Jan 12 2009

Half way point

Filed under Uncategorized

Well, now that we are half way through the year I am finally getting around to posting something again.  We have finals here before we leave for winter break.  It is great because we get rid of the do nothing right before break and the do nothing and reviewing right after break and right before finals.  I think we have added several more productive days by doing finals before break.  Not to mention the fact that the students do not have to worry about remebering and studying over break.

No responses yet

Aug 18 2008

New School Year

Filed under biology,chemistry

Well, here we are in a new school year.  The kids return tomorrow.  As we are returning take a look at the biology curriculum the teachers in the chicago area came up with.  Again this is for all student from the lowest levels the the brightest.  Chemistry teachers from the same area are going to meet this year to come up with the vital curriculum for all high school chemistry students.  Take a look back at my previous chemistry curriculum post and put in your 2 cents worth.  I do not know it I will be going to these meeting, but someone at my school will so maybe I can keep you informed of what is happening.  Have a great school year!!

No responses yet

Jul 30 2008

Biology objectives

Filed under biology

Well, several of the Chicago area high school biology teacher got together over the past year and came up with objectives for ALL biology student. It does not matter if these are low level or high level student or if they take biology as freshmen or later. The group felt that all students should be able to meet these objectives. I think the will be doing the same thing this year for Chemistry which goes along with my chemistry post which I would still love to hear your thoughts on. Anyway, here are the objectives. Let me know what you think, too much, too little, what would you add, what would you delete.

Essential Curriculum

Science Process

Objective 1 Recognize the role biology plays in current events.

Objective 2 Use the process of scientific reasoning to investigate scientific problems.

Objective 3 Distinguish between an observation and an inference when given a
scientific statement about an experiment.

Objective 4 Analyze and interpret experimental data.

Objective 5 Analyze and interpret visual representations of biological processes.

Objective 6 Recognize correct graphical representations of a data set.


Objective 1 Recognize how traits, genes, and alleles are related.

Objective 2 Explain the relationship between genes and chromosome.

Objective 3 Identify the sex of a human based on its genotype.

Objective 4 Predict the phenotype of an organism given its genotype.

Objective 5 Indicate whether a genotype is homozygous or heterozygous.

Objective 6 Use a Punnett square to solve genetic problems for monohybrid and sex-linked traits.

Objective 7 Interpret a pedigree to determine an individual’s genotype / phenotype.

Objective 8 Explain how meiosis results in sex cells

Objective 9 Explain how DNA’s structure allows it to code for genes and replicate.

Objective 10 Explain DNA’s role in the creation of proteins.

Objective 11 Describe how a mutation is a change in the DNA or chromosome and the possible effects
on an organism or population.


Objective 1 Distinguish between different levels of organization within the biosphere.

Objective 2 Apply concepts of the interdependence of living and non-living components of the

Objective 3 Predict the affects on an ecosystem given limitations and disruptions.

Objective 4 Recognize the relationship between organisms and the flow of energy in an ecosystem

Objective 5 Apply concepts of interactions among organisms within an ecosystem.


Objective 1 Identify what necessary for organisms to be considered members of the same species

Objective 2 Demonstrate how the major categories of biological classification scheme shows that some organisms are more closely related than others .

Objective 3 Recognize the necessity of scientific names.


Objective 1 Identify examples of biodiversity at the genetic, species, and/or ecosystem level.

Objective 2 Identify how humans benefit from biodiversity.

Objective 3 List and discuss human impacts on biodiversity
• Habitat destruction- habitat restoration
• Invasive Species
• Population growth (human)
• Pollution
• Overharvesting

Structure and Function

Objective 1 Identify the basic structures and functions that allow organisms to obtain and use energy.
(Includes: unicellular, multicellular, animal, and plant)

Objective 2 Identify the basic structures and functions that allow organisms to exchange
(Includes: unicellular, multicellular, animal, and plant)

Objective 3 Identify the basic structures and functions that allow organisms to rid itself of
(Includes: unicellular, multicellular, animal, and plant)

Objective 4 Identify the basic structures and functions behind the transport of essential materials
in an organism.
(Includes: unicellular, multicellular, animal, and plant)

Objective 5 Identify the basic structures and explain the functions that allow an organism to pass on genetic information for the survival of the species.
(Includes: unicellular, multicellular, animal, and plant)


Objective 1 Identify reactants and products in biochemical reactions.

Objective 2 Identify the structure and function of macromolecules .
(Includes Carbohydrates, Nucleic Acids, Lipids, and Proteins)

Objective 3 Recognize the function of enzymes

Objective 4 Recognize the relationship of photosynthesis and cell respiration to cell energetics

Organization of Cells

Objective 1 Identify the basics components of cell theory.
•All living things are made of cells.
•Cells are the basic unit of structure and function.
•All cells come from pre-existing cells.

Objective 2 Compare and contrast eukaryotic with prokaryotic cells.
Major considerations include: •presence of a nucleus.
•Presence of membrane bound organelles.
•both living.
•both have plasma membranes and ribosomes.

Objective 3 Classify cell organelles according to their contribution to overall cell functions.
Include the following functions: Tansport (plasma membrane)
Energy ( chloroplast,mitochondria)
Manufacturing of macromolecules (ribosome)
Homeostasis (plasma membrane)
Structure (cell wall)

Objective 4 Compare and contrast plant cells and animal cells.
Features that distinguish plant from animal cells.

Objective 5 Recognize the cell processes that regulate the flow of substances in and out of the cell body.
Distinguish between: diffusion – osmosis – passive transport – active transport

Objective 6 Recognize that the cell cycle provides for genetic continuity, cell division, growth, and repair.


Objective 1 Recognize evolution as change over time.

Objective 2 Recognize that natural selection is the primary process for evolutionary change.
(State the basic principles of natural selection)

Objective 3 Recognize the factors that lead to speciation

Objective 4 Recognize evidences that support the theory of evolution.
(e.g. molecular, homology, embryology, fossil, etc.)

Objective 5 Demonstrate an understanding that evolutionary theory provides an explanation
for the diversity of life on Earth.

17 responses so far

Jul 21 2008

NCLB= more high school dropouts

Filed under Classroom Rantings

Here is antoher article I found: http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/no-child-left-behind-more-high-school-dropouts-15531.html  I think it is interesting that what was intended to help students is in fact harming them.  I personally have no problem holding teachers accountable as long as students can also be held accountable.  We all know that each student learns differently and some are not able to learn as much as others, but the students that do not care about their education need to be held accountable too.  Then you have some school disticts who are really trying to get the kids do improve and others that put band-aids over gaping wounds.  Well now I am off in other directions.  Read the article and let me know how you feel

2 responses so far

Jul 09 2008

Teaching High School Science

Filed under Classroom Rantings

Here is another link to an article on teaching in hisgh school: http://www.thechemblog.com/?p=755 The author talks about parents being too involved or not enough and the state mandating too many things.  He ends the post with:

“To be a teacher these days requires more than just starry eyed optimism, it requires blind idealism.

In all, I wouldn’t do it. That noise is for chumps.”

While I agree to some extent to what he says I do not think teaching is for chumps.  I am however an optimist.  Tell me what you think.

2 responses so far

Jul 08 2008

Chemistry can be fun

Filed under chemistry

I found this post as I was looking around. http://www.creativereview.co.uk/crblog/chemistry-can-be-fun/ Take a look at the video here. Is this something you would show your class? I think it is creative. How would you use it in class. Are there other thing you have done or found that you use and how?

No responses yet

Jul 03 2008

Using blogs in a science class

Since I am new to blogging, I am not fully aware of how to use this tool for my students and I am sure there are many others out there who are in the same boat. I am thinking about having my Environmental Science students doing journal entries similar to those in A Sand County Almanac as we read that book. I was also thinking about having them blog some research projects throughout the year. How have you all used this in your class. Not just in Science but other classes. Let us know what works and what does not. Thanks again.

No responses yet

Jul 03 2008

Chemistry Curriculum

Filed under chemistry

At my school we are looking into our chemistry curriculum with the idea of changing it. We are looking at many different areas including topics to cover and the depth versus breadth argument. I am looking for a little dialog about what and how things should be covered for a Chemistry class. We only have one level of chemistry in our school so this would be for all chem students.

Let me give you a little background. Freshman at our school take Biology, then as sophomores the more advanced students take chemistry while those who are weaker take physical science (a one semester intro to Chem and one semester into to physics with Earth Science sprinkled in). There are many students who take chemistry as Juniors after they have completed the physical science class. Even though the Juniors coming out of physical science have some chem background, the sophomores tend to outscore them on tests.

Anyway, I am hoping to get some ideas out there about topics and how much time/depth of covering them. There are times with I think we should stick with a few main topics and cover them very deeply and in the process we will cover some of the other things they may encounter in the future, and then I go to the other side and feel the students should be exposed to as much as we can cram in during the year. Let me know how you teach and what works best for you.

No responses yet

Jul 02 2008

Message from a Student

Filed under Classroom Rantings

I had a student this year in my AP Chemistry class who was very smart and, when he put the time in, was the best in the class. He chose to goof around most of the time and was getting a “C” in the class during the second semester. He felt he could be getting an “A” if he applied himself and did not want to ruin his GPA so he dropped out of the class with about 8 week to the end of the year.

I received an email from him today. He has his binder from class and he is keeping it in a special place as his motivation as he goes to college. Let me quote him on this, “to me, it symbolizes that I do have the potential to beat even the smartest students when I really study and put my mind to it. Yet, it is a class that also symbolizes the horrible effects of bad work ethic, poor decision making, and of course, laziness. Furthermore, AP Chemistry was one of the first classes that taught me there is no reason in blaming others for one’s problems, nor can one make excuses, especially when someone else in the same class is successful.”

Now how much chemistry did he learn? Who cares! I think he just did a LOT of growing up. He learned what he needs to do at college and in the future. I still think he learned some great chemistry, but at his point in his life, he will be a college freshman next year, I think the life lesson he got from it is much more important.

4 responses so far

Jul 02 2008

Hello world!

Filed under Uncategorized

Welcome to my new blog. I am very new to the world of blogging, But I think I can get the hang of it. I have been teaching high school science classes in the Chicago land area since 1994. I have taught many Science classes including Physics (independent study), Ecology, Biology, ESL Biology (now it would be ELL), Physical Science, Chemistry, and AP Chemistry. I have also taught at Biology classes in a few Local Community Colleges. I am currently looking forward to a new class I have started at my high school Environmental Science.

While doing research for my new class (along with my old ones) I have found some resources but they are scattered all over the internet. I am hoping to build a community of science teacher to share their lessons, ideas, frustrations, thoughts, worksheets, labs, and what ever else so we can all be better teachers. I would like to put together information in categories and get it nicely organized, but I need your help. If you have any ideas or anything you would like to contribute please let me know. Thanks and happy bogging to all!!

One response so far