Tag Archives: Cosmos

Evolution: Some of the Things That Molecules Do

We kicked off our Evolution Unit with Episode 2 of Neil deGrass Tyson’s reboot of the Cosmos series called Some of the Things That Molecules Do.  The video does an excellent job presenting evolution as the product of genetic mutation, and differentiates between natural and artificial selection.  Students received a worksheet and time to collaborate on the responses both during (intermission) and after the video.

Evolution: Some of the things that molecules do

As an introduction to our final unit this year, we watched Cosmos, Episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do.  Students responded to worksheet questions while they watched, and the worksheet is due tomorrow at the beginning of class for full credit.  Late work will now be accepted for 65% credit.  The entire Cosmos series is available streaming on Netflix, and Netflix offers a one month free trial for students who do not currently subscribe.

Reminder: Biology EOC review sessions will be held tomorrow (5/12), Thursday (5/14), and the following Tuesday (5/19) in my room after school from 2:20-3:30.  Students are also encouraged to continue working through the EOC study guide that went home with them on Friday.

Ecology and Systems Biology: Ecosystem Preview

Such talented students at Highline High School!  With several students out of class today preparing for the Homecoming assembly, and short class periods, we reviewed the concept of ecosystem.  We integrated biotic and abiotic factors (two vocabulary words learned yesterday).  We defined an ecosystem as the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors present in a given space.  We constructed a diagram of a model ecosystem, with students recalling that factors such as plants, animals, birds, insects, water, air, soil, rocks, buildings, mountains, and even the Sun can all be considered factors in an ecosystem.  We characterized the various factors as biotic (for example, plants, animals, insects, and birds) or abiotic (for example, water, air, buildings, rocks, mountains, and the Sun).  We discussed the fact that biotic factors are often found in direct contact with abiotic factors, and both types of factors are necessary for life as we know it.  For example, bacteria are commonly found in all of the abiotic factors listed (except for the Sun!).  We then watched the first 16 minutes of episode 6 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series.  In the video segment, Dr. Tyson explores the ecosystem of a dew drop.  We were introduced to the tardigrade – an instant class favorite!  Season 1 of Cosmos is currently available streaming on Netflix.