Honors Biology

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

posted Dec 7, 2012, 6:42 AM by Jerrid Johansen

On Monday we will spend a some time looking at the story of Henrietta Lacks and the contributions she has unknowingly made to fields of science, technology, and medicine.  At the same time, we will examine some of the bioethical issues that have arisen because of her story.

For Monday, read the following excerpt from a book entitled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot and published in 2010.  I have three links listed below.  One link is a pdf of the excerpt.  Another link is to Rebecca Skloot's website.  The third link is to an audio podcast called Radiolab that has interviews with the author and members of Henrietta Lacks' family.

Tell Me About Cells - Wednesday, October 31st

posted Oct 30, 2012, 10:39 AM by Jerrid Johansen

I'm going to give you an opportunity to revisit your Yola site, and in doing so accomplish two things. 
  1. Learn a little bit about the biology and evolution of eukaryotic cells
  2. Show me what you have learned up to this point of the semester about cells, including but not limited to:  protein synthesis, cell membranes and cellular transport, and prokaryotes

Let's look at # 1 first.  The following list of topics are things I am requiring you to include as you add to your Yola Site.  Most of what you will need can be found in Chapter 7 of the textbook.  Although telling me about the Endosymbiotic Theory will require you to find other sources.  Here are the topics you must address:

  • Plant Cells vs. Animal Cells (7.2)
  • Major organelles of eukaryotic cells and their functions (7.2)
  • A more detailed description of the organelles involved specifically in protein synthesis (pages 200-201)
  • Cell Specialization and Organization (7.4)
  • Tell me about the Endosymbiotic Theory (Outside Sources)

I'm going to leave part #2 a little bit open-ended and allow you the opportunity to include what you believe are the most important things you have learned about cells.  The following is a list of topics or concepts you might want to include:

  • Eukaryotes vs. Prokaryotes
  • Archaea vs. Eubacteria
  • Emerging Diseases and Bacterial Resistance
  • Cell Membranes and Cellular Transport
  • Macromolecules (Lipids, Carbs, Nucleic Acids, Proteins) and their functions
  • The atoms of life (C, H, O, N) and where they come from.

Again, those are possible topics and I'm not saying you have to include all of these specifically.  These are also review topics so this shouldn't take a lot of time to find information on these topics.  Your challenge is presenting it in a

You will have Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to work on your websites during class.  The work with your websites needs to be completed and an email sent to me by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 4th.  My email address is jjohansen@paplv.org.  Make sure you publish the changes to your website before then.  In your email, please include the web address to your website.  If for that is not possible, click Contact Me and include it in the message.

Once again you will be evaluated using this Rubric.  Please check the rubric before you begin.

Helping you to understand Viruses

posted Oct 26, 2012, 7:23 AM by Jerrid Johansen

Here are some additional materials to help you work through your understanding of Viruses.

  • VirusesFrom the Khan Academy.  It gets pretty long, and pretty technical past the 14-15 minute mark, but the introductory information is great.
  • Nathan Wolfe's Jungle Search for VirusesA TED Talk about the search for viruses and trying to stop the next pandemic.  Great stuff on how viruses can jump species and spread around the world
  • Virus PowerPoint: A decent PowerPoint on Viruses and infection cycles.
  • Nova 1918 Flu:  Great video on pandemics, the 1918 flu, and the threat of a new pandemic (a.k.a. the Bird Flu)

Bacteria and Archaea Supplemental Materials

posted Oct 25, 2012, 6:20 PM by Jerrid Johansen

Here are a few things you can view to help you get a better understanding of bacteria and archaea (a.k.a. the prokaryotes). 

  • Bacteria:  from the Khan Academy.  Great introduction to all things bacteria
  • How Bacteria "Talk"a TED talk detailing new breakthroughs in our understanding bacteria and how to combat them.
  • Bacteria and Archaeaa PowerPoint covering the basics of bacteria and the archaea.

Hope these are helpful...I'm not saying you have to view them all in their entirety but they will definitely help you gain an understanding of the topic.

Information on Viruses coming soon...

Monday, September 17th - Wednesday September 19th

posted Sep 17, 2012, 5:31 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Sep 17, 2012, 5:49 AM ]

DNA and Protein Synthesis Website Project

As an introduction to DNA and protein synthesis, students are going to do some introductory research into the topic and create a website/portfolio to demonstrate their understanding of the topic.  This will be a website that students keep up to date during the school year and will in some ways act like a portfolio, demonstrating what they have done throughout the year.

DNA and Protein Synthesis Research
To create the website, students will be using a free website builder called YOLA.  Students will simply need to create a username and password and then can begin creating a website in minutes.  My suggestion would be to do as much of the information gathering as possible, up front, and then focus on the website towards the end of the week.  Once you're comfortable with the content, you can focus on the actual website.

Requirements for the website
  1. There are 7 research "bullet points" on the assignment sheet.  As a minimum, you need and should have at least 3 pages on your website for those 7 research points.
  2. There are plenty of good images and videos on YouTube that you can incorporate into your website.  As a minimum you need to use 8 images and 2 videos.
  3. Make sure you cite your sources!  If you use a photo/video/writing that is not your own you must cite your source.
  4. Spend some time messing around with Yola to see what is possible with this simple website creator.

That's it!  Those are the only requirements.  I want to see what you can do when you aren't tied down by a lot of requirements and restrictions.  You will be evaluated using the following rubric and the project will ultimately be due by the end of the day on Friday.  This means you might need to do some research work, or website building work on your own time.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 11th and Wednesday, September 12th

posted Sep 12, 2012, 10:38 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Sep 12, 2012, 10:38 AM ]

  1. We spent a little time reviewing HR Diagrams and Star Classification.
  2. Students were then asked to read an article about Habitable Zones and potentially finding life in other places in the solar system/galaxy.  The article can be viewed HERE.
  3. We assigned a reading strategy with the hopes of increasing their reading comprehension, not only for this class, but for all of their classes.
  4. After students had a chance to discuss what they believed to be the important points, students were asked to compare their questions with my list of 10 questions, and were then asked to answer the questions.

Friday, September 7th

posted Sep 6, 2012, 10:49 AM by Jerrid Johansen

As a reminder, I will be gone on Friday.
  1. Students will begin by taking a quiz over the Intro to Biology and the Universe.
  2. Students will then work quietly on the Stars Handout

If students do not finish the handouts by the end of class, it is homework for Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 29th

posted Aug 29, 2012, 9:57 AM by Jerrid Johansen

Students were asked to read the article:  How the Big Bang Theory Works

Students were then asked to answer questions about the article.

Tuesday, August 28th

posted Aug 29, 2012, 9:45 AM by Jerrid Johansen

As an introductory activity students were asked to brainstorm all of the things they would find in the universe.

Students were then asked to work with a group of students to draw their best representation of the universe.

Lastly, students were shown a short video that begins to explain the Big Bang Theory and the expansion of the universe.

Monday, August 27th

posted Aug 29, 2012, 8:51 AM by Jerrid Johansen

We continued our look at living organisms and the smaller things that make living organisms
  • 8 characteristics of living organisms
  • 4 Macromolecules of life
  • 4 atoms of life

Students also took a little universe pre-test for my knowledge and to see what students already know about the formation of the universe.

The notes and pre-test questions can be found HERE

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