Karyotypes and Karyograms



karyotype photo



In grade 12 Biology we studied the structure of chromosomes and how they can be aligned into homologous pairs based on their size, banding pattern and position of the centromere (karyotyping).

Alligning the homologous pairs to form a karyogram then allows us to determine the sex of the individual the chromosomes came from and look for any chromosomal abnormalities like 3 copies of chromosome 21 (Trisomy 21) which is the cause of Downs Syndrome.

The students modeled the process of karyotyping by using an online simulation and a “technical” cut and stick activity.

Modeling Mitotic Cell Division

mitosis pipecleaners
The grade 10 biology students are studying Cell division and inheritance. We have looked at the stages of mitosis that allows the DNA on chromosomes to be copied to form sister chromatids. We then described how the sister chromatids separate to form two new nuclei with identical DNA as the parent cell. The students modeled the movement of chromosomes/chromatids with pipe cleaners and annotated the mini white boards to describe the process. Photos of each stage were taken that formed part of the students notes and to be used to make stop motion animations.


Sheep Brain and Eye dissection


brian eye


The G10 coordinated Science (Biology) class have been studying how the nervous system detects changes in the environment and coordinates an appropriate response. We broke down the steps required to catch a pen or football and identified the sensory, relay and effector neurons involved in this process. We then investigated reaction time but timing how long it would take the left and right hands to catch a ruler. Finally we looked at the central nervous system in more depth as we dissected a sheep’s brain and sense organs/receptors in more depth by dissecting a sheep’s eyeball. The students had a hands on experience as they passed the lens of the eye between them and could see for themselves as it changed shape in their hands.

Modeling the structure of skeletal muscle




muscle models

The grade 12 Biology higher level students have just finished the movement sub topic in the animal physiology unit. To show the key features of the sliding filament theory of muscle contraction, the students modeled the structure of muscle sacromeres, including the position of actin and myosin filaments. These models were then used to show how nerve impulses and the release of calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum are used to coordinate muscle contraction.


The Amazing Sperm race whiteboard time lapse animation



In G10 Coordinated Science we have been studying human reproduction. To explain the amazing journey the sperm must undertake to fertilise an ovu, the students created time lapse whiteboard animations and added their own voice over. The animations created were fantastic and showed how engaged the students were in this topic and their detailed understanding of the process.


Immune Response mini whiteboard animation videos





This week in G9 Coordinated Science Biology the students used a cartoon strip template to storyboard an animation explaining how the immune system protects us from pathogens (disease causing microorganisms). They were inspired by a video that turned the body’s defense against disease into a cinematic role playing game.

They used their MacBook’s and camera phones to record a mixture of stop motion animation and video. All of the  students produced amazing videos that will be used by other coordinated science classes to aid revision.

Modeling the Carbon Cycle






This week in G9 Coordinated Science the students used a number of everyday science objects such as a toy car, a plant, a “factory box”, crude oil, soil, animal organ models and a bottle containing carbon dioxide to model the carbon cycle. The students worked in small groups and made links to how each object is linked to each other by the recycling of carbon. They were then able to recall the word and balanced symbol equation for photosynthesis and respiration from previous topics studied this year.

Theres more to population gender ratio than inheritance of X and Y chromosomes


A story of drinkers, genocide and unborn girls


Inside Natures Giants- The Giraffe





This final week before Christmas in G9 Biology, we observed a lung dissection and watched an extended giraffe dissection video. The dissection focused on the evolutionary adaptations of the circulatory and muscular system that permitted the giraffe’s neck and legs to increase in length. This comparative biology lesson complemented the current Respiration and Human Transport unit. Students may borrow the complete Inside Natures Giants and Autopsy for Beginners dissection series if they desire to become an anatomy expert over the Christmas break.

If plants makes their own food, why do some eat insects?


This week in CoBio we are studying Plant nutrition and how plants make their own food by photosynthesis. To follow up on our first lesson we discussed why do plants such as Venus Fly Traps catch insects. The trap itself is an adapted leaf so it does do photosynthesis and can make its own glucose (food). However, the soil it grows in is lacking nitrates and phosphates required to make amino acids. This plant has adapted to this soil by catching and digesting insects to obtain mineral ions.

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