Tag Archives: networks

Cells & Homeostasis: Cell Organelle Networks

Students received their quizzes from last Friday and we reviewed how to analyze network diagrams.  Students learned that when analyzing an edge between two nodes, the arrow of the edge points to the receiving node.  For example, of Student A calls Student B, the students would be nodes, and the edge would start at Student A and point toward Student B.

Next, students had time to complete and/or review their organelle flash cards from yesterday.  Students were told yesterday that the flash cards were due today, but with the Illuminate website down for much of the day, students received an extra day to complete the flash cards with the expectation that Illuminate is back up reliably tomorrow.  Students then worked in small groups of 3-4 and were assigned to draw either a plant cell or an animal cell.  First, the drawing must include all of the organelles found in the assigned cell type.  Second, students must research interactions between the organelles.  Finally, students will use their drawing to construct a network diagram, with each organelle serving as a node, and the relationships between the organelles serving as the edges.  Each node must have at least one edge originating from it.  Students were permitted to use all available resources, including the class textbook, the purple book (Inside the Cell), and scientifically reliable websites accessed from their phones.  Students will have the class period tomorrow to complete the project and Chromebooks will be available.  Students are encouraged to research relationships between the organelles as homework this evening.

Student Work Examples:

Plant Cell Organelle Network Diagram
Plant Cell Organelle Network Diagram
Animal Cell Organelle Network Diagram
Animal Cell Organelle Network Diagram
Animal Cell with Organelles
Animal Cell with Organelles

Cells & Homeostasis: Introduction to Networks

Networks and systems are a recurring theme in biology, so today’s lesson focused on introducing students to the topic.  For the entry task, students were challenged with writing a short story explaining a picture of a squirrel eating a piece of pizza.

Entry Task 9-9-15

The students then transformed their short stories into network diagrams by identifying the key objects in the story and drawing them as nodes (words inside ovals), then connecting the nodes with edges (lines or arrows describing a relationship between the nodes being connected).  We shared out a few stories with the class, creating network diagrams of the student stories.  After completing the PBIS lesson for the day, we returned to drawing networks – this time, social networks.  Students were tasked with meeting all of the other students in class, identifying one thing in common, and writing the relationship as a network diagram.  We will use the network diagrams tomorrow for our social network activity.


  • System – a collection of nodes and edges
  • Node – the objects in a system
  • Edge – the relationship between nodes
  • Network – a diagram of a system

Students who enjoyed the data collection activity today might want to check out Aaron Kobelin’s TED Talk:

Ecology and Systems Biology: Networks and Factors

We launched our first lesson of Unit 2 (Ecology and Systems Biology) with an introduction to the SQ3R reading strategy.  Details are included in the attached slide deck presented to students before they practiced the SQ3R reading strategy on a reading passage.  The reading introduced students to the vocabulary words of biotic factors (living things) and abiotic factors (things that are not living), and related both types of factors to the study of systems.  Students who were unable to complete the reading in class should finish it as homework and turn it in at the start of class tomorrow morning to receive full credit.

Nature of Science: Networking

Another busy day! Today students turned in signed copies of the syllabus and lab safety contract along with their milk lab work from last week.  Students received credit for their work in Illuminate and then filed everything away in their folder in the class file cabinet.  The remainder of the class period was spent constructing a social network.  Students used their critter diagrams to introduce each other and used that content to create a network diagram.  Nodes consisted of student names (names inside circles) and edges (lines connecting the nodes) represented shared points of interest.  The ability to construct a network diagram will be a valuable skill as we continue on with our study of biology.  Class concluded with students analyzing their networks by counting the number of nodes and edges and sharing out with the class.