward for a country with the world's highest rate of people diagnosed as HIV positive.

Mr. Zuma's pledge marks a departure from the policies of his predecessor, President Thabo Mbeki, who disputed the scientific evidence linking HIV with AIDS, and who actively discouraged the rollout of antiretroviral treatments to help AIDS patients live longer, more productive lives.

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd in the nation's capital in Tshwane (Pretoria), Zuma compared the fight against AIDS with the struggle for freedom against the white-racist rule of apartheid.

"That time has now come in our struggle to overcome AIDS," Zuma said. "Let us declare now, as we declared then, that we shall not submit." To read the full article, click here.

In an amazing co-incidence, we managed to start our short unit on HIV on World AIDS Day.

Today we focused on the structure of HIV as well as its life cycle. Click here to see the video we watched in class on the life cycle of HIV.

AIDS clock

Monday, November 30, 2009

Skeleton Wrap Up

Today we finished the bones and our skeletons. Tomorrow we will be starting three days on HIV/AIDS and the immune system. Later today I will post a picture of some of the skeletons.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Build a skeleton!

Working in groups of 3 you and your partners will build a skeleton complete with bones and joints. You will even add muscles in select places.

Follow the steps below to help guide you. Your skeleton should be between 1 and 2 meters tall.

  1. Using the bone diagram which you just labeled, you will start by recreating these bones to SCALE on paper. Each time you make a bone, label it!

  1. Once you have cut out and labeled all of the bones, think about what types of joints are found between the bones. NOTE: you do not need to make all of the joints in the hands and feet, nor in the spine. Instead, for example, on the hands, write that there are 27 bones in the hand, these are connected by saddle joints.Use paper clips, string, hole punches or other fasteners of your choice to make the joints move correctly. Remember that ligaments connect bone to bone. This is supposed to be a challenge! Think creatively!

  2. Using red paper, make muscles for the quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps and triceps. Label these muscles, as well as write a brief description of how muscles work.

Monday, November 23, 2009

class in biolab tomorrow

We will have class in our regular room tomorrow. The dance studio is unavailable.

Addiction & and Bones!

Today students took a quiz on the brain and addiction. We spent the latter part of class introducing the skeletal system. Tonight for homework please read sections 36.1 and 36.2. Take notes! You will have a reading quiz.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quiz and Reflection

On Monday you will have a quiz on all of the information we learned last week on the brain and the effects of drugs on the brain. You will have 25 minutes for the quiz, after which we will start on the musculo-skeletal system.

There is an opportunity for extra on!

Write a reflection answering the following questions. Your reflections will be graded (spelling, punctuation, content and thoughtfulness all count!) Your grade on the reflection will replace your lowest quiz grade. You should write about one paragraph for each question and your responses should be typed. I will not accept emailed responses and you need to turn this in during class.

1. Explain what you think were the three most interesting things you learned about the brain and addiction. Why were these things so interesting?

2. Did what you learn in the past week change your perspective on the brain and drugs? Explain why or why not.

3. What additional information would you have liked on this topic? Be detailed

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drugs influence neurotransmitters

Today we examined how various drugs impact neurotransmitters and how the route of drug administration affects a drug user.

Homework: read the information below and take notes. You will have a reading quiz on Friday. I realize it looks like a lot of information, but it's really only equivalent to 4ish pages in your text book.

Basic Science–Health Connection

Drug addiction is a complex brain disease. Preventing drug abuse and addiction and treating the disease effectively require understanding the biological, genetic, social, psychological, and environmental factors that predispose individuals to drug addiction.

Background Information

Individuals make choices to begin using drugs. Some people begin using drugs to relieve a medical condition and then continue to use the drugs after the medical need is over. Children who are depressed or who have a psychiatric disorder sometimes begin using illicit drugs to self-medicate. Other people begin taking drugs to feel pleasure, to escape the pressures of life, or to alter their view of reality. This voluntary initiation into the world of addictive drugs has strongly influenced society's view of drug abuse and drug addiction and their treatment.

When does drug abuse become drug addiction? No one becomes addicted with the first use of a drug. Drug abuse and drug addiction can be thought of as points along a continuum. Any use of a mind-altering drug or the inappropriate use of medication (either prescription or over-the-counter drugs) is drug abuse, but the point when drug abuse becomes drug addiction is less clear. Different drug abusers may reach the point of addiction at different stages. Scientists continue to investigate the factors that cause the switch between the two points.

progression from no drug use to drug abuse and drug addiction
Figure 4.1: The continuum of drug abuse and addiction.

Currently, drug addiction is defined as the continued compulsive use of drugs in spite of adverse health or social consequences.1 Drug addicts have lost control of their drug use. Individuals who are addicted to drugs often become isolated from family or friends, have difficulty at work or school, and become involved with crime and the criminal justice system. For addicts, continuing their drug habit becomes their primary focus in life.

Certain drugs, including opiates and alcohol, cause strong physical reactions in the body when drug use stops. When a heroin addict stops taking heroin, he or she can experience a variety of symptoms ranging from watery eyes and a runny nose to irritability and loss of appetite and then diarrhea, shivering, sweating, abdominal cramps, increased sensitivity to pain, and sleep problems.2 In general, withdrawal from heroin makes the abuser feel miserable. Withdrawal from other drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, does not lead to strong physical reactions. For most drugs, physical withdrawal symptoms can usually be controlled effectively with medications. Even though withdrawal from some drugs does not cause the abuser to have physical reactions, stopping drug use is difficult because of the changes the drugs have caused in the brain. Once the drugs stop, the abuser will have cravings, or intense desire for the drugs.3 Craving arises from the brain's need to maintain a state of homeostasis that now includes the presence of the drug. A person may experience cravings at any stage of drug abuse or addiction, even early in the experimentation phase of drug abuse. Cravings have a physical basis in the brain. Using PET imaging, scientists have shown that just seeing images of drug paraphernalia can stimulate the amygdala (part of the brain that controls memory) in drug addicts.4

Drugs of addiction do not merely cause short-term changes in an individual's cognitive skill and behavior. A drug "high" lasts a short time, ranging from less than an hour to 12 hours, depending on the drug and dose. The changes in the brain that result from continued drug use, however, can last a long time. Scientists believe that some of these changes disappear when drug use stops; some disappear within a short time after drug use stops, and other changes are potentially permanent. One of the first changes in the brain that occurs in response to repeated drug abuse is tolerance. Tolerance develops when a person needs increasing doses of a drug to achieve the same "high" or "rush" that previously resulted from a lower dose of the drug. Two primary mechanisms underlie the development of tolerance.3 First, the body may become more efficient at metabolizing the drug, thereby reducing the amount that enters the bloodstream. Second, the cells of the body and brain may become more resistant to the effect of the drug. For example, after continued cocaine use, neurons decrease the number of dopamine receptors, which results in decreasing cocaine's stimulatory effect. Opiates, on the other hand, do not cause a change in the number of receptors. Instead the opiate receptors become less efficient in activating the second messenger system, thus reducing the effects of the opiates.

Drugs can cause other long-term changes in the anatomy and physiology of the brain's neurons. Alcohol, methamphetamine, and MDMA (Ecstasy) can kill neurons.3 Unlike other types of cells in the body, neurons in many parts of the brain have little or no capability to regenerate. (Recent studies have shown that the adult human brain can generate new neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for learning and memory.5 Other parts of the brain do not show this ability.) Alcohol kills neurons in the part of the brain that helps create new memories. If those neurons die, the capability for learning decreases. Methamphetamine kills dopamine-containing neurons in animals and possibly in humans as well.6 MDMA kills neurons that produce another neurotransmitter called serotonin.7 In addition to neurotoxic effects, drugs can significantly alter the activity of the brain. PET scans of cocaine addicts show that the metabolism of glucose, the primary fuel for cells, is drastically reduced in the brain, and that this decrease in metabolism can last for many months following cessation of drug abuse.8

In addition to the functional and anatomical changes in the brain, drug abuse puts addicts at higher risk for other health problems. For example, inhalant abuse can lead to disruption of heart rhythms, and snorting cocaine can lead to ulcerations in the mucous membranes of the nose. In addition, drug addicts are at increased risk of contracting HIV or AIDS through shared needles. Similarly, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are much more common among drug addicts than the general population. Tuberculosis is another concern. Drug abuse and addiction also are contributing factors in motor vehicle accidents.

Animals as Research Models

Why do scientists study the brains of nonhuman animals? Scientists use animals in research studies because the use of humans is either impossible or unethical. For example, when scientists investigate the effects of drugs of abuse on brain function, either the question they are asking cannot be answered in a living human or it would be inappropriate to give drugs to them.

The use of animals as subjects in scientific research has contributed to many important advances in scientific and medical knowledge. Scientists must analyze the goals of their experiments in order to select an animal species that is appropriate. Scientists often use fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) when they want to learn more about genetics. However, fruit flies are not a very good model if a scientist is investigating muscle physiology; a mouse may be a better model for those experiments. Although scientists strive to develop nonanimal models for research, these models often do not duplicate the complex animal or human body. Continued progress toward a more complete understanding of human and animal health depends on the use of living animals.

Guidelines for the Use of Animals in Scientific Research

Scientists who use animals as research subjects must abide by federal policies that govern the use and care of vertebrate animals in research. The Public Health Service established a policy that dictates specific requirements for animal care and use in research. This policy conforms to the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-158) and applies to all research, research training, biological testing, and other activities that involve animals.14 The principles for using and caring for vertebrate animals in research and testing are as follows:

  • The transportation, care, and use of animals should be in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable federal laws, guidelines, and policies.
  • Procedures involving animals should be designed with consideration of their relevance to human or animal health, the advancement of knowledge, or the good of society.
  • The animals selected should be of an appropriate species and quality and the minimum number required to obtain valid results. Methods such as mathematical models, computer simulation, and in vitro biological systems should be considered.
  • Procedures should minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animals.
  • Procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain should be performed with appropriate sedation, analgesia, or anesthesia.
  • Animals that would suffer severe or chronic pain or distress that cannot be relieved should be painlessly killed.
  • The living conditions of animals should be appropriate for the species. The housing, feeding, and care of animals must be directed by a veterinarian or a trained, experienced scientist.
  • Investigators who work with animals must be appropriately qualified and trained for conducting procedures on living animals.
  • Exceptions to any of these principles must be reviewed and approved by an appropriate committee prior to the procedure.
  • An Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) oversees all animal use in each institution where animal research is conducted. The IACUC must give approval for the research plan and species to be used. IACUCs include both scientists and nonscientists from outside the institution. The nonscientists are often representatives of humane
Information from the NIH's lessons on Drugs, Brain & Behavior.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Neurons & Neurotransmitters

The goal for today was for students to understand the parts of a neuron and understand how signals are transported between neurons.

The major concept for today was: Neurons convey information using electrical and chemical signals.

After reviewing the homework, we moved on to what a neuron looks like and how signals are transported between neurons.Click the picture above to link to the animation that describes the role that electrical and chemical signals and the transmission of signals between neurons.Click the picture above to see how neurotransmitters influence the electrical activity in neurons.

Click on the picture below to link to the animation. You should skip Case A because it doesn't seem that the animation is working properly. You should practice with Cases B, C and D. In order to be successful with this you need the following information:

Dopamine: The neurotransmitter that produces feelings of pleasure when released by the brain in the reward system. Dopamine is inhibitory.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid): The major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain

Glutamate: the most common excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Starting our new section: Drugs, Brain & Behavior

Is this elephant missing a leg?
Today we started our new section on Anatomy & Physiology with the brain. Students completed a "What I know, What I think I know, What I want to know" about the brain & drugs. We focuses on the parts of the brain and their functions. Students examined PET Scans of brains to see how different regions of the brain are responsible for different functions.

1. Finish the complete the activity on interpreting PET Scans, you can link to it here.

Bonus Point:
2. Read the story about Phineas Gage below and answer the two questions at the end of the article.

Phineas Gage Article & Questions

Read this article below and answer the two questions at the end of the article.

Due to an accident while he was working, Phineas Gage made a contribution to the under-standing of how the brain works. In 1848, 25-year old Phineas Gage worked for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad Company laying railroad tracks across Vermont. Before railroad track could be laid, however, the uneven ground needed to be leveled. Gage and coworkers had to drill holes in the stone, put explosive in the holes, cover the explosive with sand, and then use a fuse and tamping iron to trigger an explosion. One day, an accident occurred that changed Gage’s life forever. The explosive went off early sending the tamping iron, which was 1.25 inches in diameter and 43 inches long, shooting into Gage’s face, through his skull and brain, and out the top of his head. The tamping iron landed about 25 yards away. Gage regained consciousness within a few minutes. Amazingly, he not only survived the blast, but he was able to talk and to walk! His coworkers took him to the doctor who cleaned and bandaged the wounds, the standard medical treatment at the time.

Although Gage survived the physical injuries from the blast, he was a changed man. He appeared to be just as intelligent as before the accident, and he did not have any impairment in movement, speech, or memory. But, something was different. Prior to the accident, he was a responsible, intelligent and likeable person. After the accident, he was irresponsible, used profanity extensively, and demonstrated no respect for social customs. His friends commented that “Gage was no longer Gage.” He could not hold the responsible jobs that he had prior to the accident and apparently wandered for the next several years. Phineas Gage ended up in San Francisco in the custody of his family where he died approximately 12 years after the accident.
Twenty years after the accident, the physician who treated Gage correlated the behavioral changes with damage to the frontal region of the brain. At the time, the brain was thought to control language and movement, but the suggestion that the brain functioned to process emotions and social behavior was new. In addition, scientists at the time believed the brain lacked localized functions. Unknowingly, Phineas Gage contributed to our understanding of how the brain processes information.

In the 1990s, scientists used their improved understanding of brain function, computer modeling techniques, and new data from Gage’s skull. Based on this information, they found that the accident damaged both hemispheres of the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain that influences social behavior. Today, physicians see patients with damage to the frontal lobe that has occurred through motor vehicle accidents, gun accidents, or major falls. These individuals, like Phineas Gage, often have dramatic changes in their emotional and decision-making abilities.

1. How did Phineas Gage change after the accident?
2. How did Phineas Gage’s accident change scientists’ understanding of the brain?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cell Cycle & Cancer Test

Today students had their test on the cell cycle and cancer. Yesterday and on Wednesday students presented their cancer flyers and we all learned a lot about different types of cancer, such as:

Kaposi Sarcoma
Bone Cancer
Eye Cancer
Brain Tumors in Adults and in Children
Lung Cancer - Small Cell
Liver Cancer
and many others.

After the test students were given review questions for the final exam. Can you believe we only have 17 more class periods until the final exam?! These review questions are due on Monday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

History of Cancer

Click the image below to link to a timeline on cancer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Types of Cancer Flyers

Today in class students started to work flyers about different types of cancer. The guidelines are posted below and I will put up a sample later today.

G Block: yours is due on Wednesday Nov. 11

D & F blocks: yours is due on Thursday Nov. 12

Go to:

Under “learn about cancer” click choose a topic. No students in the same class may have the same topic.

Here are the guidelines:

1 page

2-3 figures/pictures

Name of your type of cancer:





2-3 key stats

A footer or use footnotes to cite your sources. Print the flyer on the colored sheet of paper you were given in class. You most certainly may embellish your flyer with markers/crayons/colored pencils. You will share this with the class the day it is due.

NOTE: The majority of students in F and G blocks did not remember to bring their computer to class, so they picked their cancer topics and spent the remainder of class reading and answering questions from the "What is Cancer?" packet. If you are in F or G block, please make sure you bring your computer to class on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Welcome Family!

It's family weekend, which means that parents were able to sit in on classes and see what a day in the life of their student is like at TASIS. Yesterday we used an animation from the Nobel Prize Website to examine how the cell cycle is controlled. We also watch a video clip on bacterial replication (called binary fission) and played some trivia on cancer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mitosis & Microscopes

Today students had a "fake" quiz on Mitosis to see how well they know the material. After going over the quiz and last night's homework, students continued to practice finding the stages of mitosis using whitefish blastula and onion root cells.

Homework: None! Enjoy the night off :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Microscopes, Limits to cell size, stages of mitosis

Today students took notes on the three types of microscopes, limits to cell size and the stages of mitosis.
Homework: Complete "Mitosis Homework #1."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Starting Mitosis

Today students examined cells undergoing mitosis. Here's what happens in the cell:

Homework: Read pages 246-248. Draw the stages of mitosis, in order, with labels (centrioles, nuclear envelope, chromatin, centromere and spindle -- where appropriate).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Class Evaluations, Notebooks & a preview of the rest of the semester.

Today students turned in their take home tests and completed a course evaluation. The idea behind doing a course evaluation earlier in the year is so that students have the opportunity to give feedback and hopefully see reasonable changes. I will look at these while we are on academic travel and give you my thoughts in class on Monday.

Here is the evaluation students were asked to complete:

Please answer the questions below honestly. I appreciate your thoughts and am doing this so that I can be a better teacher.

  1. What are three words you would use to describe this class?
  1. How often do you visit the blog?
  1. What are three things you like about my teaching style?
  1. What are three things you think I need to work on? Please explain your answers
  1. If Mr. Ulku-Steiner asked you what this class was like, what would you tell him?
  1. What is the most interesting thing you have learned in this class? Why?
  1. What is the least interesting thing you have learned in this class? Why?
  1. What has been your favorite assignment? Why?
  1. What has been your least favorite assignment? Why?
  1. Any thing else I should know? Write it on the back of the paper.
On Friday, students expressed a need to take time and organize their notebooks (this also became glaringly evident when they began to work on their take home tests). We will use the blog and a sample notebook to help get things in order.

Any remaining time that we have will be used to preview and brainstorm what students know about mitosis, the cell cycle and cancer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snails & Elodea Lab

Today (and tomorrow) we set up the following lab using pond snails and elodea. Note: in our set up we switched tubes C & D. We are examining the relationship between cellular respiration and photosynthesis. We also had a discussion about how to improve experimental design.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take Home Test Due Monday

Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Test

1. Answer the following questions using complete sentences.

2. Do not write on this sheet of paper.

3. TYPE your answers, using Times New Roman Font, size 12, with 1.5 spacing.

1. What is the chemical structure and function of ATP? (5 points)

2. Draw and label a chloroplast, include all structures and say where each phase of photosynthesis takes place. (10 points)

3. What are the two phases for photosynthesis? (2 points)

4. Describe the light dependent reactions in detail. Begin with a photon of light hitting a chlorophyll molecule and finish with the creation of ATP by ATP synthase. (20 points)

5. Draw and label a mitochondria, include all structures and say where each phase of cellular respiration takes place. (10 points).

6. What are the products and reactants of glycolysis?

7. What are the products and reactants of the citric acid cycle?

This is due at the beginning of class on Monday October 26th. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Citric Acid Cycle & ETC

Today we reviewed the citric acid cycle and the ETC. We also listened to a song about the ETC. To see the lyrics, click here.
The Krebs (Citric acid cycle)

The ETC in the inner mitochondrial membrane.

Homework: Read the lab sheet, put it in your lab notebook and update your table of contents.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cellular Respiration

Today we started Cellular Respiration with a little trivia to see what students could infer about the process based on their understanding of photosynthesis and the parts of the cell.

Next students took notes on the overall process and the differences between aerobic and anaerobic respiration.
Tonight for homework read and take notes on pages 221-227. You will have a reading quiz on Tuesday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Calvin Cycle & Photosynthesis

Today we did an overview of the Calvin Cycle and students started the Photosynthesis Mini-Project.

To see the PowerPoint we used in class these past few days, click here.
To see examples of a tour map (one great and one terrible) click here.

    Working with a partner (or in a group of three), you will complete the following two tasks which will be due on Tuesday October 20th. This mini project will count as THREE homework assignments….So….Here is your chance to boost your grade.

Task 1: Create a map of the areas that visitors will see on the trip. Your map should include the following information
  • How will you enter the plant?
  • A labeled drawing of a plant cell (remember, plant cells are different than animal cells. Be sure to look at the diagram on page 175 for details).
  • A close up labeled drawing of a chloroplast

Task 2: Write a script for a tour guide leading trips to the light dependent reactions and the Calvin Cycle. Your script should include the following information

  • The general equation for photosynthesis
  • A detailed explanation of what happens in the electron transport chain
  • The reactants and products (key components) of the electron transport chain.
  • Where the ETC takes place
  • Where the Calvin Cycle takes place
  • What are the reactants and products of the Calvin Cycle
You also need to remember to cite your sources. If you use only your notes include a citation that says "Information from class notes." If you used any other sources, even images from google you need to include the URL.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Electron Trasport Chain in Photosynthesis

For class on Wednesday/Thursday
Today students used a guided notes sheet which focuses on photosynthesis as a redox process, the two stages of photosynthesis and the ETC.

Click the picture below to link to the video we watched in class. Finish watching it and take down the following steps (below the picture) to complete your notes on the electron transport chain.1. A photon of light hits a chlorophyll molecule (creating resonance energy).
2. When energy reaches the reaction center, an electron is released. One photon of light is needed for each electron.
3. Two electrons and two protons go into an electron carrier.
4. Electrons in Photosystem II are replaced by the splitting of water molecules. H+ ions are pumped into the lumen and O2 is released.
5. As electrons move towards Photosystem I, H+ ions are pumped across the thylakoid membrane to the lumen.
6. Electrons reach Photosystem I
7. Photons re-energize electrons
8. Two electrons and a H+ ion are added to NADP+ to form NADPH
9. The gradient of H+ ions is used by ATP Synthase to create ATP
10. The vital products of the electron transport chain are ATP, NADPH and O2

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Intro to Photosynthesis

Today students had a reading quiz on 8-2 after which we went over their tests from yesterday. We started chapter 8 with an overview of photosynthesis.

We watched this song:

Click here
to see a flash version of the poem we read in class. Click here for the images of the earth
"breathing" from SeaWiFS.

Homework: Read and takes notes on section 8-3. You will have a reading quiz next class. Confused about the electron transport chain in the light reactions? Click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Test today and starting Photosynthesis (chapter 8)

Today students had a test on chapter 7 (cells, osmosis and diffusion) and we started chapter 8 (photosynthesis) with some basic notes. Tonight for homework, students need to read and take notes on section 8-2. There will be a reading quiz tomorrow. If you did not finish the notes on 2-1 after the test, you need to finish those for homework.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Endocytosis, Chapter 7 Recap & Grades

Today we finished the chapter 7 packet and played Jeopardy to review. Students also received a grade breakdown. Hopefully this will 'inspire' some students to really study for the

test on Monday!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Osmosis and diffusion lab

Yesterday and today we did the lab below to learn about diffusion and to become familiar with the Vernier probes. There is no homework for tonight.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cell Part Want Ads

Your WANT AD should include a description of the function of the cell part (consult your book to expand on what we talked about in class). You should also include a picture; either hand drawn or printed.

Parts of the cell

Today students were given a packet for chapter 7, which includes a comparison of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, parts of a cell, osmosis and diffusion.

Tonight for homework you will make a Want Ad for a part of the cell.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

D block Lab data

D block, use the lab data for F block to graph. You can see their lab data below, or click here.

On Monday, each student will need to turn in the following information:

1. A table with the class averages for Hot, Cold and Room Temperature bubble height in cm (from part A)

2. A table with the class average for Acid, Base and Neutral bubble height in cm (from part B).

3. A well written paragraph, with complete sentences, which includes three sources of error for the experiment and three ways to improve the experiment.

If you are unsure about what to include for your sources of error you can read this article.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

F Block Lab Data

On Monday, each student will need to turn in the following information:

1. A table with the class averages for Hot, Cold and Room Temperature bubble height in cm (from part A)

2. A table with the class average for Acid, Base and Neutral bubble height in cm (from part B).

3. A well written paragraph, with complete sentences, which includes three sources of error for the experiment and three ways to improve the experiment.

If you are unsure about what to include for your sources of error you can read this article.

Below is the data for you to analyze. You can click on the picture to make it larger.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lab Data for G block

On Monday, each student will need to turn in the following information:

1. A table with the class averages for Hot, Cold and Room Temperature bubble height in cm (from part A)

2. A table with the class average for Acid, Base and Neutral bubble height in cm (from part B).

3. A well written paragraph, with complete sentences, which includes three sources of error for the experiment and three ways to improve the experiment.

If you are unsure about what to include for your sources of error you can read this article.

Below is the data for you to analyze. You can click on the picture to make it larger.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


What do they do? Where are they found? Today we learned about how enzymes work. Later this week we will be doing our first QUANTITATIVE lab and as such, spent a bit of time today going over the procedure.


Read the "Potato Catalase Lab" post below. In your lab notebooks, finish writing part B of the procedure and answer the prelab questions. This is due for your next lab period.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Potato Catalase lab

Investigating the Effects of pH and Temperature on Enzyme Activity

Background: In this lab exercise we’ll investigate some of the properties of enzymes. Almost all chemical reactions that occur in living things are catalyzed by enzymes. Enzymes are large protein molecules (macromolecules) that catalyze or speed up chemical reactions without being altered themselves. Proteins can be just about any size or shape, which is useful since it’s the shape of an enzyme that determines the reactions it can catalyze. However, enzymes are sensitive to changes in temperature and pH, which alter their shapes and can even destroy catalytic ability (denaturing). Enzymes have evolved to work most efficiently at the temperature and pH found in the part of the organism where they are needed. Many enzymes in the human body function most efficiently at 37oC and at a pH of 7.4.

The enzyme you will investigate is called catalase. Catalase is found in tissues of many organisms (both plants and animals) because it plays a very important role in protecting cells. Its purpose is to destroy toxic substances which may be introduced into cells. Also, some cells use catalase to destroy cellular debris or worn out organelles. Hydrogen peroxide is a normal by-product of cellular metabolism but, it is also toxic to cells. Under normal conditions organisms produce the enzyme catalase that quickly changes hydrogen peroxide into two harmless substances, oxygen and water. However, the function of the enzyme is affected by changes in the environment. Catalase works to break down hydrogen peroxide by the following chemical reaction:

2 H2O2 ------------------>2 H2O+ O2


Purpose: What is the effect of altering the pH on the function of catalase?

Pre Lab Questions (ANSWER IN COMPLETE SENTENCES IN YOUR LAB NOTEBOOK. This answers should be directly below the procedure that you worked on in class).

1. What is catalase and where is it found in living organisms?
2. What reaction does
catalase speed up (catalyze)?
3. Write the correct chemical reaction for hydrogen peroxide being catalysed into water and oxygen.
4. What is the substrate in the chemical reaction?
5. What are the products in the chemical reaction when
catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide?
6. Write hypotheses for how you think changes in pH AND temperature will affect the action of the
catalase enzyme in the potato.
Hypothesis for change in pH.
Hypothesis for change in temperature:


  • 0.1 M HCl (hydrochloric acid)
  • 0.1 M NaOH (sodium hydroxide)
  • 6 large test tubes
  • test tube rack
  • hot water bath
  • ice bath
  • 10ml graduated cylinder
  • 100ml beaker
  • Transfer pipet
  • 3.0% H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide)
  • test tube holders (for hot water bath)
  • Safety glasses
  • Potatoes
  • Ruler

Safety: HCl and NaOH are strong acids and bases. If you spill these chemicals on your skin, immediately wash in running water. Wear safety glasses at all times. Be careful of hot water and hot plates.

Part A:

1. Label 3 large test tubes hot, cold and room temp.
2. Cut 3 1.5cm3 pieces of potato with peel removed.
3. Use a mortar and pestle to macerate (mash/grind up) each cube.
4. Place ALL of the macerated potato cubes into each labeled test tube.
5. Add 1ml of distilled water to each test tube containing potato mash.
6. Place the test tube labeled hot in the hot water (100oC) bath for 3 minutes.
7. Place the test tube labeled cold in the cold water bath (0-4oC) for 3 minutes.
8. Leave the test tube labeled room temperature in the test tube rack.
9. After 3 minutes, remove the test tube from the baths and allow the hot test tube to cool.
10. Add 5ml of H2O2 (3.0% hydrogen peroxide) to each tube.
11. Wait one minute while reaction occurs then measure the height of the bubbles in each tube in cm.
12. Record in Table 1. Measure the radius of the test tube and record in Table 1.

Part B:

1. Label 3 test tubes acid, base and water.
2. Cut 3 1.5cm3 pieces of potato with peel removed.
3. Use a mortar and pestle to macerate (mash/grind up) each cube.
4. Place ALL of the macerated potato cubes into each labeled test tube.
5. Add 1ml of 0.1M HCl (hydrochloric acid) to the tube labeled acid. Gently mix contents with wooden or glass rods. SEE SAFETY NOTE ABOVE.
6. Test the pH of the solution by dropping a small amount of liquid onto a pH strip. Record in Data Table 2.
7. Add 1ml of 0.1M NaOH (sodium hydroxide) to the tube labeled base. Gently mix contents with wooden or glass rod. SEE SAFETY NOTE ABOVE.
8. Test the pH of the solution by dropping a small amount of liquid onto a pH strip. Record in Data Table 2.
9. Add 1ml of water to the tube labeled water. Mix contents by gently swirling. Test the pH of the solution by dropping a small amount of liquid onto a pH strip. Record in Data Table 2.
10. Wait 3 minutes then add 5ml of 3%H2O2 to each tube.
11. Wait 1 minute for reaction to occur, then measure and record the height of the bubbles in cm.
12. Record in Table 2. Measure the radius of the test tube and record in Table 2.

This lab is borrowed from EDCC

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quiz Monday

This is a reminder that you have a quiz on Monday. Sections 2.1-2.3 (pages 35-48). You can NOT use any notes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Today students had a reading quiz on section 2-3. After going over the quiz students were given a worksheet on the types of Macromolecules. We didn't get a chance to talk about food pyramids around the world, but hopefully we will get a chance with Thursday's classes.

Homework: Review the PowerPoint below with the information about the lab for Friday. Before coming to class on Friday you should fill the in the table of contents in the lab section of your notebook with the following information:

Date: 24 September
Title: What's in your food?
Partner: (leave blank for now)
Page: 5

On page 5 in your notebook (a sheet of notebook paper) copy down the table from the slide titled "Background Information" (this is slide number 6).

A note about testing for lipids: We may not have Sudan IV solution, so we may be doing the less glamorous "paper towel test."

Please also bring a food you would like to test.

Lab Procedure

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

pH and intro to carbon

We started class today with a reading quiz on 2-2. Students then did a quick lab activity where they needed to determine the pH of eight unknown substances.

The last 15 minutes of class were spent starting section 2-3. Students were given a guided notes sheet.
Homework for tonight: (due the next time your class meets) Read the rest of section 2-3 and take notes. YOU WILL HAVE A READING QUIZ.

On Friday a summary report (1 per group) is due. The summary report can be any of the following:
  • Make a Venn diagram and fill in the names or draw pictures of the items that were in each of the solutions in the correct section in the diagram and write the properties in the correct section. (See example below.)

  • Write a brief report about acids, bases, and neutrals in paragraph form and include examples from the testing lab.

  • Draw a concept map or word web comparing and contrasting acids and bases and add descriptive words and examples. (See example below.)
  • Create a narrative poem, song, or story about the acid, base and neutral solutions and describe their properties.

  • Your summary report must also include the answers to the following questions:
    1. What is the pH of human blood?
    2. What is the pH of stomach acid?
    3. What are antacids and how do they work?

    Bonus point opportunity: If you find the actual pH's of all 8 substances, you can earn a bonus on your summary report.

    Monday, September 21, 2009

    Reviewing Tests & Starting Chapter 2

    Today we spent about 20 minutes reviewing the first test of the year. Afterwards we moved on to chapter 2: The Nature of Matter.

    From now on I will do my best to have guided notes sheets for students to use in class. Hopefully this will help students to have more organized notes and enable them to study more effectively.

    We watched this clip comparing ionic and covalent bonding.

    We also watched a clip from the Discovery channel on Kennewick Man and the role that radioactive carbon dating played in discovering the age of this mysterious man.

    Homework: Read section 2-2 (pages 40-43). Take notes that include the key concepts and vocabulary. You will have a reading quiz tomorrow.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Test Today & Grade Weighting Update

    Today students had a test on Chapter 1. Next week we will be moving on to the basic chemistry for biology.

    There has also been a change in the weighting of assignments. Tests are now worth 20% (instead of 30%) and classwork/participation is worth 10%.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    H1N1 discussion

    Yesterday and today students discussed the articles they found on H1N1. Students worked in small groups to present their articles and practice active note taking. After each group member shared, the class came together to share key points from the discussion groups. There were several terms (such as pandemic, epidemic, immunization and virus) that were mentioned in most articles. To help explain these concepts students watched animations and video clips to further their understanding.

    Click here to see the video from Discovery Science to see just how far germs from a cough can travel.

    Click here to see the animation from UK NHS on the importance of immunization as a way to stop the spread of disease.

    Click here to see the life cycle of a virus from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Below is the video clip we watched to explain the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic.


    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    H1N1 Homework

    Today in class we did the onion & cheek cell lab (see post below). For your next class period (G block is due Wednesday September 16th, F and D blocks this assignment is due Thursday September 17th), complete the following. Your assignment may either be typed or handwritten, however you may NOT email it to me.

    1. Find an article on H1N1 (swine flu).
    Places to look for articles include: Science Daily, TIME magazine, International Herald Tribune, and the BBC

    2. Read it.

    3. Write a summary IN YOUR OWN WORDS on the article.

    4. Include a proper MLA citation for your article.
    To cite a website write down the following information:

    Author last name, author first name. "Title of the article." Name of the website. Year the article was published. Name of the organization. Date you read the article. The url for the website.

    5. Be prepared to present your article to the class.


    Ms. Saxe
    -- Period
    15 September
    Summary for

    Swine Flu: To Panic Or Not -- That Is The Question

    In an effort to clear up all the misinformation surrounding H1N1, Dr. Sutker, of Baylor University Medical Center, gave five overarching facts about swine flu. These facts included that swine flu IS treatable with Tamiflu and Relenza which one can get with a prescription. So far only 40 individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with swine flu, compared with 5-20% of the population that contracts influenza A/B each year. Lastly, "you can not get swine flu from eating pork products." In the second part of the article Dr. Sutker offered tips to prevent the spread of infection. These tips, such as frequent hand washing, covering your cough and seeing a doctor if you think you are infected, apply not only to swine flu but for all infectious diseases. Hopefully this information will clear up much of the panic about H1N1.

    Citation: Baylor Health Care System. "Swine Flu: To Panic Or Not -- That Is The Question." ScienceDaily 30 April 2009. 15 September 2009 /releases/2009/04/090429144956.htm>.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Lab 1: Making Wet Mount Slides

    You are to read the following procedure for homework today (Monday September 14). You will have a prelab quiz. You may use any notes you take HOWEVER, the notes must be in your handwriting. You do not need to print a copy of the lab.

    Today we will make slides of 2 different types cells and look at them under the microscope:

    1. Onion skin cells
    2. Human cheek cells

    Onion skin cells

    1. Add 2 drops of iodine to the center of a glass slide. Be careful! Iodine can stain your clothes.

    2. Take a small piece of onion. Use tweezers to peel off the skin from the underside (the rough, white side) of the onion. Throw the rest of the onion piece away.

    3. Carefully lay the onion skin flat in the center of the slide on top of the iodine.

    4. Add 2 drops of iodine to the top of the onion skin.

    5. Stand a thin glass cover slip on its edge near the onion skin, next to the drop of iodine.

    6. Slowly lower the other side of the cover slip until it covers the onion skin completely. If there are air bubbles, gently tap on the glass to “chase” them out.

    7. Make sure the lowest power lens (the shortest lens) is in place over the stage and the microscope light is turned on. Place the slide onto the stage of the microscope.

    8. Look through the eyepiece and turn the coarse focus knob (the largest knob) until an image comes into focus. It should look like a brick wall or like lizard skin.

    9. Now use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to make the image as focused as possible.

    10. In your lab notebook, draw a picture of what you see. Label the picture “Onion skin cells 40x”. Label as many parts of the cell as you can see.

    11. Looking from the SIDE of the microscope, NOT through the eyepiece, rotate the lenses to the next highest powered lens (100x). If you need to, use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to get the image into focus. DO NOT USE THE LARGE KNOB!! You may see a small dot in the middle of each cell.

    12. Again, looking from the SIDE of the microscope, rotate the lenses to the highest powered lens (400x). If you need to, use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to get the image into focus. You should see a dark blob in the middle of each cell.

    13. In your lab notebook, draw a picture of what you see. Label the picture “Onion skin cells 400x”. Label as many parts of the cell as you can see.

    14. Switch to the lowest power lens and THEN remove the slide. Set it aside for now.

    Human Cheek Cells

    1. Add one drop of methylene blue to the middle of a clean slide. Be careful! Methylene blue will stain your clothes and skin.

    2. Use the flat side of a toothpick to gently scratch the inside of your cheek. DO NOT GOUGE YOUR CHEEK - you don’t need chunks of skin and definitely don’t want to draw blood.

    3. Gently touch the toothpick to the drop of dye on the slide. Some of your cheek cells should drift off into the dye.

    4. Throw the toothpick away.

    5. Stand a thin glass cover slip on its edge near the drop of dye.

    6. Slowly lower the other side of the cover slip until it covers the dye completely. Make sure there are no air bubbles.

    7. Make sure the lowest power lens (the shortest lens) is in place over the stage. Place the slide onto the stage of the microscope.

    8. Look through the eyepiece and turn the coarse focus knob (the largest knob) until an image comes into focus. It should look like scattered blobs. Move the slide around until a nice cluster of blobs moves into the center of your image.

    9. Use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to make the image as focused as possible.

    10. In your lab notebook, draw a picture of what you see. Label the picture “Human cheek cells 40x”. Label as many parts of the cell as you can see.

    11. Looking from the SIDE of the microscope, NOT through the eyepiece, rotate the lenses to the 100x lens. If you need to, use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to get the image into focus.

    12. Again, looking from the SIDE of the microscope, rotate the lenses to the 400x lens. If you need to, use the fine focus knob (the smallest knob) to get the image into focus.

    13. In your lab notebook, draw a picture of what you see. Label the picture “Human cheek cells 400x”. Label as many parts of the cell as you can see.

    Switch to the lowest power lens and THEN remove the slide.