We made it to unit 4! Our first area of focus for "Movement" is on the joints and range of motion. Students completed two labs - one to check out the elbow of a cow and the other to make ROM measurements on their partners.
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.