BLOG: Biology & Earth Systems (BES)

& Earth Systems


aka...What Happened In BES Today 


Now that you (kinda?) understand evolution, you are allowed to do a "read-and-share" for extra credit.  Download the assignment from DOCs: BES.  Pick an option.  CHECK WITH LOOMIS that it is OK to do that option.  Then,either from the library or Mr. Loomis, get a copy of the book The Evolution of Everything and do the read/write assigned.


December 8
After peer-grading the chromosome worksheet (learning about things like co-dominance [ABO blood types], sex-linked traits [color-blindness & baldness], and gender determination) students built a karyotype for their (fictional) patient...a 6-wk old see if it has any genetic abnormalities.  Taping the chromosomes into the notebook, they answered questions on the worksheet.  Everything is due Wednesday.

Dec 6
Students learned about MEIOSIS...the process of gamete formation.  Why is it important?  How does it generate variation among offspring?  What does it have to do with the theory of evolution?  ...while we did the activity (recording notes in the notebook), students needed to multi-task: cutting out chromosomes for Monday's karyotyping activity.

Dec 4
Students spent most of class doing  (turning in) their Chromosome Assignment (from the CH 7 packet). To complete it, you also need Loomis' iso-chromatic plates and the human genome poster.

Everyone also looked at the yeast results (see below);
yeast results.jpg


November 30
YAY!! Yeast arrived!!

Everyone ran the yeast experiment today.  Cultures are incubating until Tuesday.  Write a COMPLETE lab report IN YOUR NOTEBOOK!!  Which will be dominant...cream or red?

Nov 28
No yeast yet :-(

Everyone did their Mendel Assignment today (and turned it in).


Nov 26
We went over some items from CH 6 (a brief video, ppt on misconceptions, and the results of the test). After getting new seats and a CH 7 packet, we did some popcorn reading on the reproductive practices of yeast. 

Period 8 turned in notebooks today and Period 6 turns them in Wednesday. 

Nov 20

Notebooks due NEXT WEEK. Have a great Turkey Day!



Nov 16  Full Day Friday.  Whoa.
We spent every second prepping for Tuesday's CH 6 TEST. We...
--watched a video
--watched a DVD segment (Valley of the Whales)
--skimmed the textbook...the entire chapter
--had a quick, very "magnetic", lesson on Lines of Evidence
--wrote our FAV LoE in the notebook
--gave Loomis feedback on Wednesday's lesson
--completed a Practice Test (Boar-ing Story) together, nailing down the theory of evolution using appropriate vocab
--and finished it all off with a CH 6 Kahoot

WHEW!  I'm exhausted.  Time to go watch the Fantastic Beasts sequel, I guess.

P.S. There's a practice test available on the DOCs page...


Nov 14
Everyone made a "scroll" (through time) today in an  attempt to wrap our brains around the concept of "Deep Time." A process, like evolution, requires LOTS of time (Deep Time) in order for speciation to occur by natural selection. From our mortal perspective it can be a challenge to even consider this.  It's like trying to understand The Avengers: Age of Ultron by seeing only a single frame of film (shout-out to Stan Lee, RIP).
Students turned in their scrolls.  If absent, the ppt is available under DOCs...and you already have the paperwork (CH 6 Packet).

The CH 6 TEST is NEXT TUESDAY...notebooks due shortly after.

The Tahoma tech dept is asking all students to participate in this VOLUNTARY survey (it is NOT spam) Students will receive an email (sent from Skyward to their GoTahoma email address) inviting them to participate in the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning, facilitated online by Project Tomorrow, a national education nonprofit organization ( dedicated to support districts in improvement efforts. The survey will ask them questions about how they use technology in their lives and at school. It will provide valuable insight for the Technology Model Review committee to consider as they work to update our district’s vision for educational technology. The survey is completely voluntary, no personally identifiable information is collected, and parents are being notified. The survey will be open until the end of the month.  


If you encounter students who would like to take the survey, but can’t find the email, you can share the appropriate link (below) with them. 


Student Speak Up Survey Links





School Link--case sensitive

Maple View Middle School  

Summit Trail Middle School  

Tahoma High School  


Nov 9
We spent the entire day looking at embryos...of vertebrates.  Yet ANOTHER "Line of Evidence" in support of the Theory of Evolution.  If absent, get a friend to show you their notebook and copy stuff down!

November 7
We peer-graded the CH 6 worksheet, using the opportunity to try and make certain EVERY student understood the fundamentals of the Theory of Evolution.  We recorded some things in notebooks and watched a video. For example: what it is...and what it is not...
Another way to think of it: you did not "come from" your cousin (apes) but you and your cousin have a SAME grandpa/grandma (common ancestor).


Nov 5

Students completed their EvoDots worksheet by logging in to the University of Washington's software program (of the same name) found on the LINKS page.  If absent, you should already have the worksheet (in your CH 6 packet) then all you need is access to the internet.  If you follow instructions you should end up seeing something like this...

You can do the BONUS question at the end for Extra Credit.


October 31
Happy Halloween
Students had the entire class period to complete their CH 6 worksheet.  While it was due by the end of the period, I do accept late work...with points deducted (for wasting time in class?).

IMPORTANT: the textbook is available (as a Word doc)'s the link...

In rare cases, a textbook can be checked out.



Oct 29
Today we all shared data (peer review) from the Beanie Lab.  I articulated exactly what was expected in terms of a graph and then described, in detail, what was needed in the Conclusion.


The last 20-30 minutes was spent working on the CH 6 worksheet.  This traditional read-the-text-and-answer-questions assignment is due by the end of class on Wednesday.  Students that either (tend to) work slow and/or those that have difficulty staying focused (efficient use of class time) may discover they have homework. 

Oct 25
After turning in the Clocks-in-Rocks worksheet, students broke into teams to do the Beanie Lab.  An exercise in natural selection, this lab, like the antibiotic lab, requires a lab report too.  However, unlike the antibiotic lab, all students need to do is "cut-and-paste"...then fill out the blanks.  Everything is provided in the CH 6 Packet.  Students had about 30 min to "collect data."

Oct 23
Continuing with our learning target (how do you know the age of fossils?), students teamed up and logged on to a radiometric dating simulation through the University of Colorado, finishing their Clocks in Rocks packet.  The packet is due THURSDAY.

Today, students turned in their LAB REPORTS (if they wanted the ON TIME bonus).


October 19
After a CH 6 preQuiz the remainder of class was spent on the assignment "Clocks in Rocks" is it we able to determine the age of fossils (among other things)?  You know... Carbon Dating...
I see what you did there...


Oct  17
After a quick graphing assessment, students looked at Colorado fossils, an activity called GIFTS FROM THE PAST (in your notebook!).

The last 30 minutes students were provided time to work on their LAB REPORTS...DUE NEXT TUESDAY.


Oct 15
Like movies? Looking for some EXTRA CREDIT?  If you can dig up a copy of this movie
(online? Netflix? DVD from an acquaintance?) then download (print) the worksheet found on the DOCs page, pop some corn, invite some BFFs over and have a movie nite!  Make sure to write ALL ANSWERS IN YOUR NOTEBOOK...on the 2 pages IN FRONT of your DaVinci dude.

Today we watched a ppt Loomis made from Tahoma freshmen data provided a month ago...answering Man's Oldest Question: "Where did I come from?". The moral of the story? RESPECT.  We learned about various Creation stories and the importance of respecting one another's beliefs...and how it is vital we separate BELIEF from EVIDENCE (at least in a science classroom).

Then, after showing Loomis your hypothesis, students got the results of their antibiotic lab. Loomis went over the success criteria for the Lab Report due next Tuesday...specifically RESULTS and CONCLUSION. If absent, use the data below;

Everyone got a new CH 6 "packet."

Oct 11
We went over the test (& notebook)...discussing "LFM" or the Learning-from-mistakes Protocol.  Students watched a ppt that tried to impress upon them the importance of not giving up...always trying.

Everyone then had about half an hour to come up with a team-built PROCEDURE for their lab ...and then they were given the materials and did the lab.  Bacteria are now incubating nicely, awaiting for the results Monday.  Students will have some time Wednesday to work IN CLASS on their report but there is NO way they can complete it in class.  To make the Oct 23 deadline will REQUIRE time outside of class.  MY DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN DURING ALL POWER HOURS...just sayin.

IMPORTANT: you will not be given access to your data until you show Loomis your HYPOTHESIS (written in your notebook).  I expect to see an IF/THEN statement followed by a sound, logical reason (why you selected that particular antibiotic).


Oct 9
Another busy day in science...

Most of the day was spent going over parameters for our next lab.  We learned about Fleming's discovery of penicillin, derived a group consensus on a PURPOSE, and got a list of available materials.  Students learned what a Zone of Inhibition is and how it can used to assess the effectiveness of various antibacterial agents.  We ran out of time to go over the CH 13 test...that will have to wait until Thursday.  Also, on Thursday, teams will need to produce a (reliable & valid) procedure that once approved, will earn them access to the materials...then DO the lab!  Results should then be available by Monday Oct 15th.  Students then have EIGHT DAYS, until Tuesday, October 23rd, to submit a formal Lab Report.  Not turning in a lab report GUARANTEES a failing grade for 1st quarter (it is worth MORE THAN A TEST or notebook check (50 pts!!).  To help I'm tossing out the following "goodies"...

  • A 10% grade boost for submitting ON TIME
  • A complete, detailed rubric*
  • An easy-to-use template*

*available for download...look under DOCUMENTS: BES





Oct 5
Students took the CH 13 test today...then turned in their notebooks. Except 8th period...I'll collect those Tuesday.


Oct 3
Today was all about prepping for Friday' test over CH 13.  We watched a couple videos (manticular convection currents and last Friday's Palu tsunami), did a practice quiz (plate boundaries), wrapped up the land bridge activity and discussed its connection to MC#4, debriefed the Mix It Up Lab by reviewing its conclusions...and tying it to the demo of a lava lamp. We "went over" the reading in the book (Crash, Stretch & Grind) and gave serious thought to the 4 MCs...and how they are assessed on the test. Finally, we looked at evidence of seafloor spreading and again, made the connections to the MCs.
seafloor map.JPG

Students have a copy of the Major Concepts in their notebooks AND SHOULD THEM "BY HEART" for the test.  Speaking of notebooks, they are due Friday.


Oct 1

NEW MONTH, NEW GRADES? Looking on Skyward, your gradebook includes an item called


What is that?? Download the POLICIES & PROCEDURES from the Documents page and all will be explained.


We did an activity to determine what exactly "moves plates".  Lab #2 should be part of your notebook...Before/After sketches and answers to the questions.

We then worked on an assignment exploring the Panamanian land bridge...MC #4: patterns of life explain changes in plate tectonics.

After a wrap-up & review of CH 13 Wednesday we should be ready for the CH 13 Test on Friday! That means it's also time for a notebook check.  The list of items to be graded is posted evey day in class.



Sept 27
Students did an activity, learning about the interactions between 5 of Earth's "spheres." If finished, they turned in the work...if not, it is due FIRST THING Monday.
After the activity we finished going over "How to do Good Science"...specifically, writing conclusions. I helped everyone write 95% of their bacteria lab conclusion. Students need to finish (describing the validity of the lab) before notebooks are due (after the CH 13 test...either October 5th or 9th...I haven't decided yet).

Finally, students were supposed to cut/paste a Venn diagram in their notebooks RE: Earth's spheres.


Sept 25
After a brief discussion about the inference tubes (what do they have to do with CH 13!?), the remainder of class was spent "Learning How to Do Good Science."

First, we defined HYPOTHESIS...and the concepts of variables, RELIABILITY & VALIDITY when it comes to designing an experiment.

Students then opened their notebooks and began doing their first Lab Report.  Using info from the CH 13 packet, always keeping the idea of QUALITY PRODUCER in the back of their mind, everyone followed along, generating an EXEMPLAR: a lab report that can be used as an excellent example for future labs.  We went through Title, Purpose, Procedure, etc.  Near the end of class we finally got to Results when everyone collected their bacterial cultures, counted colonies, and shared data to achieve the purpose (and see how close the data was to their hypothesis).  Next class we'll talk about Conclusions.


Sept 21
We started an experiment today in order to answer the question: What is the dirtiest* place on campus?  Students came up with list of locations, frequented by the student population, then fanned out, collecting samples (moistened Q-tips).  They then inoculated agar plates which, after 96 hrs @ 37 degrees C, will produce *bacterial colonies which will provide quantitative data to substantiate or contradict their various hypotheses. 


While not directly tied to chapter 13 Major Concepts, this lab will, nevertheless, accomplish several important objectives;

  • it is a template for (how to write future) lab reports
  • it delineates "good" science (valid & reliable conclusions)
  • the data adds to a 30-plus-year longitudinal study on the effectiveness of antibiotics
  • it will provide all (700) Tahoma freshmen with critical lab material needed for a chapter 6 investigation next month: laboratory EVIDENCE of EVOLUTION 

We briefly reviewed our tectonic foldables and students discovered where to look in order to get a list of the items required for notebook checks (almost always done after a chapter test). 

Today's class wrapped up with a team exercise in inference. Given a "mystery cylinder", each team poked and prodded their device, collecting evidence, to INFER the internal workings of the cylinder (how do geologists KNOW the composition of the geosphere without ever having any direct evidence beneath the lithosphere??).

If absent, there's nothing to "make up"...other than writing a few things in your notebook (ask an elbow partner). 

Sept 19
Today's LT was to explain the existence of the Ring of Fire as students took notes, watched a video, and filled out a foldable, learning about systems and spheres (Earth is a closed system composed of several major spheres).  Focusing on the lithosphere, we wrapped by contrasting the 3 types of plate boundaries. If absent, get help from a friend when you return.

Sept 17
Went immediately walked outside* to ponder: what effect would an eruption of Mt Rainier have on the immediate vicinity?  Additional questions posed: What is a lahar? Is The Mountain active? How old is it? In what ways would an eruption impact...the air? ...the ground? ...the lakes/rivers?  ..the flora & fauna? While gazing at the natural environment, instead of the future we pondered the (prehistoric) past.  What might Maple Valley (PNW) have looked like 100 million years ago?  ...and WHY?

*since we tripped through a field, it was a "Field Trip"!

We returned to class and recorded, in journals, the answers to many of these questions.  We watched a video on the Osceola Mud Flow 5600 yrs ago. We wrapped up by popcorn reading the intro to CH 13: Time for a Change.

Mesozoic Tahomies!?
If absent, copy notes from a friend...

Sept 13
"The best laid plans..." oh well.  I meant to accomplish much more today but as it turned out, some (tech) bugs needed to be worked out instead.  "Alls well that ends well?"

Students took a pre-assessment of graphing and scientific writing today.  Once finished, they logged into Skyward to take a quiz regarding Lab Safety Rules.  Sounds simple was anything but.  Took the ENTIRE class period!  But students showed tenacity, patience, and persistence until every student came away, completing the 2 tasks.  Who knows, maybe Monday we might FINALLY get an opportunity to do some...oh, I don't know...ACTUAL SCIENCE!? I'm "keeping my fingers crossed" but "not counting any chickens until they hatch."  Must be "Throwback Thursday" since I appear to dropping the vernaculars like it's "raining cats and dogs."  Or maybe it's the fact that I worked a 15-hr day yesterday, what, with Open House last night, and I'm "running on empty." 

-LoomDog out...

P.S. Power Hour today was a REQUIRED meeting if you wanted to be eligible to retake tests.  About a dozen students showed up.  Not bad.


Sept 11
Discussed "what is SCIENCE?"...I shared a metaphor: science is a wrench, a tool...something we use to explore the universe. Sure, we talk about chemistry, physics, biology (etc) but science is the tool that we employ, collecting evidence, making hypotheses and testing them.

Students got out their (required) lab notebooks and recorded the (four) Major Concepts for CH 13.  Time was taken to explain expectations, the connection to tests, how the curriculum is designed (around the 5 Es). Students cracked the (class set of) textbooks open then learned that each chapter is available online.  Click on over to the LINKS page and you can access the necessary chapter (a Word doc).

Textbooks, notebooks, tests, curriculum, The Big was a busy day.  Thursday we're going outside, sort of a field trip, if you will (I mean, it will literally BE a "trip into a field" so...) to start our first unit.


Sept 7
We still needed to wrap up some items from the previous determine the Best Guesser, a "room tour", seat swap, as well as collect homework (syllabi + safety rules**...signed).  Everyone needs their comp book by Tuesday!!  Also, this Wednesday, Sept 12th, is Open House.  Maybe I'll see you there...

Practice getting on Skyward BEFORE the quiz

Students are allowed to RETAKE tests but ONLY if they "jump through some hoops." Hoop #1 is a REQUIRED visit to my class during Power Hour A on Thursday (9/13) to listen to the retake requirements and, if they agree to them, to sign up. If students have joined my REMIND group (scroll down for instructions), they will receive a text message at 10:20 AM Thursday to help them remember...

We were just starting to discuss/introduce CH 13 (our first unit) when it was time to join the whole school in our first pep assembly!!  Tahoma got a few minutes in the spotlight as


made their first Friday Night Lights focus: THS!!  Check out the video...but keep in mind, this was filmed in the wee hours of 6 AM!!!...some serious school spirit at work here...


Sept 5

We did a few "welcoming" activities, ice-breakers...what is science? That sorta thing.  Plus a pre-quiz to assess where we are.  Can't very well discover were we came from or where we're going if we don't know where we are, to begin with.

We went over policies & procedures unique to rm219.  If absent, download the doc and be prepared for the quiz.


1) Get the Course Expectations (syllabus) "signed"* and returned. 

2) Get the Lab Safety Rules signed and returned

Also, every student is REQUIRED to have a standard-issue "Comp Book" (see below).  I'd prefer it had the typical lined paper (not graph) but feel free to express yourself if the store offers a variety of cover motifs.

 *either hard copy/old school-style or scroll down/read for the "green" version



(1) If you haven't already done it, click on over to the "Documents" page (linked over in the left margin) and download/watch the power point (virtual catalog) that describes what the class is all about. Consider the power pt my "syllabus" (not the Course Expectations).
(2) Since the vast majority of folks regularly navigate their lives via their cell phone each day, I've registered with "Remind" app that allows me to text you (your parents/guardians) with reminders about due dates, upcoming tests, etc. Here's what you need to do to "sign up"...

I'll send a test message the first week of classes and after that, try to keep further texts to a minimum, STRICTLY SCHOOL-RELATED INFO (specific to SCIENCE). Anyone can "sign up"...even parents/guardians. Don't forget to include the @ symbol in your text! Any student doing this by the end of September will earn EXTRA CREDIT points! 

Your first "homework assignment" will be getting your Course Expectations signed by parent/guardian. There are 2 ways to do this. The traditional method (get a hard copy from me in class, take it home, get it signed, return it) or the "green" method. Doing it the "green" way will score you EXTRA CREDIT (yep...between joining Remind and "going green" on the course expectations, you're off to a great start!). To earn the "green" points click on over to the "Documents" link, download the COURSE EXPECTATIONS for BES, DO NOT PRINT... rather have a parent/guardian read over the (e-version of the) document and then have your PARENT/GUARDIAN EMAIL ME at the following email address;

Include, in the email, the following; 

Please put STUDENT'S NAME in the Subject line then...

"I looked over the syllabus/expectations for BES .
 ------parent name------- , parent of -------student name------- "
(this will qualify as an electronic signature)

ALSO: With regard to academics, if there's something you'd like to share, please do so...anything that might help your student be more successful this year (strengths, challenges, etc).