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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reflection #6

How did you do on your work?
This week we spent a lot of time revisiting Mendelian genetics and chromosomes in general, and I think that I answered the vodcast questions well, and generally had a good sense of what was going on. I also was happily surprised by how much I remember about the genetics unit from advanced bio sophomore years. We also finished our activity yesterday quickly and I think got the overall concept.




What do you think you understand well?
I definitely understand Mendelian genetics really well, and how the Punnett squares work. I also understand the idea of crossing over pretty well, also and the idea of independent assortment. I have a good handle on cancer as well. 

Where do you think you can improve?
 I think I can improve on figuring out how to see the picture. I was a little confused by the gene placement on the chromosomes and about how cancer can vary so much just within one type. I also think I need to work on pulling all of these parts together, with mitosis, meiosis, chromosomes, genes, etc. so that I have a deeper understanding of what's really going on.



What strategies will you use to improve?
I think reviewing the material and my notes and trying to find connections between the different subjects will help me a lot. As opposed to having a lot of it go right over my head when I'm writing down vodcast notes, I need to review what I'm writing and make sure I have a thorough understanding of everything. 

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course? 
This all comes back to genetic variation and populations, when it comes to reproduction and chromosomes. This also comes back to DNA, because that is what chromosomes are composed of and is a look deeper into offspring and how their traits are inherited. It also comes back to probability, and the overall makeup of the human population. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

3-2-1 Analysis

3 things I learned from the activity:
The first thing I learned is that there is a lot more variation between patients with the same type of cancer than I thought. The second thing that I learned was that there are also some small similarities between entirely different cancers, including the same genes that are affected by the cancer. I also learned that there are certain chromosomes that are more likely to be affected by the cancer, such as chromosome 17.

2 things that surprised or interested me:
I was surprised that colorectal cancer is now being seen in younger people, and I'm interested to see if they will be able to prove effectively that it is related to the obesity epidemic. I also was interested by the fact that some cancers affected a lot of genes and some affected only two.

1 question I still have:
How can these cancers vary so much within the same type?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reflection for Week of March 5 through March 10

How did you do on your work?
This week, I think I did well on my work because I understood the vodcast questions and I was able to finish the packet from class without a lot of trouble. I worked pretty efficiently and I was glad I worked hard in class so my homework wasn't as bad. I also was able to make up some work because I missed school.

What do you think you understand well?
I think I understand the cell cycle and the checkpoints well. We spent a lot of time on it sophomore year, and I actually find myself remembering a lot of the information. Some of the chromosome information is a little confusing to me, about remembering haploid and diploid, etc. otherwise, I think I understand everything else pretty well.

Where do you think you can improve?
In terms of improvement, I am only confused really on some of the chromosomes transfer numbers, so I could just rewatch those vodcasts to ensure that I have a grasp on all of the concepts. Also, I still need to slow down when watching the vodcasts because I often rush through them, as I am crunched for time. If I slow down I think I would save time in the long run in terms of understanding. I also should begin studying this weekend for the bio test because I have a lot of skiing and missed school coming up.

What strategies will you use to improve?
Whoops I guess I already sort of answered this, I want to slow down when watching the vodcasts at home to make sure I have a better understanding. I also will begin reviewing vodcasts for the test as well.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?

The work we are currently doing pulls everything back into just cells and the basics of how they work. But it also brings it back into DNA replication and the overall process in which it occurs. It also starts to relate back to variation, and how it occurs with mutations and chromosomes, which was involved in earlier units.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


 Reflection for Week of February 28th through March 3rd

How did you do on your work?
This week was largely spent on the PCR lab, and while I had a lot of fun doing it, and I thought I did it well, I was disappointed that I didn't get any real data. I felt like I had a really good grasp of PCR, and I felt pretty confident on the quiz as well. The virus vodcast made a lot of sense to me as well, besides a few specifics that I think I can get that cleared up soon.

What do you think you understand well?
I understand PCR really well I think, and I feel pretty confident on actually performing it as well. I also think viruses made a lot of sense to me, though I think I need to back that up a little bit more. Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am.

Where do you think you can improve?
In terms of improvement, I need to get a better grasp of the lab we are completing. I understood everything that had to do with PCR, but right now I feel like I'm not getting the bigger picture of what the analysis is and how it is translating into a major write up lab. 
 
What strategies will you use to improve?
 I think my understanding of the lab could improve if I reread everything we did in class. I think I was rushing for most of it and didn't take the time to fully comprehend what we were doing at the time. I'll also try to thoroughly answer the questions that go with it, because I think that will help me further understand it as well.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
The work we are currently doing pulls everything back into the genetics part of the course, especially with Hardy Weinberg and even chromosomes and DNA replication. PCR also fits well into our look into modern day science, as it is utilized often in the science world. Learning about cloning, etc. puts a new spin onto DNA replication and the reproduction we had previously learned about. Also, the new information about the ethics of "designer babies" is a different perspective about the randomness of replication.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

 Reflection for Week of February 6th

How did you do on your work?
 I think I did well on my work this week, particularly keeping up with the vodcast. I finished it early and I didn't have to worry about it for the rest of the week. I took a little long on the quiz on Friday, so I didn't get as much done with the project as I would have wanted to. I have some work to do on it this weekend as well.

 What do you think you understand well?
I definitely understood the components of DNA replication and protein synthesis really well this week, even down to the nitty gritty. I spent a lot of time studying for the quiz and I felt really confident with the material. The project actually really helped with my understanding of transcription and translation. Most of the biotechnology stuff made sense to me, and the ethics part really had me questioning myself and also wondering what the world is going to do in the future about it.

 Where do you think you can improve?
I could improve with maybe being more focused while taking notes, instead of just writing down the words and not totally paying attention to what is being explained- this is still a problem for me as I'm usually trying to get my homework done efficiently. I also think I should spend more time drawing and understanding the diagrams still, because sometimes the visualization is harder for me.

 What strategies will you use to improve?
I think improvement could be with using my time more wisely, especially with the project. We made a few mistakes and had to start over, and this could have been avoided if we made a sort of storyboard prior to starting filming and cleared it with Mrs. Cole. I also could maybe start studying for the quiz earlier in the week. I also can just set aside more time for the vodcast in general, and turn off any distractions during it.

 How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
As I said last week, DNA is obviously important when it comes to biology and our reasoning for knowing about it is the same as I said before. The objectives and connections are largely identical as well, because this week was mostly an application of what we have been learning. But we have also learned more about biotechnology this week and I think these major parts are fitting in as more of a modern biology aspect, because the ethical issues with biotechnology right now are being debated heavily.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Week Standards: [4.1, 4.2]
How did you do on your work?
 I think I did well on my work this week, because the packets both went smoothly and I was able to follow the vodcasts for the most part, because we already learned most of it in advanced biology. I think I answered the vodcast questions thoroughly, although some were a little challenging.

 What do you think you understand well?
I definitely understood all of the components from this week fairly well, though on a broader scale. I get the idea of all of the parts of DNA replication, I just don't think I understand the most detailed aspects of them, and the exact function of everything involved in the process.

 Where do you think you can improve?
I could improve with maybe being more focused while taking notes, instead of just writing down the words and not totally paying attention to what is being explained. I also think I should spend more time on the diagrams, because sometimes the visualization is harder for me.

 What strategies will you use to improve?
I think improvement will come with just reviewing my notes, and working on the memorization. Supplemental videos usually help as well, and discussing the last vodcast in class will also help clear up a few things I am confused about. 

 How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of the course?
DNA is obviously important when it comes to biology, as it is the blueprint for a lot that goes on in our body, so our understanding of it is crucial for a biology course. It is the basis of genetics and heredity, and we have learned about those in our evolution unit as well, with things like the founder effect and the bottleneck effect. It also has a lot to do with proteins, and we have learned a lot about enzymes, etc. previously.