Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Week Three Genius Hour

This week in genius hour I continued to run my experiment. Switching to more than one cigarette seems to be helping me progress faster. I am dying with anticipation as to what is inside of the balloons. The experiment has not experienced as hiccups yet and I hope to not. One fear I do have is that the sponges might have dried up a little and therefore would not be able to absorb the contaminates as well.  I did manage to burn myself this week and I've been brainstorming ways to maybe not smell like cigarettes afterward. My conclusion is that I will wear rubber gloves from now on while conducting my experiment. However, until my experiment is completed I have little to report.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 2 Genius Hour

This previous week went really smoothly. Despite all the growing hype for Prom I was able to get a solid start on my experiment. I was able to obtain all my material on Monday at Walmart for a reasonable price and after school I constructed the artificial lung to make sure everything worked before I kicked off my experiment on Tuesday morning in class. Luckily, the lung worked and I got the green light to start collecting data on Tuesday. Inside the balloons I placed two small squares of white sponges to help collect any contaminates that would collect inside the lungs. The cigarettes also fit very nicely inside the straw that works as the airway. This makes it easier to make sure that I get the sucking power needed for the artificial lung to actually smoke the cigarette. By placing a small piece of masking tape around the end of the cigarette where it meets the straw I am able to operate the lung without having to hold the cigarette. I have also started constructing my presentation but for the most part I am just waiting for my data so I can wrap it all. On a quick side note, it is really gross that my fingers smell like cigarettes after each session of collecting data. The cigarette smoke surely lingers which is why it is nice I have a way to vent it all out of the room while conducting my experiment.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week one of Genius Hour

After the first week of Genius Hour I have successfully thought of an experiment. I will be testing the effect of Natural cigarettes versus Marlboro Red cigarettes on the lungs. I found a cool and pretty simple way to replicate lungs. The most expensive part of my experiment will be the actual purchasing of the cigarettes. I have been pretty lucky to not have really hit any road blocks while coming up with my experiment except for the fact that I wanted to find the best way to showcase build up in the lungs. The tricky part is that with my replica of the human lungs I will be using a regular rubber balloon. Rubber is not a material that would absorb chemicals or contaminants, this proved to be a problem because this is exactly what I am trying to test for. The solution I am currently seeing is using a wet white sponge to showcase what the actual lung would absorb and look like following the smoking of cigarettes.  So far my experiment is off to a good start and I can't wait to start collecting data.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekly Reflection

 This past week in AP Biology we worked with the transpiration rates of leaves.  My group decided to test the transpiration rates of two different plants (impatiens and a cactus). This was done by monitoring the amount of water that each leaf took in over the course of two days. This was an interesting lab because it was pretty free as to what we could test and/or compare. The ability to create our own lab made it far more intriguing and engaging because our group was testing something that we came up with and wanted to know. It also made the whole classroom more interesting because every group was testing something completely different. This was also good practice in how to construct a full lab from writing up our own procedure, forming our own question and all the steps in between. I believe that this was a great way to conduct our last experiment before the AP test because it forced our group to think like scientists. The whole process was extremely helpful and I greatly enjoy working in groups because you always have someone to bounce your ideas off of and help you if you run into a road block. Looking back I do wish we were able to test more than just one leaf of each plant because it caused our data to be extremely susceptible to error. Looking forward in Biology I am excited to start reviewing for the AP exam and see how much I remember from this year. On the plus side, having the vodcasts is extremely helpful to look back on.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Heart Reflection

I feel as though I should start off this blog about how amazing the heart dissection was. It was incredible to hold a heart in my hands and to be able to cut and explore the anatomy of it. The questions in the packet were good and really made sure that we understood the anatomy of the heart and how it works. Quite honestly the smell the hearts gave off in the classroom was a little gross but once you adjusted it was not even noticeable. It was awesome to be able to run your fingers through the valves and see how blood makes its way through the heart. I was also blown away by the size of the heart. My group had one of the larger hearts which made the valves extra ability to explore the valves. Coming out of this I have a much better understanding of the functions of the heart. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Weekly Reflection

Week Standards [4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 5.1, 5.2]

Most of this week was spent doing the life processes project. This is when each group got a different process and had to write no more than two pages explaining what the purpose was of our process and how the process took place. I believe my group did a really good job. We broke the questions up and each had to handle a different section. This made the project easier to tackle and made getting the answers easier, however, I believe it was a downfall of our project too because this meant I did not have to focus on what the other people in my group were doing and therefore only really had to understand my questions and my portion of the project. At the same time, it was not that hard to get the information because as I was also taking in the other groups information I was also taking in mine. For the most, I believe that I was able to take in the information but what I like most is that if any questions do arise I am able to revisit the projects because they are attached to the class page. The diagrams each group had to do was also extremely helpful. It was a whole lot of information packed into those two pages. 
One of the main things I need to work on in class in my vodcast work. I find that a lot of the time I have trouble remembering the content and rush through the whole process. I have worked hard to make sure that I take better notes but at the same time, I tend to just rush through the prezi on it and take notes while listening to music and that makes it incredibly hard to retain the information that my hand is taking down. I know that my focus is starting to fade as the end of the year approaches and I really need to slow down and take in what I am doing. 
This whole week ties into what we are learning in biology because we are working on early development, and Chromosomes, DNA and inheritance patterns which all ties together nicely. We are sort of getting all the aspects of development which is nice and helps fill in any blanks that there could have been.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Weekly Reflection of March 27-31

This week in Biology we worked a great deal with fruit flies and doing different tests on their inheritance patterns. We were able to use a virtual lab that allowed for the creation of the next generation much faster in a matter of seconds rather than waiting for our own flies to reproduce. This was really cool because we were able to cross flies with different traits and based on the generations later produced we had to conclude the type of gene (Dominant/recessive) and the type of inheritance (Sexual linked or Autosomal). Then based on our outcomes we had to calculate the critical values and see if this would reject the null hypothesis or not. The upside of this experiment is that it took a fraction of the time and effort it would normally to breed the flies and have them grow and yet it still gave us accurate results. I personally find inheritance very interesting and like how predictable it is, given there is not some environmental force acting on the situation. We ended the week with some AP test prep which is really helpful. I like the idea of working with some of the material before we actually have to take the test because I think it will make it all feel more comfortable when it comes down to having to take it. Also I liked how I noticed some of the questions that are on our tests and quizzes come from the AP practice test and that gives me more confidence going into the test knowing that I will be more familiar with the material. This week wasn't at all overwhelming and I feel like I handled the material really well. I look forward to dealing more with inheritance. Overall, I believe that this week went really smoothly and I feel that I have ample time to prepare for our up coming quiz that was moved to Monday due to so many of our students being on a Key Club trip.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekly Reflection 3/20-3/24

This week in Biology we did a lot of work with Chi-squares and working with inheritance patterns. This was an extremely effective packet because I really liked how it broke down the process. Some of the language was a little confusing like when it was talking about Critical value and the P value but luckily my group figured it out. It was good to practice different ways that we can analyze data and take information and determine if something is significant or not. It is really important that we can not only conduct the experiments and collect data but that we can also interpret what it all means and showcase the information in such a way that other people could understand it.
On Monday of last week, we were also able to wrap up our cancer activity. I really enjoyed the cancer activity because I believe that it is incredibly relevant and I find the growth of tumor pretty interesting. As far as workload, for this previous week I believed it was pretty light which was pretty amazing and made it really possible to take our time and absorb the knowledge as we did it. There was still enough to keep us busy but not so much that you had to spend hours on it. Personally, I believe this was a good week for me, I feel like I absorbed the work really well and feel really confident moving forward. Also, Nina and I were able to finish the mini lab on Friday which always gives you a boost of confidence if you can accomplish all the work in class. Onto the virtual Fly lab for this week!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cancer Activity Reflection Questions 3-2-1

3) three things you learned from the activity:
I learned that there are only 9 genes associated with genome maintenance. I learned that there are multiple gene mutations that can lead to the same type of cancer and different numbers of mutations that can cause the same type of cancer. I also learned that there was a great deal that we do not know about the Chromosomes (when we colored in the chromosomes there were some chromosomes that we only knew one gene on).
2) two things that surprised or interested you:
I was surprised there were so few genes that coded for genome maintenance. I was also interested in the similarities and also what appeared to be a lack of similarities of patients suffering from the same type of cancer. None of my group with the same type of cancer shared all of the same mutation. Some of our mutations were found on the same chromosome but if they were they weren't in the same location (which surprised and interested me a great deal).
1) one question you still have:
 Does the number of mutated genes a patient has have an effect on their cancer? If someone with Lung cancer that has four gene mutations have a more severe cancer than someone with only two gene mutations?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekly Reflection

This past week was pretty short with a group of us missing Monday for an NHIA Scholar-Athlete awards meeting in Concord and then have a Snow day Tuesday and no school Friday for a Teacher workshop, However, we were able to do some work on Activity with Cancer which so far is pretty interesting. I like how it incorporates our new found knowledge involving inhibitors and accelerators. It also makes it interesting the fact that Cancer is so common nowadays and knowing more about it interests me deeply. The other class day was used to take our Test. The Test multiple choice seemed pretty straight forward, I felt extremely confident with my answers. However, I can not say the same about the Open Response section of the test. I'll be honest and say that for part of it I straight up was guessing and trying to sound intelligent. I hate when that happens because then for the rest of the day I spend thinking about it and wondering what the right answer was. That being said having the snow day to study was very helpful. I wish I had more storage on my phone so I could have downloaded the hangout app and been part of the class discussion that took place over it (Hint to my mother that I need a new phone). Overall, it was a nice short week in Bio but  I look forward to finishing the cancer lab.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Weekly reflection 2/27-3/3

This week in biology we have been working with Biotechnology and PCR. The vodcast about Biotechnology was another long one. However, I liked that it took the time to explain how everything worked. I actually really liked how the vodcast was broken down. At the same time, it was a lot of information and not the kind of information I feel as though can be easily remembered at least not for me. For this reason, I know that this particular vodcast on Biotechnology is going to be one that I will need to visit a few times. In class, we started a lab using PCR. This is really cool because we got to test our DNA to see if we have a certain gene ( a gene that apparently does nothing). The fact that we did this lab virtually before we actually did the physical lab was extremely helpful because it made it feel as though this lab was nothing but review which is always helpful. It was fun seeing how my DNA compared to other peoples in the class. My group was lucky in the fact that our DNA strands showed up very well in the gel with the dye. The other cool thing was that I was one of two people in the class that was heterozygous for the gene. Weirdly enough there was no one that was homozygous positive for the gene. I wonder if this has to do with the location of our community. Also the fact that a few years ago the only person who was homozygous positive was Herr Wong and Herr Wong is not from the community. It would be really cool to see if there is a higher concentration of homozygous positive kids in Kennett if they are not originally from the valley. I wonder what would play the main role in removing this gene from our DNA seeing as it as it doesn't code for anything.   I really like doing labs especially when they are as engaging as this lab was because I always tend to retain the information for so much longer. Overall I believe that this was a good week in Bio and I look forward to wrapping up this lab with a lab report.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekly Reflection of Feb 3-10

This week in Biology we started talking about DNA replication, and transcription. The vodcast for this portion of the unit was pretty long. However, I spent more time on the vodcast by first going through and taking all the notes and then going back through just trying to soak up the knowledge which seems to be really helpful. Also, we started working on a project where we are trying to show the process of DNA replication and transcription and also what happens when there is a mutation in the DNA using play-doh. This sounds like of strange but as so far been incredibly helpful. This really allows for me to fully grasp the process and work my way through it slowly, it also helped me notice what parts of the process I was a little shady on. That's why classmates/partners can be so helpful. I like being able to bounce my thoughts of a fellow students and get there input of ideas and confusion. It makes it easier sometimes to hear someone explain something in another way. I am enjoying this project so much so far that I hope we have similar projects like it in the future. I mean Biology and play-doh all in one class?! It doesn't get much better than that. This week I am hoping to give myself more time to study for the weekly quiz, the more time I give myself to study the less stressed out I feel going into the quizzes which is extremely helpful for a testing environment. Overall, things are going really well in Biology and I am looking forward to moving along in this unit.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekly Reflection of week January 31-Feb 3

This week went pretty well. I understand DNA pretty well and most of what we did felt a lot like a review. I remember a majority of it from Advance Biology. I really enjoy learning about DNA because I find it so fascinating and incredible that all life consists of the same genetic material. It makes sense because that is how we are able to all this crazy stuff with CRISPR but at the same time, it feels strange to me thinking that I'm made up of the same things as say a fish, pig, or whale. On the flipside of DNA being a review, the vodcasts (or rather one giant vodcast) was a lot to soak in.  I feel as though the lengthiness of the vodcast made it harder to focus in on what it was really saying. I also really enjoy hearing Mrs. Cole's voice to help explain what is being talked about. I also like the life analogies she gives that help tie everything together nicely. I think I will need to read over my notes a few times to help me understand and let all the information soak in. I really enjoyed doing the 'Who is John M' activity, it was a fun and more relaxed way to look at DNA and compare how genes are passed on to their children. I also like being about to bounce ideas off my classmates and hearing them explain their thoughts can be extremely helpful to me. This unit in AP Biology we are working on understanding Information and all that we did this week played nicely into this unit. The main thing I think I should work on for this week is better understanding the vodcasts and coming up with better questions for when we discuss the vodcasts in our groups.