The most important part of the end of year exams is the time spent reviewing what went well and what students, and teachers can do to correct the gaps in the students understanding . Essentially closing the gaps in our students knowledge so they don’t make the same mistake again.
This week we will spend most of the time in lessons reviewing the end of year exams and reflecting on our learning. SG
To model the use of dichotomous keys to identify closely related organisms in Biology; lhe grade level students created a key to identify their shoes. They focused on the clear physical characteristics which could be used to separate the pile of shoes. Once the key was complete everyone was happy to get their shoes back! The students then created a key to identify some closely related insect species.
The grade 9 biologists have started studying the final grade 9 biology topic on ecosystems and human influences. To model the flow of energy through food chains we roleplayed the transfer of water (energy) from a large bowl (the sun) to a number of cups with holes in them (trophic levels) to find out how much water (energy) passed to the end of the chain. We then evaluated how the roleplay was similar to. energy loss (loss of water) through food chains and how it could be improved (including the role of decomposers). The students left the lesson with a better understanding of the fundamental concept of how not all energy is passed on to the next trophic level and hence why there is a limit to the maximum number of trophic levels in a food chain.
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!
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!
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!
This week in G9 Biology we looked at specialized cells and how they are adapted to their function. To get the students thinking about the differences between specialized cells and also bacteria we looked at a selection of giant microbe/cell cuddly toys. Students described how each cells has a different shape related to their function and read the label to discover more specific information. We then went on to discuss the specialisations of red blood, white blood , sperm, egg, ciliated epithelial, root hair and palisade mesophyll cells in more detail. A key theme of biology is matching structure to function and we will return to this theme throughout the two year IGCSE Biology and Coordinated Science (Biology) courses.