Archive for the 'News' Category

Stream Ecology (Part Two)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Group picture!

Originally uploaded by missbakersflickr.

by Miss Baker

The second group to go on the biology class field trip enjoyed a beautiful, but cold day. You can view photos from their trip by clicking on the Pictures link on the right. If you went on the trip and have any photos to add please email them to me.

We’ll be putting all of our data online over the next couple of days. A link to the data will be provided when that happens. We may even make a Voicethread for all the pictures. So stay tuned!

Stream Ecology (Part One)

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Ready for the Collection!

Originally uploaded by missbakersflickr.

by Miss Baker

The first group to go on the biology field trip had a great time. Click on the PICTURES link to your right to see more pictures. After the second group goes on the trip April 15th, I’ll post their pictures as well.

Thanks 4th & 6th period for being so good-spirited even in light of the cold, dreary weather. I definitely feel very blessed to have you as my students!

Pedigree Practice

Thursday, February 21st, 2008


The ability to tongue roll is a genetically inherited trait! Photo source

by Miss Baker

Click here for the answers to the pedigree practice problems. If you are having trouble downloading this file you will need to stop by the classroom tomorrow and check your answers.

Honors students: Go here to work on the more difficult problems. When you are 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?

Please note that it will take a lot more time to answer these questions then your typical pedigree problems. It took me about 5 minutes per question and I have been doing this considerably longer than you have. So expect each question to take between 15-20 minutes. Good luck!

Check out this blog!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

by Miss Baker

In addition to commenting on, students may comment on Mr. Bird’s Biology blog for the blog project.

Taxonomy Quiz

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

by Miss Baker

An interesting taxonomy quiz has been posted over at Check it out. The author is going to post the “official” answers on Monday so make sure you check back then.

We Are the World

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Photo source

by Miss Baker

I just had to pass this on. Mrs. Delgais told me about a website called Free Rice. On the site you can practice your SAT vocabulary and for every correct vocabulary word you get, a donation of 20 grains of rice is made to help end world hunger! There are a few science terms in the list. I spent some time there and managed to donate over 5000 grains. How many will you donate?

In honor of this great website, I’ve posted the We Are the World music video on our video page. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by this song. If the video looks familiar that’s because the PCR video was a spoof of this video! Ask your parents if they remember the original.

Birds on an Island Lab Video

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

by Miss Baker

Click here to see the video.  Click here to see our data.

The Birds on an Island Lab is a simulation of Peter and Rosemary Grant’s research on the Galapagos Islands. A husband-wife team, the Grants spent over 30 years researching finches on the islands. Their research is the main focus of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. You can view some of the actual data collected by the Grants here. The data shows that what we experienced in our lab activity matches closely with what the Grants noticed in wild finch populations.

Can Biology End Racism?

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Photo source 

by Miss Baker

A common argument against evolutionary biology is that it promotes racism. This argument persists even though scientists have smashed it to bits repeatedly. There are many reasons why biology cannot promote racism. Here is my favorite:

Biology Can’t Promote Racism Because…

Science is amoral - neither moral or immoral. Racism is the application of morality to race (e.g. whites are morally superior to blacks). Therefore, it is impossible for science to promote racism. Certainly, someone can take a scientific concept, twist it, and configure it to serve their own purposes, however, when they do this they are no longer practicing science.

Biology Can Help Destroy Racism

Modern genetics has shown that there are only minor differences between races. In fact, most geneticists don’t consider race at all. They believe race is a myth. Here are some reasons why:

1. There are more genes involved in the expression of height than there are in the expression of observable racial differences. In other words, a tall black man and a tall white man are probably more similar genetically than a tall black man and a short black man (source).

2. According to one article, the American Anthropological Society has stated, “The concept of race has no validity…in the human species.” Yes, there are some slight physical differences among people, but these are due to different environmental pressures.

Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, a Stanford Univ. geneticist said,

…the environment, literally, works only on the surface, changing skin and hair a little bit…Underneath, there has been little change.

3. “Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race” (source).

I’ve only touched on three reasons here, but you can find dozens upon dozens more on the website, “Is Race Real?” as well as on the fantastic PBS website, “Race”.

Unfortunately, some biologists like Jonathon Marks, a Univ. of California-Berkely anthropologist, are a bit pessimisic of their ability to convince people that the concept of race has no basis:

Teaching that racial categories lack biological validity can be as much of a challenge as teaching in the 17th century that the Earth goes around the sun.

Where is the Martin Luther King, Jr. of science?

Science and This Holiday

Monday, January 21st, 2008


Photo source (Sculpture at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta, Georgia)

by Miss Baker

From Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book Strength to Love pg. 15-16:

Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.

I have a giant book that includes some of King’s most famous and lesser known writings and speeches. I like to pull it out each year on this day and read one of them. The one I excerpted above is very special to me and is one of my favorites. The entire book can be read online if you click on the link. The excerpt above is found within the first chapter.My favorite speech that was recorded on video will always be his last speech given before his assassination. I’ve posted the final minute of that speech here. We should all honor Martin Luther King Jr. today. Not because we have a day off from school, but because he is a reminder of all the wondrous things that can be accomplished by the strength of the human spirit.

Real World Research

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

by Miss Baker

Because we’re only on the second week of the semester, it’s understandable that we don’t have a lot of student posts, yet. So while your busy researching and writing posts, I thought I’d deliver some quick bites of fun research that may spark some dialogue:

Gossip More Powerful Than Truth

Photo source

How much does gossip influence what you believe? An alarming study discovered that when a person was told something negative about another person, they believed the negative statement even though they had been shown proof that the negative statement was not true. Even if the source of the gossip was considered to be an untrustworthy source, the person still believed the gossip!

It’s My Teacher’s Fault

Photo source

According to Psychology Today, it’s been well-documented that students who make low grades in a class are more likely to rate their teachers lower on teacher evaluation forms. However, according to a new study, students aren’t doing it to get back at their teacher, rather they do it to deflect the blame: “Someone’s got to be at fault for that D, and it’s not me.”

Jia, Annie. “Insights, Revisionist History: How We Twist Our Tales to Soothe Our Minds.” Psychology Today. Jan/Feb (2008): 15.

Goooooooo Dawgs, Sic’Em, Woof Woof Woof


Photo source 

Several students raved about the PBS Nature special, “Dogs that Changed the World”.  There are a ton of great resources and video links on the PBS website.  Who’s going to be the student to write a blog post about it?

I Heart PCR

Monday, January 14th, 2008

 Polymerase Chain Reaction

Photo source 

by Miss Baker

I discovered this music video over at on Evolgen’s blog.  It’s become an enormous hit in the science blogosphere.  It is QUITE hilarious.  Of course, it’s a spoof of the “We are the World” video made in 1985.  Any 9th grade student who wants to research PCR and explain to everyone why these scientists love it so much can write about it in a comment to this post.

Students 2.0 & A Science Essay Contest

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

by Miss Baker

A group of high school students from around the globe have created a blog dealing with what it means to be a student today. They are looking for guest authors so I encourage any of my students to submit a piece of their own writing. I’ve added a permanent link to their blog into our sidebar - just look for this badge:

Also, Alliance for Science is having an essay competition you can enter. We haven’t talked about evolution in class yet, but we will get to it soon (before the deadline of the competition).

If you decide to write for Students 2.0 or the essay competition, you can publish your writing on the blog for blog point credit.