Extreme Biology Blog » Class Connection http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog Mon, 06 Jun 2011 15:15:28 +0000enhourly1http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.5Evolution of Birds Cladogram Practice http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2011/03/08/evolution-of-birds-cladogram-practice/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2011/03/08/evolution-of-birds-cladogram-practice/#commentsTue, 08 Mar 2011 14:14:40 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=2381Why? Why? Why?

Photo by Niznoz

Does the theory that birds are modern-day dinosaurs surprise you? Well, check out this website! Not only will it answer many of your questions, but it will give you great practice with cladograms. The exploration is very informative and highly entertaining.  Want more practice?  Check out this website.

Weekend Update: Cell Size and HeLa Cells http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2011/01/31/weekend-update-cell-size-and-hela-cells/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2011/01/31/weekend-update-cell-size-and-hela-cells/#commentsMon, 31 Jan 2011 16:07:57 +0000Student Grouphttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=2105

Photo source: Dalboz17 on Flickr

This is the first post in a new series.  Each Friday, students volunteer to submit a podcast summarizing what we did in class.  Thanks to Aurora, Deirdre, and Monica for bravely volunteering to submit the first podcast!

This week’s update discusses why cells are small, cancer cells, and the controversy over HeLa cells.

Invertebrate Poll http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/05/invertebrate-poll/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/05/invertebrate-poll/#commentsFri, 05 Mar 2010 02:16:43 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=834As a side note, I left out Phylum Chordata even though it does contain some invertebrates. ]]>http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/05/invertebrate-poll/feed/0Invertebrate Videos http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/04/invertebrate-videos/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/04/invertebrate-videos/#commentsThu, 04 Mar 2010 16:24:43 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=823

Nudibranch (Chromodoris kuniei) photo by Doug.Deep

In honor of our invertebrate lab and exploration of the animal kingdom, I’d like to invite you to hunt for some interesting invertebrate videos on the web.  I could really use videos for the following phyla:

  • Nematoda
  • Platyhelminthes
  • Annelida
  • Mollusca

But, any phylum will do.  Post a link to the video here and include in your comment information about the video, what phylum the organism in the video belongs to, and defining characteristics about the organism that determines its classification into that phylum.  Have fun!

Cladogram Lab http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/03/cladogram-lab/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/03/03/cladogram-lab/#commentsWed, 03 Mar 2010 23:39:35 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=774First, a review of our “fossils”:

Specimen A

Specimen B

Specimen C

Specimen D

Specimen E

Specimen F

Specimen G

Specimen H

Specimen I

Specimen J

Chris shows us one way to examine a fossil.

Below are the results from one group (Sam, Mike S, Jack, and Alec).   Now, let’s debate!  What information do you disagree with?  How was your cladogram different/better?  What characteristics did you identify and how did you explain them?  In your comments, use research-based explanations with links to your evidence!

Ancestors of D, E, I, and J were seperated from the ancestors of A, B, C, F, G, and H because of an earthquake.  After several generations, the ancestors of D, E, I, and J developed holes because they needed a way to filter water to eat.  Habitat isolation led to these two groups developing new traits to the point where they were no longer able to mate with one another.

Competition for food between D, E, I, and J was really high.  Ancestors of species I developed joints so it could walk out of the water to find a new food source.  Because species I was symmetrical, it was caught by prey easily.  As a result, I became less and less symmetrical so it would not be caught by predators as easily.

Ancestors of species D were pulled by strong currents into an attractive fishing area.  They were seperated from their common ancestor between J and E.  Fisherman were able to harpoon ancestors of D.  Species D became transparent over time to avoid being caught.

The ancestors of E and the ancestors of J began to mate only with those like them, eventually causing them to be too different to mate.  This caused visible differences.

The ancestors of species A were the only ones that were moved by a growing mountain into a place where motion was still unecessary.  The other species grew joints to leave the water for protection against predators.

The ancestors of species b and g found the presence of symmetrly disgusting and only mated with those who are less symmetrical.  The ancestors of H, F, and C only liked those that had symmetry.  This eventually led to a split in species.

A group of the ancestors of species B traveled to a forest.  This species became transparent to hunt smaller organisms without being seen.

A rare event caused the bulk of the F, H, and C species to be split into three groups when an island was splint in a volcanic event.  By the time the volcano stopped erupting, species F, H, and C were no longer able to mate.

Do Girls Help Boys Focus? http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/02/25/do-girls-help-boys-focus/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/02/25/do-girls-help-boys-focus/#commentsThu, 25 Feb 2010 17:27:55 +0000Jenna Ghttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=730

photo by smithereen11

If you ask a little boy what he thinks about a girl he is more than likely going to say “Ew, girls have cooties!” What they don’t know is that cooties are good for them.  Well…girls are at least. According to a new study boys are more successful on academic things when there are more girls than boys in their preschool class.

To test this, they studied 70 preschool classes, with a total of 806 students. The children were from the ages of 3-and-half to 6 years old.  The teachers recorded the progress over a 6.5 month period of time. The teachers focused on the student’s motor skills, thinking skills, and social skills. The data showed that boys developed these skills more promptly when there were more girls than boys in the class. In classrooms with more boys there was data to prove that boys developed slower.

Although, data says that boys are able to develop skills faster when with girls, girls can learn equally well with more boys and more girls. They are not affected with boys as the majority of the class. Also, girls are capable of developing well with the majority of the class girls.

What other scientific evidence can you find about this? Does this also apply to high school students?

Are Sports More Important than School? http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/02/14/are-sports-more-important-than-school-2/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/02/14/are-sports-more-important-than-school-2/#commentsSun, 14 Feb 2010 21:59:48 +0000Studenthttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=681

photo by crashmaster007

by Hope

75% of parents let their child skip an exam for an important game, and only 47% of musicians’ parents would let them skip an exam for a concert or performance. A study conducted at the University of Haifa by Sharon Yaniv, Prof. Ron Lidor and Prof. Avigdor Klingman looked at 203 students in 7th to 12th grade in northern Israel in four different schools who play in sports leagues, seventy parents, six coaches, four team managers, ten educational counselors, and five school study counselors. Some of the students were on the school all-star teams, others were on active sport leagues, and the rest as the control group, were student musicians. This study not only looks at how many parents would let their child skip an exam, but it also looks at teenagers’ moods, disappointment, frustration and if they receive preferential treatment.

The teenagers’ moods had different effects with the participation of sports. All three groups had a high percentage of being in a good mood; 97% of all-star sports; 92% of those in sport leagues; and 88% of musicians. However, 80% of all-star sportsman reported that the sports might cause them to be in a bad mood, while 51.1% of those in sports leagues and only 28% of musicians. Participation in sports also causes athletes more disappointment; 70% of all-star athletes; 60% of players in sports leagues; and only 28% of musicians. Disappointment is also related to frustration; 66% percent of all-star athletes; 50% of those in sports leagues and 32% of musicians.

Athletes who represent the school receive preferential treatment. 63% of all-star athletes said that schools gave them special consideration, compared to 52% of musicians, and 40% of those in sport leagues. Also, the all-star players said the schools help give them extended deadlines for essays, homework, reports, etc., while the musicians only had 44% and the sport leagues 33%. In addition, 63% of all-stars said the schools helped them with tutoring sessions, while those in sport leagues had 11% and only 8% musicians.

photo by Joseph Gilbert

After those facts, it is no surprise that the principals interviewed said,” Sports is one of the most popular interests in the school. This can be seen by the fact that the athletes’ needs are met through designing special programs, consideration of their needs, consideration of their teachers, competitions and placing the school athletics program high on our list of priorities…Sports is as popular a subject as communications and electronics, but sports raise school pride while other areas of study do not.” But the guidance counselors said exactly the opposite,” They are cognizant of their own needs but not the needs of others. It’s not a good part of their character, or their personality; the contempt for others, their condescending behavior and their feeling of superiority.”

The researchers summarized,” For young athletes, those that are active in sports leagues and primarily those that represent their school, there are unique needs that require special handling. Given that, the focus on athletic achievements and the pride they bring the school could harm other educational values that students should be taught.”

What Do You Think? Do You Think Being An Athlete Affects Your Personality? Do Athletes At Your School Get Special Treatment Like The Ones Above? Does Being An Athlete Affect Your Mood?

Pedigree Practice http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/26/pedigree-practice/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/26/pedigree-practice/#commentsTue, 26 Jan 2010 13:34:49 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=543Photo by Here's Kate; The ability to tongue-roll is an inherited trait.

Photo by Here's Kate; The ability to tongue-roll is an inherited trait. Can you tongue-roll? Can your parents?

Go here to work on the problems. When you’re attempting to answer these problems you must first answer the following questions:

a) Is this a sex-linked trait or a non-sex linked trait?

b) Is this a dominant trait or a recessive trait?

Sickle-Cell Anemia isn’t Half-bad! http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/25/sickle-cell-anemia-isnt-half-bad/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/25/sickle-cell-anemia-isnt-half-bad/#commentsMon, 25 Jan 2010 19:30:35 +0000Steviehttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=531photo by trebol-a

photo by trebol-a

This post was originally published on December 16, 2007.

Not half bad? How can a disease be “not half bad”? Well, in a way, sickle cell anemia isn’t “half bad” at all! Sickle cell anemia is a disorder of the red blood cells that mainly occurs in African countries. It’s a genetic disorder where a person’s red blood cells are misshapen and do not efficiently carry oxygen throughout the body. It is a recessive condition which means a person must inherit only the recessive alleles (or genes) that code for their red blood cells to have this deformity.

The hemoglobin on the red blood cells does not properly deliver oxygen to other parts of the body, so someone who has this disorder will have multiple health problems and a much shorter lifespan. Someone who has hybrid (both dominant and recessive) alleles has red blood cells with mixed (or half!) sickle cells along with normal cells and will exhibit only minor health problems.

photo by PEIR

photo by PEIR

So how is sickle cell anemia only half bad? Well, a very deadly epidemic known as malaria has been sweeping Africa for thousands of years. It is caused by a parasite and it works by infecting the blood cells of its host. But, the amazing thing is that it cannot infect sickle cells. So if you have sickle cells you can’t get malaria! But, what does it matter if they can’t get malaria when they’re lifespan might only be a little bit longer with anemia?

The phenomenon lies in the hybrids (people with both the dominant and recessive alleles). Since they have sickle cells, malaria cannot infect them! Even better, since they also have normal blood cells, they are generally fairly healthy.

This phenomenon is referred to as heterozygote advantage (the hybrid allele combinations are called heterozygous), meaning that the heterozygous individual is more apt to survive than individuals with either the only dominant or only recessive allele combinations.

Confused? There’s a whole lot of confusing vocabulary in this post. If you are, just check the source. It really accurately defines everything and helps you to understand the specifics.

Can you find any other diseases or disorders that have this heterozygote advantage?  Do you have any unanswered questions about this concept or any comments about the condition itself?

The Curse of the “Smart” Student http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/13/the-curse-of-the-smart-student/ http://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/2010/01/13/the-curse-of-the-smart-student/#commentsWed, 13 Jan 2010 17:54:06 +0000Ms Bakerhttp://missbakersbiologyclass.com/blog/?p=454This is a repost.  The original article was published on March 6, 2008.
Photo by dcJohn

Photo by dcJohn

Take this short quiz*. Answer yes or no to each question. There is no right or wrong answer so don’t think too hard about each question. Just answer it honestly.

1.My intelligence is something very basic about me that I can’t really change.
2.When I don’t understand something I like to slow down and try to figure it out.
3.I am intimidated by academic challenges.
4.I have been told by others that I am smart.
5.Learning is fun.
6.I often feel unmotivated to learn.
7.When I don’t do well in a subject I think that I must not be very good at that particular subject.
8.When I perform poorly academically I do not get discouraged.
9.When I don’t understand something, I get very frustrated and want to give up.
10.I shouldn’t have to work as hard in subjects that I am naturally good at.


Give yourself four points for each of the following questions you answered YES to: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10.

Give yourself minus 2 points for each of the following questions you answered YES to: 2, 5, 8.

If you scored +15 you believe that intelligence is fixed.
If you scored 10-15 you believe that intelligence is mostly fixed.
If you scored 5-10 you believe that intelligence is somewhat fixed.
If you scored less than 5 you believe that intelligence is not fixed.

So, what does this mean? By the time students have reached the 9th grade they already have well-established beliefs about how they learn. When a student in the classroom does really well on an exam, other students will say he or she is “smart”. Those students who didn’t do so well may say their poor performance is due to not being as “smart”.

There are two ways of thinking about learning. On one hand, a student believes that some people are just naturally smart. Those people don’t have to work that hard at learning. Things just come easy to them. School comes easy to them. Their teachers have probably said things to them like, “you’re so smart” or “you’re really intelligent”. The student who believes that the ability to learn is innate or fixed is said to have a fixed mind-set. A student who believes they are not naturally smart and that there is little they can do to improve their learning ability also has a fixed mind-set. In my experience, it appears that most students have this mind-set.

On the other hand is the student who believes that they can do well in school, but only when they work hard at it. The student knows they must work hard to do well and they give their school work a great deal of care. This student is said to have a growth mind-set.

Which of these two ways of thinking is best? Which students will end up succeeding in the long run, those with the fixed mind-set or the growth mind-set? Most people would say naturally “smart” students will fair better. They have a “gift” and are “gifted”, therefore, they will have greater success in school.

However, according to the data, they would be very wrong. Students with a fixed mind-set not only do worse in school in the long run, they also suffer more in their professional and personal life.

The fixed mind-set starts to backfire for the “smart” students as they get into high school and classes become more challenging. The December ‘07 issue of Scientific American Mind included an article summarizing over 30 years of research on the connection between student performance and the way students think about how they learn.

Research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent – and the implication that such traits are innate or fixed – leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Having a fixed mind-set can lead to experiencing great disappointment when a student performs poorly because they begin to lose confidence in their ability. Since they have been repeatedly told that they are “smart”, when they do poorly, they automatically begin to doubt themselves and start to believe that they are “stupid”. Or they may begin to blame their teachers or peers for their failures. Instead of bouncing back from their failure, they continue to struggle.

A person with a fixed mind-set often feels the pressure to “look smart” and so they begin to avoid challenges, they give up easily, see effort as being wasted time, and they are easily intimidated by the success of others.

A person with a growth mind-set desires to learn and thus, they enjoy challenges, bounce back from setbacks, see effort as being necessary to progress, and they learn from other people’s success.

I bring up this research now because we’re going to be talking about animal intelligence in class tomorrow. One of the things we’ll examine is the very nature of the nervous system. As it turns out, the brain is a flexible and malleable organ. It improves with mental exercise (aka learning). Understanding this will help those with a fixed mind-set make the transition to a growth mind-set.

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

-Albert Einstein 

Getty Images Public Domain Photo

Getty Images Public Domain Photo

Read one of these research articles below and answer the following questions:

1) What evidence in the research supports the advantage of a growth mind-set over a fixed mind-set? 

2) Explain one of the quantitative findings provided by this study.

3) Will this study have any impact on the way you approach your learning in school?

Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents

Why Do Beliefs about Intelligence Influence Learning Success? A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Model

Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

*Please note that the quiz was created by Miss Baker and is not meant to substitute as an accurate method of determining learning patterns.