Starting on Monday 24th November, the Double Helix Club returns. Watch the video above for a taste of what you have to look forward to.
• Have you ever heard a jelly baby scream?
• Do you know what an elephant uses to brush its teeth?
• How does Kiwi fruit hold the secret of life?
• How much energy is there is a packet of pocky?
• What does the inside of a Kermit the frog look like?
• Do we have money to burn?
• Have you seen an elephant, Crocodile, Whale, Giraffe, Shark, Tiger or Snake dissection?
• Do you know the science behind roller-coasters?
• Do you know how to make a zinc Christmas tree?
• Can you make a chemistry powered rocket?
This week in G9 Biology and Coordinated Science we completed the last test of term one. When we review the test, the students are given dedicated improvement and reflection time (DIRT) to review their learning. Many students only focus on their grade instead of what they did well and what they did less well on. By using DIRT, students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and identify the next steps to address gaps in their understanding. Taking the next steps to improve what they got wrong is more important than the actual grade of the test at this stage. Students are also encouraged to set themselves challenging targets for the next topic and assessment. As we approach term two, the G9 students will continue to reflect on their learning and take the next steps towards mastery learning.
Last week in G9 Biology we dissected Fred the Frankenstein Frog to review the functions of the alimentary canal in digestion and discuss comparative anatomy. We compared how the frogs digestive system as similar to our own and how it is different. For example, the frog’s teeth have a similar function to our own but a different structure due to the type of food a frog eats. We then discovered the frog’s last meal as we followed the frog’s digestive system. To extend the dissection, we then looked at the frogs nervous and muscular system. As the frog was still “fresh” we were able to stimulate the frog’s muscles by sprinkling salt on the exposed tissue. The muscles twitched as the salt simulated the muscles as activated nerve fibres would do when the frog was alive. The students were amazed and a little creeped out as the frog’s legs twitched (danced) on their own. We will refer back to this dissection when we study the nervous system next year.
As G9 Coordinated Science (Biology) studied the circulatory system we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a sheep’s heart. Before we started the dissection, we examined the external anatomy of the heart and identified the important blood vessels. We discussed the factors that increase the risk of damage or blockage of the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood. The students enjoyed linking the theory of how the heart works with the opportunity to feel the heart (cardiac) muscle and put their fingers through each blood vessel to find out which chamber of the heart it connects to. We finished the lesson by watching part of a giraffe dissection to see how the wall of the left ventricle in this animal is even thicker to pump blood to the top of the giraffes head and back!
This week in G9 Coordinated Science (Biology) we discussed the role of anaerobic respiration in yeast to make the useful human products of alcohol and carbon dioxide.as well as the interplay of aerobic and anaerobic respiration when we exercise. As it was a beautiful autumn day in Shanghai we took the opportunity to use the sports field to do star jumps for 4 minutes and then measure how long it took the students breathing rate to return to normal. We then discussed why the breathing rate did not return to normal straight away (oxygen needed to breakdown lactic acid produced in anaerobic respiration in muscles) and how strenuous exercise can lead to cramp. Before the spring excursion the students will also learn more about the respiratory and circulatory systems as we complete lung, and heart dissections.
This week in Coordinated Science (Biology) we prepared for the second test on plants and started the new Respiration topic. Students observed how much energy there is in a jelly baby by observing the screaming jelly baby demo (candy placed in warm potassium chlorate) and then investigated how much energy is in crisps, crackers and peanuts. This was also an opportunity to review food groups and balanced diets. The students concluded that the crackers stored the most energy although after their evaluated of the experiment there were a number of factors that meant this was not the a very valid and reliable investigation.
This week in G9 Biology we started the second topic on Biological molecules, Enzymes and Animal Nutrition. The first biological molecule we discussed was Deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA). This is the ultimate information storage and retrieval molecule. DNA has the blueprint for making proteins and ultimately almost all life on Earth. We discussed the structure of DNA and the importance of complementary base pairing (A with T and C with G) by using pipe cleaners as a model. Finally we referred back to Topic 1 as we discussed how DNA barcoding is based on analyzing the sequence of DNA bases to identify and classify organisms based on how similar their sequences are.
This week in the Coordinated Science Biology class, we completed the first unit on Cells, Cell transport and Animal Nutrition. To put this unit in context and be a little more hands on we dissected a bullfrog called “Bill”. The frog’s anatomy and digestive system is very similar to humans so we could easily identify the organs of the digestive system. We used the dissection to review what occurs in each region of the alimentary canal in preparation for the end of unit test. The students were equally engrossed and disgusted all at the same time!.
This week in Coordinated Science (Biology) we are approaching the end of our first unit on cells, cell processes and animal digestion. To model how our digestive system works we used every day household objects to show what happens in each region of the alimentary canal. The students took on the roles of the teeth using pestle and mortar to crush food), the oesophagus (pushing food along a tube to show peristalsis), the stomach (churning food in a plastic ziplock bag), and the intestines (modelling absorption of food through woman’s tights and the absorption of water with paper towels). They enjoyed witnessing for themselves the final product of the model digestive system!