November 10, 2012

UPDATE: Check here for a website I created that students used to work with a PhET simulation with a Google form embedded. I may explain more some other time.

Endless amount of time with an endless amount to do.

Besides a student turning up the heat on my yeast culture and leaving it for me to finding boiling water dripping down an electrical outlet…this week was GREAT(ish)! If you’re going to give students a 15 minute early dismissal and then have a 20 MINUTE fire drill can we NOT have it during the same period every time? My 7th hour gets the shaft every time and while they love it, they are way behind my other classes.

However in good news we had our first full-blown inquiry-based lab (Catalase Enzyme Lab) this week. Ok, first it has to be said that it physically hurts to say that when I see the date is November 10. Now this doesn’t mean we haven’t done labs, just none where they got to create their own experimental design for a topic and carry out their experiment, along with creating a mini-poster as well. Block day (Wed/Thurs) they were introduced to the procedure and they practiced collecting data for a question I postulated. Friday they asked their own question and filled out their mini-poster and Monday they will present their mini-posters in a share-a-thon. They will grade 2 of their classmates mini-posters using a rubric and key. Hopefully this gets them a fuller picture of the scientific method, something I’ll be sure to point out.

I also recently returned from the NABT (Natl Association of Biology Teachers) conference in Dallas. I attended several workshops, guest speakers, and networked with biology teachers, researchers, and authors from around the country. It was truly inspiring/encouraging getting to meet other teachers who are experiencing, or experienced, the same trials and tribulations that I’m going through right now. I also came back with a ton of resources and ideas that would take me forever to go through and utilize. Of course I have plenty of time to incorporate these practices and resources but it’s still hard to digest everything I encountered and thought of during the busy 4 day conference. For today, I’m going to start with a resource-vomit™ of sorts:

- Teaching Bioinformatics: Great source of activities involving bioinformatics of all levels of high school classes.

- DNA Learning Center: Sponsored by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, another resource for bioinformatics, including links to workshops and websites.

- Biointeractive: Sponsored by HHMI, a great source of videos and online interactive activities. HHMI puts on really great material, I’m definitely going to begin using their resources in my classroom. You can also order all their material for free online.

- An article that discusses how to weave evolution throughout an entire biology course making it the central theme, something I think is incredibly important in biology curriculum, yet I don’t think I do it well at all.

For now, that’s the only online resources I have found in my notes. I’ll look back and check for more and update later.

- 4 more years!

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