Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bacteria and Viruses

Bacteria are single celled prokaryotic organisms. Bacteria have one of three basic shapes: spherical, rodlike or spiral.

When bacteria have plenty of food, the right temperature, and other suitable conditions, they thrive and reproduce frequently.

Bacteria reproduce by binary fission, a process in which one cell divides to form two identical cells. Binary fission is a form of asexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is a reproductive process that involves only one parent and produces offspring that are identical to the parent. Sexual reproduction involves two parents who combine genetic material to produce a new organism that is different from both parents. Some bacteria perform a simple form of sexual reproduction called conjugation. In conjugation, one bacterium transfers some of its genetic material into another bacterium.

Many bacteria can survie harsh conditions by forming edospores.

Bacteria are involved in oxygen and food production, environmental recycleing and cleanup, and health maintenance and medicine production.

A virus is a tiny, nonliving particle that enters and then reproduces inside a living cell. The organism that a virus enters and multiplies inside is called a host. Viruses are smaller than cells and vary in shape and size.

All viruses have two basic parts: a protein coat that protects the virus and an inner core made of genetic material. After a virus attaches to a host cell, it enters the cell. Once inside a cell, a virus' genetic material takes over many of the cell's functions. It instructs the cell to produce the virus' proteins and gentic material. These proteins and gentic material then assemble into new viruses.

An active virus immediately takes over the cell's functions, and uses them to produce the virus' protein and gentic material. When the host cell is full of new viruses, it bursts open and releases the new viruses.

Biomes and Biodiversity

The six major biomes on Earth are rain forest, desert, grassland, deciduous forest, boreal forest and tundra. It is mostly the climate in an area that determines its biome.

Rain Forests- Tropical rain forests are warm and humid and found near the equator. The abundant plant life in tropical rain forests provides habitats for many species of animals

Deserts- A desert is an area that receives less than 25 centimeters of rain each year. Desert organisms are adapted to lack of rain and extreme temperatures.

Grasslands- Most grasslands receive between 25 and 75 centimeters of rain each year. Grasslands do not get enough rain to support trees.

Deciduous Forests - The trees found in deciduous frests shed their leaves and grow new ones each year. These forests receive at least 50 centimeters of rain each year.

Boreal Forests - Boreal forests contain coniferous trees, which produce their seeds in cones and have leaves shaped like needles. Winters in boreal forests are long, cold, and snowy.

Tundra - The tundra is extremely cold and dry. Most of the soil is frozen all year long.

Aquatic Ecosystems - Freshwater ecosytems include streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes, while oceans, seas, and some marshes make up saltwater ecosytems. An estuary is found where the fresh water of a river meets the salt water of the ocean . Between the highest high-tide lien and the lowest low tide line is the intertidal zone. The aquatic ecosystems are home to more organisms on Earth than any other ecosystem.


From their surroundings, living things obtain food, water, shelter, and other things they need to live, grow and reproduce.

A single organism belongs to a population that includes other memebers of its species. The population belongs to a community of different species. The community and abiotic factors together form an ecosystem.

Every organism has a variety of adaptations that are suited to its specific living conditions.

There are three major types of interactions among organisms: competition, predation, and symbiosis. The three types of symbiotic relationships are mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism.

Each of the organisms in an ecosystem fills the enrgy role of producer, consumer, or decomposer. The moveemnt of energy through an ecossytem can be shown in a diagram called food chains and food webs.

The water, carbon and nirogen cycles are responsible for moving much of the earth's matter continuously through ecosystems. The water cycle is a continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back. Producers, consumers, and decomposers recycle carbon. In the nitrogen cycle, nitrogen moves from the air to the soil, into living things, and back into the air.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taking a Test

Today all of the students in the 8th grade took a Writing Test.

Tests are easy?

Tests are hard?

Do you think that your teachers over prepared you for this writing test?

Do you think that your teacher did not prepare you enough for this writing test?

How do you think that you will score? Is this test score important to you?

Why do we test so much?

Science is so HARD!!!!

i just can't agree with this. science is SOOOO easy.

we have been 'doing' science since we were babies.

  1. we look at 'stuff'

  2. we wonder about 'it'

  3. we investigate 'it' with our senses

  4. kinda figure 'it' out

  5. we ask more questions about 'it'

  6. get some more answers 'it'

no matter what "IT" is, this is what everyone does, and this is what science is all about.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Punnett Square

A Punnett square is a chart that shows all possible combinations of alleles that can result from a genetic cross. The possible alleles from one parent are written across the top and the possible alleles from the other parent are written down the left side. The combined alleles in the boxes of the Punnett squre represent all the possible combinations in the offspring. Ina genetic cross, the allele that each parent will pass on to its offspring is based on probablility.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heredity and Genetics

An organism's traits are controlled by the alleles it inherits from its parents. In a genetic cross, the allele that each parent will pass on to its offspring is inherited based on prbability. An organisms's phenotype is its physical appearance, or visible traits. An organism's genotype is its genetic makeup, or allele combinations.

Chromosomes are made up of many genes joined together like beads on a string. According to the chromosome theory of inheritance, genes are carried from parents to their offspring on chromosomes. During meiosis, the chromosome pairs separate and are distributed to two diffent cells. The resulting sex cells have only half as many chromosomes as the other cells in the organism.

The order of the nitrogen bases along a gene fomrs a genetic code that specifies what type of protein will be formed. During protein synthesis, the cell uses information from a gen on a chromosome to produce a specific protein. Mutations can cause a cell to produce an incorrect protein during protein synthesis. As a result, the organism's traits or phenotype, may be different from what it normally would have been.

Some human traits are controlled by single genes with two alleles, and others by single genes with multiple alleles. Still other traits are controlled by many genes that act together. The sex chromosomes carry genes that determine whether a person is male or female. They also carry genes that determine other traits.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Cells are the basic unit of structure and function in living things.

The cell theory states: All living things are composed of cells; cells are the basic unit of structure and function in livings things, all cells are produced from other cells.

Many of the compounds found in living things contain the element carbon. Most compounds that contain carbon are called organic compounds. Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids are important groups of organic compounds in living things. Compounds that do not contain the element carbon are called inorganic compounds.

Diffusion is the main method by which small molecules move across the cell membrane. Many cellular processes depend on osmosis. The main difference between passive transport and active transport is that active transport requires the cell to use its own energy while passive transport does not.

All living things obtain energy either directly or indirectly from the energy of sunlight. Photosynthesis is a process in which plants and some other organisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose. During respiration, cells break down simple food molecules such as sugar and release the energy they contain. Fermentation provides energy for cells without using oxygen.

During interphase, the cell grows, makes a copy of its DNA, and prepares to divide into two cells. During mitosis, one copy of the DNA is distributed into each of the two daughter cells. During cytokinesis, the cytoplasm divides, distributing the organelles into each of the two new cells.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Characteristics of Living Things

Living things all share a few common characteristics. Living things are made of cells, contain similar chemicals, use energy, respond to their surroundings, grow and develop, and reproduce. All organisms need water food, living space , and stable internal conditions. Homostasis is the process by which an organism's internal environment is kept stable ins pite of changes in external environment.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A (The) Scientific Method

Every science class that you will ever take will begin by refreshing or reteaching "THE" scientific method. But, I like to think of it as "A" scientific method.

Everyone of us uses our five senses to investigate the world around us. We are all naturally investigative scientist. These are a few of the skills to be a true scientist. Other skills such as inferring and predicting are equally important. Scientific attitudes play an important part in all investigations as well, to include, curiosity, honesty, open-mindedness, skeptiscism and creativity.

The steps of "A" scientific method-
1. Make an observation,
2. Ask a question,
3. Form a hypothesis,
4. Conduct an experiment,
5. Collect data - accept or reject hypothesis.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Doing Science Safely

Good preparation helps you stay safe when doing scientific investigations.

An accident happens because of the lack of forthought.

Always read procedures before beginning any investigaton.

Follow all written and oral directions.

When an accident occurs, not matter how minor, notify your teacher immediately

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Do you guys realize how really cool the EMS is? The EMS explains, organizes, and lets us explore the all of the energy in the Universe. WOW that is a lot. I wish I had done the LASER lab with you. Sometimes, though, there is just never enough time to do what we want to do, but, there is always enough time to do what we have to do. Thank you guys, for doing what I ask every day, even though sometimes it is tough!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Day on the Dock

How much do you guys really learn when we spend an entire day on the dock? We are outside, we see things that could never been seen or felt inside. Some of the best discussions or feedback I have ever received from you guys has been when we are outside. We have collected really good data on most days. But, you tell me, what do you really LEARN?????

Friday, November 9, 2007

What do you see when you think of our world in twenty years?

Global Warming

Habitat Destruction

Endangered Species

Pollution-land & air

Energy Consumption

Fossil Fuels

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Alternative Energy

YOU are the future. Your parents, your grandparents, even your bothers and sisters, they are not going to change anything about the future, but you are, because you want to. Soon you will have the knowledge to make the change. You guys are the future, it's a big responsibility, but it is yours.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why do you have to be like that?

Some days in your class, all I feel like I do is correct behavior. Why you gotta be like that? All I want to do is laugh and learn. Somebody does something that just blows my Zen. Some guy wrote this book about the simple rules of life----

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.
Share everything.
Play fair.

Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at ]

Keep your hands and feet to yourself and your voices at a decent decibel and everything will be alright with me :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Workbook Pages

How hard is it to open a book and answer a few questions? It is not like the questions are really that hard. Okay, some of the questions are really hard, but, if you read the text or ask a few questions before you turn in the assignment you will earn a good grade.

So the school district spends a bucket of money on workbooks and textbooks for YOU.

In the scope of life, doing your homework will make a difference. Not only will you understand what I am talking about, but other people out there in the world actually use the same vocabulary that are found on these pages that are assigned. I don't really care about grades. It is just a symbol on a paper but, what i do care about is that you learn in my class.

Turning in your workbook pages is what makes the difference of having a "D/F" or a "A/B" in my class. This is what your parent's care about, they can't see what you are doing in my class or in other classes, thus the symbol on the paper.....and for some of you guys out there you should be glad I don't give out "G's"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

An afternoon of trash pick up

Worthless or discarded material or objects; refuse or rubbish.
Something broken off or removed to be discarded

We picked up a bunch of trash today. Not just on the beach, but everywhere around school. Last week Ms Mauro's classes picked up too, every where that we did today.

Where does it come from? How did it get there? Why is there so much?

Where do you put your trash? Do you always make sure it gets into a receptical that will be emtied and taken to an appropriate place to be disposed of properly?

Do you always through your stuff away? And, where is AWAY? Sounds like a field trip to me :)

One more thing, I just want to say, "I was wrong! A.M. Honors class is WAY better!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


What is it?
How do you make it?
Why would you want to?
Where does this fit into science?

Solid, Liquid, Gas.....
So we made Oobleck...can you really tell what is a solid and liquid now and how it gets to be either a solid or a liquid. What about a gas, can Oobleck be a gas? (hint: Only if you eat it.) Is there anything else out there besides sand and water that acts like this substance we call Oobleck?

Do you love the way Oobleck feels in your hands? What about when it drys there?

Tell me something about Oobleck.