Friday, September 30, 2011

Test Today

Today students had a test on Chapter 2.  On Monday we will revisit the results of the food lab and we will look at our own diets.  Later in the week we will do a lab that examines factors that affect enzyme reactions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Food Lab Procedure

Copy the following procedure into your notebook on the same page(s) as "Food Lab Procedure."
You can click on either of these images to make them larger.

If you do not have the procedure written (and it must be hand written) down in your notebook you will not be able to participate in the lab and therefore receive a zero.

Simple carbohydrate

1.              Add 5ml distilled water using a pipette to a test tube.
2.              Add 1ml or 1 gram of food sample to test tube.
3.              Add 20 drops of Benedicts solution.
4.              Place test tube in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Complex carbohydrate
1.              Add 5ml of water using a pipette to the test tube.
2.              Add 1 ml or 1 gram food sample to test tube.
3.              Add 20 drops IKI solution.

Procedure: Amino Acids
1.              Add 5ml distilled water
2.              1 ml  or 1 gram food
3.              20 drops biuret solution

1.     Add 5 ml water using a pipette to a test tube.
2.     1 ml or 1 gram of food sample to the test tube.
3.     20 drops Sudan IV to the test tube.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Macromolecules Mini Project

Today in class students had time to work on their Macromolecules Mini Project.  You do need to have a bibliography for this project.  Please use the MLA format for your bibliography.  EasyBib is a great resource for helping make a bibliography.

In case you 'misplace' the expectations for the project, you can read the guidelines below.

Part 1: Create a poster with the following information for your macromolecule: The name of macromolecule Provide a short description of the macromolecule’s functions in the cell and in our bodies. At least three large, colorful, labeled images of the macromolecule should be on the poster.

Part 2: Create a one- page handout for the class that answers the questions listed under your macromolecule (or protein shape). The handout does not need to be typed, it can be hand written. Keep in mind that this will be photocopied and given to the rest of the class.

This mini project is due on Tuesday September 27th in class. One representative from the group will share the information on your topic with the class.

1. What defines a carbohydrate and what is its function in both plant and animal cells?
2. Monosaccharides (-oses), the ratio of C:H:O
3. Disaccharides: reaction used to join them, removal of water, sucrose, maltose and lactose.
4. Polysaccharides: starches (glycogen; cellulose) 
5. What are the main uses of carbohydrates in cells (plants and animals)?

1. Define lipids—insolubility in water; function.
2. Types of lipids—triglycerides, phospholipids, steroids
3. What are the main uses of lipids in cells

1. Define proteins and their function
2. What is an amino acid (monomers joined via dehydration synthesis)
3. How is a Peptide bond formed?
4. What are the main uses of proteins in cells?

Protein Shape:
1. What are the various levels in protein shape? (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary)
2. How does structure relate to function with regard to proteins?
3. What does it mean to denature a protein, give an example.

Nucleic Acids: 
 1. Define, compare and give examples of the two types of nucleic acids (structure, location and function).
2. What are the main uses of nucleic acids in cells?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Section 2-4 Enzymes

G period ONLY:
Use the PowerPoint below to help you complete the guided notes sheet you were given in class.  The penultimate (2nd to last slide) is for questions 11 & 12.   Also, on the penultimate slide, click on the word "Enzymes" in the header to link to a short video clip. Draw the diagram on the last slide on the back of the paper.
Click the white box to begin viewing the slideshow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chemistry of Carbon & Intro to Macromolecules

Today C period (tomorrow for G period), learned about the importance of carbon in macromolecules. We also talked about the four major groups of macromolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.

On Friday you will work in assigned groups on a mini macromolecules project.

If you are in C period:
Remember that your lab report and completed rubric are due tomorrow at the start of class.

If you are in G period your lab report and completed rubric are due on Thursday at the start of class.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Parts of a Lab Report

Today (or tomorrow for G period) we learned about the parts of a lab report.  The first PowerPoint below details the parts of a lab report.  The second PowerPoint shows you how to make an x y scatter plot in Excel.  Lastly, there is an image of the rubric that you will need to turn in when you submit your lab report.  You can not turn in a lab report without the rubric.  If you don't have the rubric and self-evaluation completed, your lab report will be late.
Tips for working in Excel: Remember that your graph should display the average for the five beans in each group (0.0g salt, 0.5g salt etc).

Insert a blank row, below the data for bean 1e.  To do this, highlight row 7 (bean 2a), go to "Insert" and select "row."  A new row should appear directly below 1e.  The row in the screen shot is yellow, because I added the color to make it easier to see.

You can click on any of the images below to make them larger.

Directly below 0.41, type =average (as you start to do this a menu will appear and you can select AVERAGE.
 Now the cell (square) below 0.41 should look like the picture below.
 Highlight the data for which you want to take the average.  Once you have highlighted these numbers, press Enter (Return).

You should now have an 0.38 in the box where you originally typed =AVERAGE . Place the cursor so that it touches the lower right corner of the highlighted blue box.  A black plus sign (+) should appear.  Drag this symbol directly across the row and this will give you the averages for the rest of the data for group 1.

Once you have all of the averages completed, you are ready almost to make an X Y scatter plot.  You will want to open either a new spreadsheet or a new tab in Excel.  Make a data table that contains the averages (see below).
Now you are ready to click through the PowerPoint below and make an X Y scatter plot.
Making an xy scatter plot
View more presentations from ilanasaxe

And just in case you 'misplaced' the rubric, you can see it (and print it) from the image below. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Properties of Water

Today students had a reading quiz on section 2.2 and we learned about the properties of water.  In our seeds and salt experiment, we saw how plants take advantage of the cohesive and adhesive properties of water to take in water through their roots.  Many of us experienced evaporative cooling in class over the past few days.  If you go swimming in Lake Lugano or tubing at Lago Maggiore over the weekend, you'll be taking advantage of water's high specific heat (even though it has been cool at night, the lakes are still warm).  So even without realizing it, you benefit from the unique properties of water everyday.

There is no homework due Monday.  If you are unsure about the pH scale, click the picture below to link to an interactive pH scale.  Use the brown arrows in the lower left of the animation to navigate.  The interactive pH scale is on the third slide.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homework for Friday

Read section 2.2 and take notes for a reading quiz.  Also, check out G period's bean seeds!

 Tomorrow will be our last day of collecting data for the seeds & salt experiment.  Unfortunately, C period's experiment was cut short due to the growth of mold on the seeds and in the dishes.  In G period's experiment, only one dish showed signs of mold.  Perhaps that's something that could be used in your discussions of the experiment.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chapter 2 - Radioactive Dating, Chemical Bonds and the Properties of Water

G Period: Today students collected data from the seeds & salt experiment. After collecting the data, students were given a chapter 2 pre-inventory and we started to learn about basic chemistry.

G Period Homework: Read pages 37-39 and take notes for a reading quiz. Any notes you take, you can use on the quiz.

C Period: Today continued to collect data from their seeds and salt experiment, after which students had a reading quiz on pages 37-39. We moved on to section 2-2, the properties of water.

C Period Homework: Read and take notes on section 2-2, you will have a reading quiz in your next class.

Here are two video clips to help you understand chemical bonding and radiocarbon dating.

Chemical Bonding:

Radio Carbon Dating:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Starting Ch. 2

C period class summary:
Students collected data from the seeds & salt experiment. After collecting the data, students were given a chapter 2 pre-inventory and we started to learn about basic chemistry.

C period homework:
Read pages 37-39 and take notes for a reading quiz. Any notes you take, you can use on the quiz.

G period class summary:
After some rather serious debate about the best method for collecting data, students collected their second set of bean growth data. With the remaining class time students started the Interpreting Data packet.

G period homework:
Complete the Interpreting Data packet. Also complete the book tour.

Beans Gone Wild!

One of G period's beans in just water (0.0g salt added), 84 hours into the experiment. This group really had to pry the roots out of the cotton to mass the bean.

G period homework:

Part 1: Complete the Interpreting Data packet questions. If it is easier, you can make the graphs on a sheet of graph paper and staple it to the packet.

Part 2: Complete the book tour.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seeds & Salt Data and Interpreting Data Practice

Today (or tomorrow for G period) students collected their first set of data for the seeds and salt experiment. I will keep an Excel spreadsheet of the class data and email you the final compilation when we have finished the experiment.

Picture 1: C period's experiment, a 4 x 5 set up.

Picture 2: A close up of two of the beans. On the left is an original purple bean, on the right is bean 5a.

After collecting the data, students practiced interpreting data and graphing sample data sets.

Part 1: Complete the graphing packet (unless you already finished it in class).

Part 2: Complete the Book Tour. That's right, introduce yourself to your textbook. You will leave this book at home for the majority of the year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Setting up the seeds & salt experiment

In class on Friday students worked together to set up the seeds and salt experiment. Tomorrow (or on Tuesday depending on when your class meets) you'll make predictions about the change in mass of the seeds and collect the data.

After collecting the data, we'll do several practice problems where you graph data.

Lastly, tomorrow you'll finally get your textbook, as by now you should know whether or not you will be staying in the class.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Experimental Design: Bean Seeds

Today (or Thursday for G period) students presented their redesigned Simpon's experiments. Congratulations to the Bart group in C period for winning the 100,000CHF grant to continue their research.

Due Friday for C and G period: Complete a detailed experimental design for the seed lab. On Friday we will be selecting an experimental design to actually do in class. We will have from Sept. 9 through Sept. 21st to collect data in this experiment.

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.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to Biology

Today we learned about controls and variables in experimental design with the help of the Simpsons.
Homework: Choose one of the experiments from the worksheet and redesign it in the 5 x 5 model. In class tomorrow you will present your experimental design to the class. Be prepared to defend your design.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


General Biology


Ms. Saxe

Text: Biology Student Edition with Manual, Miller & Levine, Pearson, Prentice Hall

Other Materials: 1 binder, divided into two sections

A minimum of 3 different colored highlighters, pens or markers.

Content: 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.


Homework/Reading Quizzes 25% Tests/Projects 30%

Quizzes 15% Lab work 20%

Classwork 10%

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

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

Integrity: Being honest with yourself, your classmates and your teacher. Don't take credit for work that isn't yours and ask for help when you need it.

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!

Outline of topics to be covered in the Fall Term:

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




Labs / Projects



Scientific inquiry and methods


1 /2

Experimental design and measurement; starting basic chemistry for biology

Seeds & Salt



Basic chemistry for biology, properties of water, pH

Seeds & Salt




Testing for Macromolecules



Enzymes & Lab report skills

Potato Catalase



Cell structure and function

Microscope work



Membranes & osmosis

Dialysis tubing


Academic Travel



Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration



Cellular Respiration

Elodea & Snails



Wrap up Cellular Respiration, start Cell Growth

Microscope work



Mitosis, Cell Cycle & Cancer

Cancer presentations



Skeletal & Muscular Systems

Build a skeleton



Nervous System & NIH’s Drugs, Brain & Behavior



Drugs, Brain & Behavior

Thank you in advance for all of the hard work and learning that you are about to engage in.


Ms. Saxe