biology

Grade 6 Transition Day: Science Taster Activities

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The Grade 6 students visited the Senior School last week to prepare for the transition to grade 7 next year. They all had a sample science lesson where they investigated flame tests, reaction time and candy chromatography. They all enjoyed the experience and are eager to learn more.

We look forward to welcoming the grade 6 students to grade 7 Science next year! SG

Investigating the relationship between changes in ventilation rate after exercise and vital capacity 

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The grade 11 students are working on their next internal assessment. In the first lesson, they measured their ventilation (breathing) rate before and after exercise. In the second lesson, we demoed the use of a spirometer and then blew into balloons and calculated the volume to determine their vital capacity. They will calculate the correlation coefficient of the two factors to determine whether these is a relationship and its strength. This investigation also offers many opportunities to discuss limitations and improvements of the method. 

Learning through dissection

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The grade 9 biologists have been studying the digestive system and this week they dissected frogs to bring this topic to life. The students carefully exposed the frog organs and identified the organs involved in digestion as well as the heart, and lungs. They then cut open the stomach and large intestine to see food at different stages in the digestive process and experienced some smells to help them remember it!

Measuring the rate of photosynthesis using leaf discs

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In  IBDP Biology the students have to be able to plan experiments that measure the rate of photosynthesis.The students cut leaf discs from a plant and transferred them to a syringe filled with water. Once all the air was removed the leaf discs sunk to the bottom of the syringe. As the leaf discs carried out photosynthesis, they produced oxygen that moves into the air spsces surrounding the spongy mesophyll. The leaf discs will then rise as oxygen is produced. By measuring how long it takes for the leaf discs to rise; the rate of photosynthesis can be measured. 

How pregnancy test kits work 

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This week in grade 11 HL we have been studymg the production and applications of monoclonal antibodies. We discussed the use of monoclonal antibodies in new breast cancer treatments and their use in pregnancy test kits. The students can now explain why when only one line develops on the pregnancy test strip this is a negative result and why the development of two lines is a positive sign of pregnancy. SG

 

This youtube video gives a great overview of how herceptin is used to treat some forms of breast cancer.

 

Hip hip hooray for DNA

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The Grade 9 biologists are studying biological molecules. We introduced the study of DNA by listening to the DNA song.

They used colour coded pipe cleaners to model the double helix structure of DNA as well as the complimentary base pairing of adenine with thymine (A with T) and cytosine with guanine (C with G). The students then took photos of their models and described the structure of DNA. 


 

Setting and aiming to beat your Personal Best (PB).

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It’s the time of the year for the first end of topic test. In science, students predict how well they think they will perform and then compare this prediction with their actual grade/mark. Research has shown that students can accurately predict their performance. The comparison of predicted and actual grades forms the basis of a post exam learning conversation and reflection on what the student can do to close the gaps in their knowledge.

The first test will also be used to set their personal best (PB) for the rest of the course, students will track and strive to beat their PB.

By reflecting on their learning and always striving to improve, our students are working towards excellence.

Building a Growth Mindset

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At this week’s assembly, the Science Department introduced the importance of having a growth mindset to the Senior School. The key aspects of having a growth mindset such as focusing on effort, deliberate practice, responding positively to feedback and embracing challenges were explained. In addition, the neuroscience of the brain underpinning growth mindset was also presented.

To give a more visual demonstration of a growth mindset in action, 16 volunteers from across all grade levels were invited to the stage and attempted the learn to juggle challenge. There were many different starting levels and many balls were dropped!

The students will have 7 weeks to practice and refine their juggling skills through a growth mindset approach before they return to the assembly stage to show off their newly acquired circus skills!

What does an excellent IBDP Science Internal Investigation look like?

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It’s the time of year when grade 12’s are working hard on their internal assessments as the final deadlines draw ever closer. It is often difficult to determine what exactly the IB criteria looks like in a student investigation. To make this easier for students we are sharing exemplars of excellent internal assessments students completed last year. In addition, we are highlighting how they demonstrate the IB criteria. The featured investigation is on factors affecting the ripening of fruit. It was awarded 22/24.

Soft technical skills- setting up a potometer to measure the rate of transpiration

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The grade 11 HL Biology students reviewed their knowledge of water transport in plants from IGCSE and then went into more depth describing how water travels through the roots in the apoplastic and symplastic pathways. In addition, they took on the wet and sometimes diffucult task of setting up a potometer to measure the rate of transpiration in a leaf.

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