DNA Fingerprinting activity. Students used two restriction enzymes on the DNA samples. After running the DNA through the gel electrophoresis, they were able to determine the identity of the unknown person from last week's case report.
This is it. The big DNA Fingerprinting lab for my HBS students. Now that my teams have some basic information on the unknown bones, they will use DNA to determine the exact identity of our missing person. Today was a massive pre-lab effort to prepare for the actual lab tomorrow. We reviewed content from PBS and learned more about restriction enzymes. The students made their own 0.8% agarose gels today. Last year I did this step for my students, but I have since decided that this is a great lab skill for students to be exposed to. They get practice with a variety of lab equipment and get to reap the benefits of a job well done or experience the consequences of a not so great effort. We read over tomorrow's procedure and highlighted the major steps. It will take all of our two hour class to complete the DNA Detectives lab and the students will need to be ready to go as soon as they walk in the door. It's a great lab and I am looking forward to seeing what our results turn out like this year. I wish we did stuff like this when I was in high school!
Today we looked at the equations that predict height based on the long bones of the body. Students used their own bones to see if the equations correctly predicted their height. Next, the class produced tibia length data and pairs of students created Excel graphs to generate equations that would predict height based on the tibia. This lesson went well and and tied in nicely to algebra concepts many of the students remembered from previous math classes.
Your task: Figure out who these bones belong to. Students spent a couple of days in the role of forensic anthropologists as they studied four bones to determine gender, race, height and age. The teams of 4-6 students worked together to reach a conclusion. In the process they learned how to use calipers and collected both qualitative and quantitative data. In the days following, the teams developed a formal case report to highlight their findings. This is the first time I have used Google Docs with my students to write a collaborative paper and I must say that I have been very impressed with the results so far. PLTW focuses on collaborative work a lot and I am finding myself becoming more creative and with the use of technology to better accommodate projects.
Now that our Manikens have names and we know a little bit about tissue types, we used those tissue types to give our Manikens an identity. HBS uses these Manikens all semester. This was our first build of the class and the students did great! We learned about the tissues of the head and face and focused on three major muscles. I'm looking forward to matching our Manikens grow and become unique.
Today we looked at tissues. We read about tissues. We made concept maps about tissues. We looked at tissues under the microscope. We sketched tissues. It was a good day! As we prepare to begin working with our Anatomy in Clay Manikens, we are reviewing tissue types and how these tissues make us unique and give us an identity. Students labeled their Skeletal System Graphic Organizers (and their Manikens) with the names of the major bones found in the head. We also looked at three muscles found in the face. Next class we will build this tissues on our Manikens.
I gave my students a study guide over directional and regional terms prior to Christmas Break, but today was the day we started applying that information. We did a little research, labeled our Manikens (some students labeled one another), labeled body organizers and prepared for tomorrow's quiz. Speaking of Manikens (and yes, this is the correct spelling for our Manikens), they are great learning tools. Check out Anatomy in Clay for more information on this innovative anatomy tool. Students adopted their Manikens today - which means they decided if they were going to spend the semester as a single parent or linked to a parnter. They also chose their Manikens gender and name. We have a few rather interesting names this year.... After filling out their adoption certificate and agreement, we got down to business.
We also had several visitors today checking out the PLTW Biomedical Science program. We hope that all of our visitors choose to apply and join us next school year.
We enjoyed an extra week off thanks to about a foot of snow. I really enjoyed the time with my family, but I was ready to get back into the routine.
Our first day of course two - Human Body Systems - started with an examination of the body systems. Students did a little research to identify the major organs and functions of their assigned system and came up with a few "amazing" facts to share with the class. Each group did a mini-presentation on their system and the class helped make connections between the systems. Overall, it was a good first day back.
If you would like to know more about HBS check out our HBS Overview page.