Energy, Matter, and Organization: Quiz Review

On Friday, students received their scored quizzes back.  We reviewed how the quiz was scored, and students had the opportunity to ask questions about the quiz content.  Students then had the remainder of the class period to check grades in Illuminate, identify missing assignments, and then to locate and print missing assignments to complete over the Winter Break.  School will resume on Monday, January 5.

Over the break, I strongly encourage my students to spend 20 minutes each day reading about biology topics related to energy, matter, and organization.  Students should write a one-paragraph summary of each page of reading they complete (cite the source!) and return the summary paragraphs for 5 points of extra credit per paragraph.  The reading should be related to our current unit of study, so look for credible scientific articles about:

  • how cells obtain and use energy (photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and metabolism)
  • how the chemical elements are organized into biomolecular structures (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids)
  • how cell organelles are involved in the metabolism (anabolism and catabolism) of biomolecular structures to maintain homeostasis inside and outside the cell
  • how diet impacts the function of an organism at the level(s) of cells, tissues, organs, or the whole organism

Need help locating credible scientific sources?  Visit the Keep Learning! page for a list of websites (scroll down).

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Cellular Respiration – Day 2

We continued our work modeling cellular respiration, picking up where we left off yesterday.  Although 2nd and 3rd periods were shortened because of a fire drill, students in periods 1, 4, and 5 were also able to watch the short video below describing the action of the enzyme ATP synthase.  We will have a comprehensive quiz tomorrow covering the topics of body systems, organelles (with heavy emphasis on the cell membrane), and energy.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Cellular Respiration – Day 1

Today we began learning about how one of the major cellular organelles, the mitochondria, are able to convert glucose into ATP through the process of cellular respiration.  We began with a partner share activity, where students discussed their response to the second video segment from Friday with their table partner.  One partner wrote a summary of their partner’s response, and then the partners switched.  We shared out as a class, discussing the effect of lowering body temperature on catastrophic health events (like heart attacks).  We then transitioned to a study of mitochondria, with students sharing what they know about the organelle.  We learned the chemical formula for cellular respiration (which occurs in the mitochondria found in both plant and animal cells) by reviewing the process of photosynthesis (which occurs in plant cell chloroplasts).  Most students are able to reconstruct the formula for photosynthesis by remembering the key ingredients for plant life:

CO2 + H2O + energy (sunlight) → C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2

Cellular respiration is essentially the reverse of photosynthesis:

C6H12O6 (glucose) + O2 → CO2 + H2O + energy (ATP)

The attached slide deck provides a few additional slides (not presented in class).  We connected the idea of cellular respiration back to the second video segment from last Friday to explain why lowering body temperature results in improved health outcomes.  Finally, students modeled the process of converting one molecule of glucose to 36 molecules of ATP.   The used the molecular structures worksheet along with the instructions to work through part of the activity.  We will complete the modeling activity tomorrow and students will write a summary of the process of cellular respiration.

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Organelles

As we begin our new unit about how cells are organized, what they are made of, and how they obtain energy, we will begin with a review of organelles.  Students will complete an organelle chart worksheet where they will research the function and location of the 12 major organelles, and determine whether those organelles are present in animal cells, plant cells, or both types of cells.  Students may use any available credible scientific resource, including textbooks and the website A Tour of the Cell.

Can We Live Forever?

Today marks the transition from Unit 3 (Cells and Homeostasis) to Unit 4 (Energy, Matter, and Organization).  We have learned a lot about how cells interact with their environment.  We have also learned about how cells combine in complicated ways to form tissues, organs, and body systems.  In Unit 4, we will explore how cells are organized (organelles and biomolecules) and how cells obtain energy (photosynthesis and cellular respiration).  To help us transition, today we watched two segments of the NOVA video “Can We Live Forever?” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The complete video is available below.  After watching each segment, students responded to a writing prompt in their lab notebook.

Segment 1: 7:03-20:40, Prompt: If some day all of your body parts can be rebuilt or replaced, will you still be you?  Explain your answer in at least 4 sentences in your lab notebook.

Segment 2: 41:40-50:13, Prompt: Why do you think cooling body temperature improves survival after a catastrophic health event (like a heart attack)?  Explain your answer in at least 4 sentences in your lab notebook.

Hour of Code

Today we are participating in the Hour of Code.  To get started, visit one of these websites below and dive in.  Want to continue your learning with coding and score some extra credit?  Visit the Keep Learning! page for instructions on how to sign up for these websites using a class course code.  Be sure to let me know you have signed up and you will receive extra credit for completed work units.  Computer literacy and coding are critical skills for all scientists, so keep learning!

Cells and Homeostasis: How Cells Eat

Today we began class with students meeting with their Great Salt Lake causeway project groups.  Students reviewed the feedback they provided each other in order to improve their current projects.  We then took a detour from our study of body systems in order to acquire the vocabulary around how cells eat.  We viewed a Power Point slide deck and then broke into our body systems groups to the last few minutes of class to discuss how the eating mechanisms might be relevant to each body system.  Students will have tomorrow to complete their body systems projects and will present on Wednesday.