Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Plan for the rest of the week

Today we will be finishing the macromolecules lab and starting to learn about enzymes. On Friday we will do a mini lab looking at the effects of temperature on enzyme function. On TUESDAY you will have a test on Chapter 2.

Homework: Click through the PowerPoint below. Write the procedure for Friday's lab in your notebook.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Testing for Macromolecules

Today we started testing various foods for macromolecules. Tomorrow (or Thursday) we will continue testing and wrap up the experiment.

Homework: none.

Click the picture to read about what we did in class and for more information on macromolecules in food.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You will need to check your TASIS email for the class ID and password to join

You can read a sample lab report here. NOTE: The discussion in that sample lab report is not long enough. It's only a little bit more than half a page, with 1.5 spacing. Your discussion needs to be an entire page.

In case you forgot to read what a discussion should include, read the excerpt from the Colby College Guide to Writing Scientific Papers, below.

Here, the researcher interprets the data in terms of any patterns that were observed, any relationships among experimental variables that are important and any correlations between variables that are discernible. The author should include any explanations of how the results differed from those hypothesized, or how the results were either different from or similar to those of any related experiments performed by other researchers. Remember that experiments do not always need to show major differences or trends to be important. "Negative" results also need to be explained and may represent something important--perhaps a new or changed focus for your research.

A useful strategy in discussing your experiment is to relate your specific results back to the broad theoretical context presented in the Introduction. Since your Introduction went from the general to a specific question, going from the specific back to the general will help to tie your ideas and arguments together.

Remember that your discussion should have a title that follows the guidelines we talked about in class. I don't want to read anything titled "Salty Pea Lab."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Properties of Water

Today we learned about many of the properties of water. For homework, you need to read section 2.3 and take notes for a reading quiz.

Just a reminder that your discussion is due on Friday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeds and Salt Wrap Up

Today we wrapped up the seeds and salt experiment. We talked about how to present data and interpret it. One Friday you will need to turn in a one page discussion of your results. Read about what is included in a scientific discussion here.

Guidelines for writing your discussion:
It should be typed, using size 12 Time New Roman Font, with 1.5 spacing.
It should only be one full page.
You must bring a printed copy to class AND submit a copy to (we will go over this in class on Tuesday).
Late work will NOT be accepted.

Homework Due Tomorrow:
Read section 2-2 and take notes for a reading quiz.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Nature of Matter (starting chapter 2)

NOTE: This post is for Thursday and Friday because on Friday we are running a Wednesday schedule.

Today students collected data from their pea experiments. Some of the peas have started to germinate! After collecting the data and talking about the feasibility of collecting data everyday, we moved on to start chapter 2: The Nature of Matter.

Students were given a guided notes sheet to help organize their notes. We watched a short video clip on carbon dating. Click here to see it.


Watch the video clip below and use the information to complete the table in your notes packet that compares ionic and covalent bonding.

After watching the video, finish reading section 2-1 in your book to complete the questions on Van der Waals forces etc. You also need to finish the check-in questions for homework. You should use all of section 2-1 (pages 35-39) in your book to help you review.

This is due on Monday.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Designing an Experiment

Today students had a pop quiz on the reading assigned for homework as well as the controls and variables material they learned last week.

After the quiz, we looked at the blog (see post below) to look back at what was required to properly complete the homework. Many students then realized that they did not follow the directions properly, especially where they needed to have five test groups and five samples. In this one instance, that's actually OK, as it is a helpful teaching tool to understand what it means to follow directions and have a strong experimental design.

We worked as a class to come up with the following set up.

Hypothesis: If seeds are placed in various concentrations of NaCl then there will be variation in the rate of growth.

Independent Variable: [NaCl]

Dependent Variable: change in mass of seed

Set up:Figure 1: The red dots represent seeds, which were placed in the center of a 9cm Petri Dish (in F block, a 5.2cm Petri dish was suggested).

Group 1: The control group. 20ml of distilled water is added to the petri dish.

Experimental Groups (* the salt concentrations were different in each class * make sure you write the correct concentration for your class).

Group 2:
Group 3:
Group 4:
Group 5:

Homework, due tomorrow, 2 parts:

PART 1: Complete the rest of the experimental set up. Important questions to think about are:
* What will your light source be? How close will the plants be to the light? How can do make sure all the plants receive equal light?

* How often will you collect data?

* Water evaporates. What will you do to compensate for this?

PART 2: Make a data table that you could use to record your data from this experiment. You do not need to create data, just make the table.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Controls and Variables & Designing an Experiment

Today, with the help of the Simpsons, we learned about controls, variables and better ways to design an experiment.

On Monday you will need to turn in your experimental design planning sheet.

First read about the experimental method here.

Second complete the planning sheet. BE DETAILED! One experimental design will be chosen from each period for us to do in class. What's your incentive for having a good design? Aside from bragging rights, you will receive a rare homework pass which will excuse you from a homework.

A few reminders about your experiments:

1. We must be able to do the experiment in class.

2. The experiment should not take more than 3 class periods, including data analysis.

3. Look at the class schedule and remember that we have class hikes next week, so the schedule is:
Monday- Tuesday-Hikes- Thursday-Wednesday.

4. No organism with a spinal cord may be used.

5. We are not finding a cure for a disease, the purpose of this is to practice experimental design.

6. It must be a controlled experiment

7. You should have four test groups (and a control group) and each test should be done at least five times.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today we started working with microscopes. After reviewing the parts of the microscope, students practiced looking at different tissue samples, drawing them and viewing the samples under various powers.

Homework: none.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Characteristics of living things & Graphing

What are the characteristics of living things? We all know that a computer isn't alive, but what about viruses? Why aren't viruses considered by many scientists to be 'non-living.'

After tackling the characteristics of living things, we moved on to another important science skill: the ability to interpret data. This is something we will be doing all year long.

Homework: Finish the graphing practice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Day of School Homework

So that I know that YOU know where the blog is and that you can check it,
click on your name. Your only homework for tonight is to write down
the website that your name links to.

D Block


F block

G Block

Welcome to Biology

Hopefully you have gotten over your initial confusion of being asked, "what sound does a raisin make."

This blog will be a place for you to find out about homework, connect with other websites that can help you prepare for tests and keep you on track in class.

Please check it nightly.

Biology is the branch of science devoted to the study of life. The course starts with building an understanding of the scientific method before moving on to investigating the cell and energy processes at the cellular and system levels. Moving forward we will delve into cellular reproduction, genetics and cancer. At last we will focus on evolution, populations and the environment. Throughout this course students will work on the following four sets of scientific inquiry skills:

A. Make observations, raise questions, and formulate hypotheses.

B. Design and conduct scientific investigations.

C. Analyze and interpret results of scientific investigations.

D. Communicate and apply the results of scientific investigations.

Office Hours: By appointment only. The best way to set up a time for extra help is by email, I can be reached at


Homework 15% Tests/Projects 30%

Quizzes 15% Lab work 15%

Semester grade: Coursework…..75% Final Exam……25%

Year grade: 1st semester…..45% 2nd semester...…55%


Homework: Homework will be assigned almost every night and 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. Assignments include, but are not limited to: worksheets; problem sets; readings; preparing for a discussion/presentation etc.

Make-up Work: You are responsible for obtaining missed assignments. If you know in advance you will be missing class for co-curriculars, an appointment etc. you should notify me in advance at least 2 days in advance.

Late Work Policy: As previously stated, late homework is not accepted. Late projects will be accepted up to three calendar days after the due date. However, each day that the project is late, 10% of the grade will be lost. After the third day the project will no longer be accepted.

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

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory at all class meetings. You are expected to arrive on time in be in your seat with your homework and your notebook on your desk. A pattern of tardiness will be regarded as not meeting the expectations of the class and will affect your effort grade.

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.

Notebook: Must be divided into two sections and have a table of contents:

You must keep a detailed table of contents for your notebook.

Class Rules:


· BE PREPARED! Bring the textbook, your notebook, highlighters and pens/pencils each day.

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

· If you have an unexcused absence from 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.

Outline of topics to be covered in the Fall Term:

N.B. The instructor reserves the right to amend the syllabus at anytime.


The science of biology, scientific inquiry and methods

Measurements and microscopes

Basic chemistry for biology, properties of water, pH

Macromolecules & Enzymes

Cell structure and function, membranes & osmosis


Cellular Respiration

Academic Travel

Cell Growth and Division (Mitosis & Cancer)

Homeostasis and the nervous system

Muscular & Skeletal systems

Homeostasis and the circulatory/respiratory systems

How our bodies use energy, Human nutrition/digestion

The immune system & disease