Monday, May 29, 2017

Reflection for May 22nd-May 24th

I missed a few days this week because I spent the weekend at Camp Sunshine, but I think I'm still in okay shape for the final project. I have decided to make a poster- one panel for refuting incorrect assumptions about bipolar disorder, one for facts about bipolar disorder, and one the presence of the disorder in the valley/how we can raise awareness for it here. I have typed up nearly all of my notes at this point, so all I need to do is change fonts and edit a little bit because a lot of it is in bullet form. I would prefer that they panel on myths was in full sentences. I will also want to decorate it with relevant images, and possibly graphs/charts to back up my data.

The last major step I need to take is to call Memorial Hospital and Northern Human Services to ask for local data. If I can't find any, I will just use state facts and compare proportions with the number of people in the valley. I will also need to write a bit about the lack of mental health education in school settings, and that people need to know more in general. That's why I'm also going to make a flyer that debunks this common misconceptions that are crucial for the public to know.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Update on Genius Hour: May 14th through the 19th

So I have completely changed my genius hour project. Who knew that finding a largeish desert cactus would pose such a difficult problem? Anyways, due to my inability to find a cactus that was larger than a gift store cactus, I decided to switch my project to align more with my lit paper. I'm now going to be doing an in depth analysis of bipolar disorder, as well as trying to find some local statistics on bipolar disorder in the valley (maybe from Memorial Hospital?) or by using New Hampshire statistics and doing proportions to find the expected value of the number of people with the illness here. I also would like to talk about ways that we can raise awareness for the disease, along with other mental illnesses, and to dispel myths that are often associated with it. Social stigma regarding mental illness is still a major problem in our society, and though there has been a lot of progress in minimizing it, we are nowhere near perfect. I'm thinking that I'm going to be making a poster board with one panel for each thing. One side will be bipolar disorder in our community and dispelling myths, etc., one will be about bipolar disorder in general (educating) and the other will be about how we can end the stigmatizing of mental illness (educating, interacting, etc.). I'm really hoping that memorial will be able to give me some real stats but I'm not sure that's going to be possible. I'm currently in the process of typing up all of my notes for the project, and putting the finishing touches on the research. I still need to call Memorial, etc.

The last thing we did this week was listen to Lizzy's sister talk about college and what it was like to be a bio major. I loved the talk! It was great to hear that she took time off, as I am planning on taking a gap year abroad as well. I learned a lot (like how I need to keep up with my schooling while away) and I felt like I had a much better idea of what it will be like. I was happy to hear about how the research internship process works, and it's good to know that we need to get started early. It was also good advice about starting out strong, and making real connections with professors. I'll definitely keep it all in mind.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reflection for May 8th through 12th
 
How did you do on the work?
This week started off with the AP exam, which went okay for me. In terms of knowing the content I felt pretty good besides a few things, it was just my time management that I struggled with. I ended up leaving a few questions blank that I knew the answers too, but oh well. At least I know I can feel confident with my knowledge of the course materials. The rest of the week was spent on genius hour, and I really like how my project is coming together. I hope that it works, and I think I'm prepared and ready to go.

What do you think you understand well?
I think I understand the concepts behind the research for my project, which is crucial for when I end up writing a conclusion, etc. and basically interpreting my data/results. I get how the cactus guts are able to attract the sediment/bacteria and clean water, but I want to see it myself. I also understand how the experiment in general is supposed to be set up, and the steps I need to take to start my experiment and make sure it is well done.

Where do you think you could improve? 
I need to improve my time management for the experiment I think, because I keep forgetting that we only have a few weeks to do this, not a couple of months like the science fair.
 
What strategies will you use to improve?
I will make maybe some sort of small calendar, or at least a timeline of what I should be doing. I need to give myself time for the write up as well as data collection. I'm going to try to bring in most of my materials for tomorrow so I can get started on data collection as soon as possible to see if it actually works.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
This fits into the course because I am looking at bacteria, which is one of the major domains, and also the cohesion of these molecules from the cacti to the bad stuff in the water. Also, in a larger sense of the project, we are looking at how to set up a lab and test something, and then present and analyze the data for others to see. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Reflection for April 24th through 28th
 
How did you do on the work?
This week we did a lot of work with the lab, and with creating our own and doing analysis. We also did work with Paul Anderson's work. I felt like I did well on the community and ecosystem questions, and that our lab is pretty well done too. We definitely were ahead of the game because we typed as we worked on our lab document.

What do you think you understand well?
I definitely understand communities and ecosystems well- I like Paul Anderson's videos a lot because they're very clear and not super frilly. I also think I understand the concepts of transpiration pretty well, and why our data supported our hypothesis.
 
Where do you think you could improve?
I think I need to familiarize myself more with the units for transpiration and the vocabulary in terms of structure, like xylem and phloem.
What strategies will you use to improve?
I'll definitely look up videos and at our old notes about it to familiarize myself. Other than that I think I'm doing okay. 

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
This fits in because by looking at communities and ecosystems we are looking how populations interact and exist, and this ties into our natural selection/evolution part of the course, and even older stuff like symbiosis and photosynthesis.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Reflection for Week of April 10 through April 14

How did you do on your work?
The majority of work this week, besides the test, was heart work. I think the test went okay, and the heart work went great! I wasn't squeamish, and we had an awesome huge heart so we could see everything really clearly. I loved cutting it up and seeing inside, and found it much easier to learn about when the work was so hands on.

What do you think you understand well?
I think I understand meiosis etc. really well, and I'm actually feeling pretty good about some of the review material as well, as I have been trying to review before tests. I understand the heart really well now, like where the blood comes in and out, and how the valves work. I also understand more about the shape of the heart and how it connects to the organs around it. Overall I am feeling good about my understanding of recent topics.

Where do you think you can improve?
I felt pretty good on the test, which was the only real assessment we had this week besides the lab. I think I can improve in that I need to stop cram studying still, and to not make dumb mistakes on the test (which I know I did). Also for labs I find myself a little confused midway through and I definitely need to work on that because it slows down the process a decent amount.

What strategies will you use to improve?
To improve on tests, I just need to start reading the questions more thoroughly before diving into the answers. I know I made a dumb mistake on the free response that I knew the right answer to. As for labs, I think I need to start being more thorough in reading the labs the day before. I usually read them, but I definitely need to ensure that I understand the majority of it before starting actual lab work so I don't get halfway through and suddenly find myself very confused. Overall it seems like I just need to be more thorough in my work.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
This week, we did the summative assessment and our heart lab. The summative assessment was on everything we've learned in the past few weeks, most of which ties into reproduction and how DNA is inherited and how proteins are made. Now we have moved onto regulation of genes that are expressed, including gas exchange and circulation. The heart plays a key role in both of these processes, and is largely a mechanism of regulation in our bodies. We were able to get an (awesome) hands on view of one of the most important organs in our body.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Week Standards [4.9, 4.10, 4.11, 4.12, 5.1, 5.2]

How did you do on your work?
This week we spent the majority of the time working on the life processes paper. I think my group did really well, and may have actually done a bit too much research. Our paper was long but for someone studying it, it definitely covers the bases. I got my vodcasts done early which was awesome, and we also had a quiz. The vodcast questions weren't terrible, though I had to refer back to my notes often.

What did you understand well?
I think I understand meiosis pretty well, and I am pretty confident with differentiation because I learned a lot about it this summer at the lab. I think I understand gas exchange very well at this point, as well as even the other group projects. From previous classes I'm pretty familiar with circulatory and nutrition, though excretion less so. I also have a pretty good grasp of meiosis (mostly) and how differentiation works. I also think I understand how the embryo is developed, but less about plant development.

Where do you think you could improve?



For like the 700th week in a row, I really need to slow down on the vodcasts and take the time to understand what I'm hearing. My comprehension of 5.1 and 5.2 isn't what it should be and I think I can change that. I also should delve more into my vodcast answers, because often I think I am rushing and miss what I could have gained from writing a longer, more thorough answer. Also, I shouldn't save my quiz studying for the last minute because I think I didn't do as well on the quiz as I should have because I crammed on Sunday night.

What strategies will you use to improve?
For the 700th time again, I can improve by slowing down in the vodcast, or doing it quickly and then rewatching it. I'll start chunking out more time for myself to do them, so I don't always feel so rushed. For quiz studying I'll break it up over the course of a few days so I don't feel overwhelmed the night before with information. I am also hoping that my understanding of 5.1 and 5.2 will improve once we get around to discussing them.

How does this work fit I to the course description?

Currently we are doing a lot of work with early development and the creation of cells as well. This ties into DNA because we are now looking at the actual organisms that the DNA is expressed in (offspring) and what those newly created cells are capable of doing. We are also building on our previous knowledge of genes and seeing now how they are expressed and also how they are regulated. A lot of the stuff at the conference we went to at the beginning of the year is also making more sense to me.
 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Week Standards [4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8]

How did you do on your work?
I felt really good this week in terms of work. The review sheet we did was fine, although we procrastinated a little. The fly lab was really helpful and I did well I think, although the last cross threw me a loop about the dominant trait being lethal.

What do you think you understand well?
I understand the general Mendelian genetics stuff well, as well as the other forms like incomplete, co-dominant, etc.. I know how to do the Punnett squares as well, and the location of genes on chromosomes are making better sense to me at this point too.

Where do you think you can improve?
The recombinant thing with gene location makes sense to me in the form of the idea, but not really specifically, like where the numbers come from. Also, I'm pretty sure 4.12 went right over my head. I didn't realize until after when I was trying to answer the questions that I really had no idea what was going on at all.

What strategies will you use to improve?
 I'm gonna go look at the lab with the recombinant frequency again soon to get a better sense of it overall, and as for 4.12 I'm gonna look at my notes and probably the prezi again, as well as spend a large chunk of time in class discussing it (hopefully). I'll probably end up asking a ton of questions but oh well.
 
How does the work that we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
This is still tying into DNA and genetics because of gene expression (protein, transcription, translation, etc.). We are still focusing on the central dogma through this, and because of offspring this is also connecting to natural selection a bit as well.