In 2009/2010, I taught biology to my older son, then 12, and his 13-year-old buddy. We meet weekly for two to three hours, with a goal of learning the equivalent of a year of high school biology. I used the New York State Regents Exam (
) as a marker of our progress. Both boys passed the exam with ease, noting it was easier than the exams I’d given them throughout the year. What follows is a list of our resources and a summary of these studies, week by week. If you have questions, I’m glad to answer them. Here’s a link to the website I created for the course: MacLeod Biology (Tests are available in PDF form on the bottom of the resources page. Links on MacLeod Biology are NOT updated.)
Blog Posts Specific to This Class:
Think through the questions at the top of the page as you explore the sections in the directions.
Review the way different microscopes work, noting the size of particles and organisms best viewed by each instrument.
You’ve probably seen this before, but it’s a good reminder about the diversity of size in the universe.
Watch all three animated videos under “Cell Structure and Membranes”
Euglena lab. Do in class, turn in report next week.
Onion cell lab. Do in class, turn in report next week.
Study this site — the bottom example defines and explains hypotonic, hypertonic, and isontonic solutions.
This is a 13 minute lecture on ionic and covalent bonds. Read the book before you watch. We’ll discuss this more on Wednesday.
Simple and straightforward glycolysis
Go through the whole thing– key concepts, lab, quiz. Take your time and LEARN from the process!
Do this virtual experiment before you write up your lab.
— Same website. Take this stage of the tour.
Carefully study meiosis and mitosis, step by step.
General genetic site. Good for ideas for research.
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/dna/ Do the two interactive activities in the middle, under “Translation and Transcription”
Way Life Works, Chapter 5 questions
Prepare a list of resources you’ll use for your genetics project and a basic plan.
— look at before the test
— go through the entire experiment, including the introduction, key concepts (skip quiz). **This is tricky!** Don’t worry about the chi square material. The point is working backwards from children to parents to determine the genotype of the parents. This material is a warm-up for new info — it’s not on the test.
Okay, there’s quite a bit of material here, but if you study this, it will help you on the test. Do watch at least the first section on Mendel, since we’ve spent the least amount of time on this information.
Take the test when you’re ready (study first, keep some sense of time of test-taking). I have two shorter pages to have you do in class on Wednesday (can’t link to them). Good luck! See files section for test.
* Work on your genetics projects. I’ll talk a bit about that on Jan 6. It’s due on Jan 13th.
Readings: Experiments in Plant Hybridization (Mendel) in the Nature of Life
Assignments:Content and Application Questions at end of Mendel reading. Be ready to discuss discussion questions.
Campbell: Review blood typing (hopefully the cards will be in!)
Exploring the Way Life Works: Chapter 6
Campbell: Chapter 20.12 and 20.13
Remember to turn in written genetics project, Mendel questions.
Complete three test pages given week 14 to do at home.
Chapter 6 questions.
Review blood typing if you didn’t last time. The cards are in!! Prepare to bleed.
Campbell: Chapter 17. Read carefully. Questions will be due Feb 3.
Homeostasis and the human body and in animals. We’ve done the lab in the past.
Complete questions for dragon genetics lab (
Project alert: Working together, you two will develop a project on bacteria. We’ll talk more about this in class.
None assigned, but reviewing ch. 17 in Campbell encouraged
– Read and DIGEST the first page of this website. Exploring encouraged.
Assignments Due: Campbell: Chapter 17 questions (multiple choice, true/false)
Class: Using prepared agar plates, culture various places around the house (pet water bowl, kitchen floor, faucet handle, etc). Label the plates and place them in the incubator to be checked in a few days. Then, examine the plates WITHOUT OPENING THEM. Draw and describe what you see — number of colonies, number of different colonies, amount of growth overall. Write a lab report about your lab, your findings, and what might be a way to study the bacteria in your home further.
Readings: Read the articles from Scientific American (genetics related, picked by students)
Watch the 8 minute clip and read through the links. And then wash your hands.
Spoiler alert: The bacterium doesn’t make it.
Lab report for the lab on the survey of bacteria in the house.
Class: Examine petri dishes with cleaner, made growth medium using beef broth, sugar, and plain gelatin (nothing plated on these yet), and set up trisected petri dishes with four different antibiotics. Dry antibiotics were crushed and rehydrated with sterile water. Paper towel squares soaked in the antibiotic solutions were placed on the trisected plates. (Alternative lab here with kit.)
Readings: Campbell Ch. 20 and 21, first two sections of questions for both. Check your own work.
Lab report for cleaning supplies. Include the definitions of an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiseptic.
S: Lab from first petri dishes and paragraph on antibiotic resistance (what it is, why is occurs, what we can do about it)
Be ready to discuss the digestive system.
**Research questions of the week: A: digestive enzymes and what they need to work (and where they work)
S: absorption of nutrients and water — what gets taken up where.
Labs on amylase and pepsin. Inquiry style. Each student does some research, makes a hypothesis, plans and experiment, and executes it. (No written source for this. They had to design their owl lab to examine the effects of pepsin and amylase on different food substances, determining the action of those chemicals by observation and then further inquiry. This required quite a bit of support initially, but they found there way. The process of designing an experiment was the key.)
Reading: Campbell Ch. 22 and 23
: Okay, not part of the lessons, but I really liked the albino mice cookies and the petri dish cookies. See? Biology IS fun.
First two sections of questions for Ch 22 and 23. Be ready to discuss the circulatory system and respiratory system.
Lab report on antibiotics
Lab report on your digestive enzyme
Class: Discussion of cardiovascular and respiratory system. Examine the effect of exercise on resting pulse rate. How fast does your pulse return to normal?
There’s quite a bit here, but it’s worth reading carefully.
Biology Coloring Book pages on respiratory, circulatory, and digestive system. Also complete the page on the heart.
Start discussing what system you want to creat a video on. Remember, clearly explain and illustrate the workings of the system then discuss a few potential problems. Email, call each other, meet, whatever, but by Wed, have a game plan: system and problems. Document all resources!!!
Class: Sheep heart dissection. Fish dissection.
Readings: Campbell Ch 24 (focus especially on excretion and the mammalian kidney) and Ch 25
Complete the first three groups of questions for Chapter 24 and 25
Start studying for your test (due March 17th)
Continue planning your project on the cardiovascular system
Class: Dissect kidney and discuss.
Study for your test on the anatomy and physiology so far.
Take the test without notes or book when you are ready and send it to me by March 24
Class: Work on your project. It’s due on March 31!
Campbell Ch. 28
Websites:This is an 18 minute video of Oliver Sacks, a renowned neurologist and writer, talking about visual hallucinations in the blind. The mind is an amazing entity, and this talk gives a glimpse of that.
Assignments: Turn in test. Study diagrams of the eye and the brain
Class: Mammalian brain dissection.
Discuss nervous system
Readings: Campbell Ch 26. There’s quite a bit there. See the files for a study guide to do along with the chapters to focus your reading.
Assignments: Study sheets for the nervous system and endocrine system. I’d STRONGLY advise doing these as you read and allowing them to focus your reading. No need to turn them in as long as I can tell in class that you’re reading well. Write down your answers, however. For the class on March 31, focus on the neurological system (ch 28) and endocrine system (ch 26).
Class: Discuss endocrine system.
Eye research lab.
Your circulatory system project is due today.
Readings: Read Chapter 27 in Campbell and read Ch. 7 in The Way Life Works.
Assignments: Finish study questions for the reproductive system. We’ll discuss the questions at the end of Chapter 7 in The Way Life Works on April 7th, so have read these through and given them thought.
Class: Discuss development and reproduction.
Eye Research lab due. Write as lab report. Document ALL sources you use.
Readings: Chapter 8 — The Way Life Works
This takes you through the development of a human in the uterus.
A short video on stem cells.
Assignments: Evolution essay: Write one to two pages (double spaced, please) on this topic: Are humans still evolving? Use what you already know about evolution to defend your position.
Readings: Re-read Chapter 8 in The Way Life Works if needed
Websites: Watch the three sections on evolutionary biology
Assignments: Questions at the end of Chapter 8 (The Way Life Works)
Class: We’ll discuss the essays about humans evolving and go over the questions at the end of chapter 8.
Readings: Campbell Ch 36 and 38 – read carefully and be ready to discuss. No questions due at this point. Websites:
Assignments: Write up a lab report on the beak lab we did. Propose an extension of this lab or modification to explore another parameter of feeding. For more on the lab itself, see
Look this over, print it out, be ready to ask questions about what you don’t understand or recall.
Assignments: Rewrite lab report following my notes.
Class: Review for final
FINAL EXAM REVIEW ANSWER LINK: