Friday, September 30, 2011

Why we refrigerate: Temperature-dependent bacterial growth.

Today in class we began an experiment to explore bacterial diversity, and assess the influence of temperature on bacterial growth.  Students were give cotton swabs and petri dishes, and asked to make bacterial swabs in much the same way as a doctor tests for strep throat.  Students chose a location to test, and made two samples from the one location.  One of the samples was placed in a refrigerator, and the other in a warmer incubator.  On Monday, students will quantify bacterial growth, and pool data to make graphs to answer the question "Does temperature influence bacterial growth?"  Students will also get to see the diversity of growth forms and the broad environments bacteria inhabit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

9/22  We continued to develop Science fair questions and started working on developing hypotheses.  I found a great activity that the students very much enjoyed, and helped them better understand the process of science.  Click the link below!

Science Fair!

9/16-  Students brought in Science Fair questions, and we talked about sorts of questions are scientists able to answer, what qualities make a good questions, and talked about how one might go about answering questions.

Observation skills

This week I brought 3 species of hatchling turtles into the classroom- map, snapping and painted turtles.  Each pair of students was given a hatchling and required to make qualitative and quantitative observations.  Measurements and sketches of the carapace and plastron were made, as well written descriptions.  Part way through class, we mixed up turtles and descriptions, and their classmates tried to identify the turtle from the description.  We then critiqued what observations were most helpful for making the correct identification, and showed field guides (bird, reptile and insect guides) as a model for how these descriptions are  made by professionals.  Students loved getting to see the live turtles, and I think it helped them understand the importance of accurate, detailed note-taking.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

  This week, students shared their conceptions about the field of science and what scientists do.  I was able to more formally introduce myself to them by talking about my scientific background and the various projects I have worked on and places I have been as a scientist so far.  Here is a link to some photos showing my past and present research.