Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How long can 9PLa hold their breath?

Yesterday afternoon 9PLa had some fun learning to read stopwatches! 

Ms Bunce handed out the stopwatches and everyone quickly started playing with them. Two of the boys started to time how long they could hold their breath, so Ms Bunce quickly turned it into a whole-class competition.

Looking around the room I could see faces turning red and there were also students holding their hands in front of each others' nose and mouth to check that no one was cheating! 

You can check out the video from the class below. Unfortunately the real breath-holding competition had finished by the time I remembered I could film it, so this is a less-competitive repeat of the activity!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Year 11 Streaking and Culturing Bacteria

On Friday the Year 11 Science class took samples off surfaces around our classroom. 

Some students took samples off bench tops, others off keyboards or laptop screens, and some even decided to test the bacteria in their hair or on their hands. 

We wanted to test the effect of temperature on bacterial growth, so we placed a third of the plates in the fridge where it was cold, left a third at room temperature inside the Science room and placed a third inside a warm incubator. 

It is pretty clear from looking at the results which temperature these bacteria prefer to grow at! 

Take a look at the (pretty cool and gross) samples that grew over the weekend! 

This sample was placed in a fridge

This sample was left at room temperature

This sample was placed in a warm incubator

All plates were sealed with clear tape and students were instructed not to open them during class. Plates were incubated at a temperature lower than human body temperature.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Year 12 Bio Trip to Long Bay

Yesterday Mr Major's Year 12 biology class went on a field trip to Long Bay to look for patterns and bands of living creatures on the rocky shore. 

I had a van full of lovely students who seemed to enjoy singing R Kelly and Akon... They also encouraged both me and the van as we chugged slowly up the Stanley Street motorway onramp! 

Once we arrived safe and sound at Long Bay groups of students placed quadrats along transect lines that were roughly 40m long! Everyone had to work quickly to complete the quadrats closest to the low tide mark before the tide came in and tried to soak their shoes! 

Students collecting data on Long Bay beach

It was a very sunny day and the students worked hard in the heat to cover the whole shore and accurately record the organisms living on it. 

Once all the data had been gathered we had a brief lunch in the shade. The boys were ambushed by ducks and we decided it was time to move on! 

Photo created using the Photo Grid app - boys being ambushed by ducks!

Next on the agenda was Awaruku Bush in Torbay. Everyone had to spray their shoes on the way in and out to protect Kauri from the fungus Phytophthora taxon Agathis that is transmitted by humans. 

Once we were inside the bush Mr Major taught everyone about Kauri trees, the traditional medicinal properties of Kawakawa leaves and also possibly pointed out a Kereru! 

Students walking in Awaruku Bush and learning about Kauri trees.

We finished the day with some well-earned soft serve ice cream in McDonald's and I quizzed students about their learning for the day...

Students were easily able to discuss how the type of organisms changed from high tide to low tide, and how factors such as evaporation, salt concentration, sun, predators and water played a part in the distribution of organisms at the beach! 

Lots of learning, duck attacks, and ice cream - a successful day all round :) 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Year 11 Munchable Microorganisms

Year 11 have been learning about microorganisms for the last 3 weeks - in particular bacteria! 

Last Tuesday we made food models of a bacterial cell. 

Check out the picture below, and the recipe underneath!

Flagella - gummy snake
Pili - toothpicks
Capsule - belvita breakfast biscuit
Cell Wall - digestive biscuit
Cytoplasmic membrane - nutella
Cytoplasm - jelly
Ribosomes - sprinkles
Plasmid - smarties (chocolate)
Nucleoid - raspberry licorice