My morning class had the option to attend a career expo this morning. Some of my students helped out at the Biomedical Sciences booth and did an outstanding job engaging the high school freshmen and sophomores who stopped by our booth. (It probably helped that they were dissecting a cow eye.) Other members of the class spent the morning visiting many of the booths related to health careers. A couple of my students were excited to spend time talking with a director of a funeral home and made a great contact to utilize for future job shadowing and mentoring opportunities. The students had an opportunity to talk with professionals in the fields of nursing, pediatrics, occupational therapy, physical therapy, biomedical electronics, radiology, veterinary science, fire science and EMT. It was great to get out of the classroom and interact with medical professionals!
This week students have learned about chemical indicators and how we can use them to identify substances. After learning the process necessary for each indicator to work properly, students worked in teams to develop a procedure to test 3 food samples and Anna's stomach contents for four different molecules: glucose, starch, protein and lipid.
Speaking of Anna, we examined a partial toxicology report and her food log. After testing her stomach contents, students have a pretty good idea what she ate the morning she died and are making connections between her diet and her medical history.
Students spent some time investigating exactly how insulin is related to the level of glucose in the blood. After finding three solid sources and taking some notes, they formed teams to design a model to demonstrate the connection between glucose and insulin. Students prepared a short informal presentation using their models to demonstrate the normal connection between insulin and glucose in a healthy individual and then manipulated their models to show what happens in Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. The models turned out pretty well this year. I had one group tackle a computer animation and another group create a 3D model. All of the models had moveable pieces and did a great job showing the mechanism that brings glucose into the cells.
I am so proud of my students for demonstrating their understanding of some tough concepts on the unit 1 test. The average grade on Monday's test was an 89%. Keep up the hard work!
Today we started Unit 2 which investigates diabetes. Anna seems like she might have this disease, so we will spend some time examining her medical history and learning more about diabetes. Today we worked on a lab to "Diagnose Diabetes" by completing a simulated Glucose Tolerance Test and Insulin Level Test for Anna and two other patients. Students also learned how to use Microsoft Excel to create a basic line graph to showcase their results. Tomorrow we will learn more about the two types of diabetes and the role insulin plays in blood glucose regulation.
Check out our class evidence boards! They are works in progress and we will continue to revise them throughout the semester until we have figured out poor Anna's cause of death.
This week students were introduced to DNA analysis (and all of the tough vocabulary that comes with it). We used paper strips to simulate strands of DNA and scissors to represent restriction enzymes. The "restriction enzymes" cut the "DNA" at specific locations based on the order of the nucleotides. Next, students took their DNA fragments and taped them to a paper simulation of gel electrophoresis. Students were able to see that large RFLPs (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms) travel slowly in the gel and stay closer to the starting point than smaller RFLPs. They learned how to use the RFLPs to determine the DNA collected from the scene. I am so proud of their hard work with this difficult concept. We took a small quiz on Tuesday to check for understanding - our big unit test is on Monday, September 16th.
Over the last couple of days, students spent time designing an experiment to determine the Anna's height when the blood spatter occurred. We used our evidence to decide if Anna hit head while standing up or if Anna hit her head from a lesser height. Most students determine that a full height spatter could be due to an injury from another individual while a spatter from less than her full height might mean Anna hit her head while falling.