Category Archives: Uncategorized

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Defining Matter

For today’s lesson, students learned how to classify items as matter or not-matter given the following definition of matter as anything that has mass and volume.  We reviewed the Lesson 3 PowerPoint and worked through question 1 of the Lesson 3 worksheet as a class.  Students then had time to finish the worksheet and answer questions 1-6 from page 12 of the textbook.  We concluded with students reading an article titled “What is Chemistry?” and answering the following writing prompt: If you had to pick a career right now, what would you choose?  How is chemistry part of that career?

Cells & Homeostasis: Systems Quiz

In Biology class, students took their first Friday quiz of the school year today.  The quiz included 10 questions covering systems and networks, as well as the Pirate Way values and a quick check-in on how the year is going so far in class.  Students were also reminded to check Illuminate to ensure they had received credit for turning in their signed Safety Contract and Student Questionnaire.  With schedule changes winding down, we will kick it into high gear next week with our study of cells.  Have a great weekend!

Cells & Homeostasis: Social Networking

For our entry task today, students were tasked with constructing a network diagram of the schools they have attended, finishing with Highline High School.  The activity served as a team-building exercise (we created a big class network diagram) and helped review key vocabulary introduced yesterday (system, network, node, and edge).  Students then used their network diagrams from yesterday’s meet-and-greet activity to create a class social network using a ball of purple and gold “Pirate” yarn.  Each student served as a node, and they had to say the name of the student they were tossing the yarn to along with what they shared in common.  By the end of the activity, the students were criss-crossed in yarn, practiced each other’s names, used data collected yesterday, and had a clear visual understanding of a network.  We wrapped up by watching (or finisihing) Aaron Kobelin’s TED Talk posted yesterday.  Students learned that science is a highly collaborative venture, with scientists often working on part of a larger puzzle without actually knowing what the larger puzzle looks like.

We will have a quiz tomorrow – study up!

Cells & Homeostasis: Lab-Grown Clothing

We started class with a YouTube clip of Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Delaney releasing energy in candy, making elephant toothpaste, and using smoke to visual air bursts coming from an air cannon:

Next, students completed a questionnaire to better introduce themselves and to provide me with data for the WABS Teacher Externship program I am participating in this year.  Students turned in the completed questionnaire, along with the signed syllabus.  They also received a folder, wrote their name on it, and placed it in the file cabinet.  The folder will help students stay organized throughout the school year and provides students with ready-made organizational strategy for keeping track of classwork.  We finished the day with a “popcorn-style” class reading, where each student read a paragraph of an article and then got to pick the next reader.  We read an article about lab-grown clothing, where scientist Suzanne Lee is using bacteria to create fabric.

Find out more by watching Suzanne Lee’s TED Talk:

Matter, Atomic Structure, and Bonding: Lab Safety

The theme of the day was lab safety.  We started class with a YouTube clip of Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Delaney releasing energy in candy, making elephant toothpaste, and using smoke to visual air bursts coming from an air cannon:

The video naturally led into a talk of lab safety, and students received a Safety Contract to read through.  They learned the location of key safety equipment in the classroom and will need to bring the contract back (signed by the student and a parent/guardian) on Tuesday.  Next, students completed a questionnaire to better introduce themselves and to provide me with data for the WABS Teacher Externship program I am participating in this year.  Students turned in the completed questionnaire, along with the signed syllabus.  They also received a folder, wrote their name on it, and placed it in the file cabinet.  The folder will help students stay organized throughout the school year and provides students with ready-made organizational strategy for keeping track of classwork.  Finally, students had the last few minutes of class to browse through our brand-new chemistry textbook.

We are planning to start our first chemistry lesson on Tuesday, so students need to be sure they have the Safety Contract signed and returned then.  Have a wonderful 3-day weekend!

Year-End Reflection & Clean-up

What a year!  It has been my great pleasure to get to know so many students this year.  Sophomore year can be quite a challenge, so it is nice to look back and realize that many of my students truly demonstrated tremendous personal and academic growth.  With the year winding down, I asked my students to help me identify what went well and what could be improved so that I can continue to grow and develop as a teacher.  Their year-end reflections will help guide my instruction next year.

To all of my students: have a relaxing, fun, and safe summer break.  Keep learning, seek challenge, and do science!  And of course, stop by and say hi from time to time.

Reproduction, Inheritance, and Meiosis: Mendel’s Pea Plants

We kicked off the new unit with a primer on heredity (courtesy of Crash Course – see below) and a historical tour of Gregor Mendel’s contribution to the field of genetics.  Slides for the day can be downloaded here.  I am thrilled that much of the discussion around Punnett Squares, as well as some of the vocabulary, are review for many of my students.  All students are encouraged to continue practicing unit vocabulary via the Quizlet link.