BLOG: Biology & Earth Systems (BES)

Biology & Earth Systems

and remember...the future is in YOUR hands.


aka...What Happened In BES Today 

FIRST SEMESTER: Where did you come from?
SECOND SEMESTER: Where are you going?

Students spend 15 minutes in each class, periods 1-8, before heading home for the summer.

IMPORTANT 6/14/18-6/19/18
In an effort to lessen the burden on students, staff at THS have agreed to a new policy that "NO STUDENT should have to take more than TWO Final Exams on any day." To make this work for all 8 classes, several modifications have been made to the schedule for the last 4 (full) days of school (Thursday June 14th through Tuesday the 19th).  First, the length of classes have been altered.  If you are in a class "designated to be taking a Final" then that class will be 99 minutes long (an additional 20 minutes) while classes not testing are shortened to just under an hour (59 minutes each). Second, regardless of what your class is (math, science, language, etc), if that course is not designated to be taking its Final, YOU ARE TO USE THAT 59 MINUTES TO PREP FOR THE NEXT FINAL.  Ignore the math, science, whatever is usually taught in that class and instead the teacher of that class is to support your efforts to prepare for THE NEXT CLASS (which is designated to give a Final). 


For example, on Thursday the 14th (a Gold Day) 6th period ('s your math class) is supposed to be a 59-minute "prep class"...during which you should be preparing for the Final you are designated to take 7th period (after power hour)...the 99 minutes after lunch. "But that's my calc class!" you say?  Sorry.  Not today.  Pardon em moi! Your calc teacher is instead providing you an hour to hone your last minute French skills because 7th period French is having its Final Exam right after lunch!!


Start/end times of school/lunch are not changed. Anyway, so, on Monday the 18th (another Gold Day) you find yourself back in 7th period...a class in which you ALREADY TOOK THE FINAL EXAM.  Only this time, your French teacher is helping you with stoichiometry for 59 minutes because today you are taking your Chem Final...for 99 minutes in 8th period!!


REMEMBER: the reason WHY we're doing this is to HELP YOU BE MORE SUCCESSFUL.  It might seem a tad confusing but getting designated classtime to prep right before the exam, extra time to test, and never taking more than two finals at a time sounds like a pretty sweet arrangement if you ask moi. "Nooooo, Mr. Loomis," you whine. "I don't need extra time to do a good job on my test, I don't need to study, and I'd do awesome taking FOUR finals in ONE day!!"...SAID NO ONE , EVER.


For which specific classes are designated to test each day, ask your teacher. And remember, this is new to us, as well.  We're all in this together, in varying degrees of confusion, and we all make mistakes so be patient and don't forget, we're trying this new thing FOR YOU.  So, BE POSITIVE, GIVE IT YOUR BEST EFFORT, and it'll be a win-win for everyone!  One last quote?  "Those that fail to prepare are fail."


June 18
This time is prep for your 8th period final exam.  That being said... need to turn in your notebook for a Final Check.

June 14
Today is the day "designated" for 7th period "Finals."  In your case, we'll be spending 99 minutes doing FINAL (ERD) PROJECT PRESENTATIONS.

June 6-12
ERD Research/construction. Apply the engineering design process, students have this time in which to meet all the expectations laid out in the ERD Rubric. Research, create a product, go online and do the LEED assignment, etc.
Everything you need (info-wise) you'll find under DOCUMENTS: BES

June 4
The remainder of students tested their structures.
We spent the rest of class getting an introduction to the FINAL PROJECT: An Energy-Reducing Design (or ERD, for short).

May 31
Student used their materials to build their structures.  Those that were ready, got them tested.

May 29
Students watched 2 videos: The Five Stages of (CC) Grief and Human Overpopulation.  Both require answering questions and taking notes IN THE NOTEBOOK.

May 22
We began CH 16 today: The Engineering Design Process. Student were introduced to, and employed the method to solve a challenge: Build a structure* that can hold (for 30 seconds) the most 3x5 cards.
Parameters: you get 20 pieces of 24cm long dried spaghetti and 100cm of masking tape
Today was all about planning a design, getting feedback from peers, and asking probing questions regarding the parameters and scoring.

May 18
Students watched several videos regarding our impact on the earth...The Story of Stuff, The Human Cost of Electronics, and The Wonders of Composting.

May 16
After finishing the film, we went over the Unit 4 test results & got new seats.  And began the transition to our final unit...

May 14
With a message common to our second semester learning targets is the film


May 10
TEST: CH 14 & 15...6 MCs...24 multiple choice and one essay.  Notebook due next week.
EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY!!  Yes, you can go see Tarzan but if you want DOUBLE that, click on over to DOCUMENTS: BES and download the Dr Katz Extra Credit.  It will explain exactly what to do.  But you must have it finished by MONDAY, May 14th (the notebook check).

May 8
The day was spent reviewing/prepping for THURSDAY'S TEST.  The (last) test (of the year) will cover the FIRST TWO major concepts of chapter 14 PLUS the FIRST FOUR major concepts of chapter 15. Six MCs means 24 multiple choice questions on populations, carrying capacity, and earth sustainability.

May 4
After a brief writing session in notebooks, students worked on their CH 15 assignment.

May 2
After briefly discussing the eco-footprint homework from last week, students spent the remainder of class online...doing a footprint calculator then visiting the website WORLD-o-meter for the remainder of the packet.  Both websites are listed as the top links on the LINKS page on this site.
With few exceptions, everyone had a footprint between 5 and 10 hectares (American average).  We compared that with the average footprint for citizens of India, Germany, Australia, Mexico, and Kenya.  If every human on earth shared earth's resources equally we'd all have a footprint of 1.17 ha.  Lots to think when someone says "count your blessings" ...maybe you should.

April 30
Using data from the (2005) text, students analyze two things: what global regions contain what resources (the amt of fresh water or fossil fuels available in Asia vs South America, for example) and exactly who is consuming all those resources?  The worksheet is due by the end of class. Students may submit the packet for full credit (not late) IF IT IS COMPLETED by 11:25 AM Wednesday.

April 26
HOMEWORK DUE!!!  Eco-footprint (calculated over THREE days).

We delved further into the concept of exponential growth and used stuff learned last class to better understand what makes populations grow and decline.

HOMEWORK: Finish the worksheet about the 2011 Japanese Tsunami.

April 24
After watching a couple (GAIA) videos students spent the day online doing a population simulation learning about concepts like carrying capacity and exponential growth curves.  If absent, get a copy of the worksheet in class and use the link provided on this website titled "CH 14 Engage."

April 20
We wrapped up Revenge of Gaia today. Everyone recorded the last set of Major Concepts for the year...the first 2 of CH 14 and all of CH 15 since the next test (notebook check) will be a smunching of the 2 chapters.

HOMEWORK: Between tomorrow (Saturday, April 21st) and next Thursday (April 26th) students must record their use of resources on the worksheet (water, fuel, waste, etc) FOR THREE DAYS as the introduction to our Eco-footprint unit. Forgot your worksheet?  You can download a copy from DOCs: BES.  The assignment is called SPRING BREAK HOMEWORK.  No, it wasn't but no big deal, that's the old name and I'm not changing it...whatev.  IMPORTANT: A big chunk of the points is earned by getting a "Parent Verification Signature" ON THE WORKSHEET (verifies you actually did the worksheet...AT HOME....over THREE days). 

April 18
After going over the rubric for the notebook, students shared their passages from the book on GAIA (we got about halfway through). Finishing Friday.

April 16
After reviewing the results of the CH 11 Test students read a segment of the book Revenge of Gaia.  We will share our paraphrasing of the various segments in an effort to read (via jigsaw method) the book and take notes on the various conclusions drawn by the author. IF ABSENT, download the GAIA assignment (from DOCs) and do the makeup.
Students were asked to consider whether, when faced with a tremendous challenge (like a climate crisis), they consider themselves more of a "quitter" than a "fighter" or vice versa? Things to ponder...
--if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem
--you can't solve a problem if you don't admit you have one
--even the longest of journeys begins with just a few steps in the right direction

CH 11 Notebooks were turned in at the end of class.  Items checked include...
--Engage 1 & 2 + indicator scales
--all 8 labs
--graph update (in the back)

April 5

The CH 11 Notebook Check will be on April 16...the day we get back from break.  Guarantee an EXCELLENT grade on your notebook by downloading & running the CH 11 Lab ppt and "tweaking" your notebook accordingly...


April 3

The NPR video homework was due today.

We spent the day prepping for Friday's test.  We went over the MC's, the labs, took some notes, and watched a few videos.  If you want to take a practice test, and you have the Kahoot app, I've posted a CH 11 CHALLENGE Kahoot.  Here's the important info...
ch11 kahoot.JPG


March 30
By the beginning of class today, you need ALL FOUR pages of the worksheet complete.  If, for some reason, you didn't complete all 8 Labs, that ship has are on your own; download CH 11 of the text and the ppt (of all the labs) and, as Larry The Cable Guy says, "GIT ER DONE." True, the deadline is a bit more lenient on the labs.  I won't be checking notebooks until after Spring Break but the LEARNING from the labs will be assessed on the CH 11 Test, next Thursday!!

Today we went over the CH 11 Worksheet and reviewed the Labs.  Today was all about wrapping up CH 11.  Next week we'll prep for the test (Tuesday) and then take the CH 11 Test (Thursday). 

March 28
Today is your LAST CHANCE to do the lab stations.  If you finish them, you need to get your worksheet packet is DUE FRIDAY.

March 26
A HOMEWORK assignment was given out today.  You need to watch (& summarize) an NPR series of 5 short videos concerning carbon.  Worksheets were handed out but if you lost it, you can download a copy from DOCs: BES.  The assignment is due first-thing Tuesday, April 3rd.  I recommend using the links from the download worksheet rather than searching for them. 

March 16-March 28
We are using these days to work our way through a series of (carbon) labs...looking at the many ways carbon, in its many forms, moves through our lives.  In addition, students need to ALSO complete a 4-page worksheet "packet", answering questions from the CH 11 textbook (available online!!).  So put on your "Self-Directed Learner cap" and dive in!! 

If you are absent for any of these days (or simply want to make sure you're getting everything you need for a stellar notebook check), you can "do" all 8 Labs ONLINE!!!!!  Just pop on over to he DOCs: BES page, download the proper file (are you doing the IN-CLASS version or FROM-THE-TEXTBOOK version?), and RUN the program. NOTE: these ppts do NOT work on Chromebooks nor can you use your MUST RUN the actual power point.  If you're doing this at home but your family doesn't have a MicroSoft Office suite, you know, you can just Google "FREE POWER PT VIEWER" and that should take care of business!

March 14
After reflecting on the 2 Engage activities (and watching a brief ppt RE: Pamakulle), students began their "Carbon Labs" by watching me demo Lab #1. Over the next couple weeks, students need to be self-directed, accomplishing TWO tasks; 1) a 4-page worksheet/packet and 2) doing/recording (in notebooks) Labs #2-#8.  If a student is absent (or feels they need reinforcement of the concepts), the labs can be "done" (it's called "dry lab") running the ppt I made. It can be found under DOCs: BES.

Here's the results from Engage 1 & 2 (if you missed either one)...

March 12
After some practice at balancing equations, students did the ENGAGE 2 Lab (p548-549) using dry ice & BTB (notebook).

March 8
After finishing the chemistry review (notes) everyone participated in the ENGAGE Part 1...shaking the carbon out of seltzer water and watching the pH climb.  p546 in the textbook was pretty-much transferred to the notebook.

March 6
We spent the day going over some basic concepts in chemistry (subatomic structure, conservation of mass, states of matter, chemical equations, etc) then folks recorded the color schemes for UI and BTB indicators...all in their notebooks.

March 2
NOTEBOOKS DUE TODAY...CH 9.  For 40 pts you needed;
--a page of notes, reflections, opinions on each of 6 genetic engineering topics
--tagged, describe a certain graph
--answers to the GATTACA questions (pros & cons, fav scene & why, etc)

After a prequiz (and an article on CRISP technology), students wrote down the CH 11 MCs and taped a diagram in their notebooks. We then did some popcorn reading to introduce the chapter and students took introductory notes on CHEMISTRY.

Feb 28
We finished the movie...then watched a few of the Special Features and discussed the various aspects.  As far as your notebook is concerned, on a blank page (following the Euguenics notes), title it The World of GATTACA and include responses to the following;

--a T-chart with the PROs and CONs of living in the "world of GATTACA" (no genetic privacy, designer babies, genoism, IVF and PGD are the norm, everyone has a G.Q.)...list THREE of EACH
--your opinion of the film
--your fav scene...describe it and explain WHY it was your fav

Feb 26
To wrap up our Genetic Engineering unit students started watching the classic



Feb 15
After wrapping up the final bioethical topic (EUGENICS) students were given a cursory run-through of their options for next year...specifically, "what science courses are available to earn that third, and final, science credit (for graduation)?"  Registration will commence after mid-winter break so we were being proactive in order to have a little time to consider the options. IMPORTANT: There is a Virtual Course Catalog for the science department, complete with power point presentations made by every elective teacher, in order to provide you with the opportunity to make an INFORMED decision.  BE SMART... USE IT.  Here's the link...


Feb 13
Today's topic was GMOs

Feb 9
Today was all about CLONING
stem cells.JPG

Feb 7
After finishing GENETIC PRIVACY we moved on to GENE PATENTS (and pharmacogenomics).  We wrapped up by introducing CLONING (Friday's topic).

If you are absent/miss any of these days, it is your responsibility to click on over to the DOCUMENTS page and download (run) the Bioethics power pt, covering the topic(s) you missed.  You can't copy a much of this is YOUR opinion.  In place of missing the video, go to YouTube and enter the topic into the Search bar...and watch a couple.

Feb 5
Students finished taking notes and learning (and giving opinions) about EPIGENETICS, then we started on GENETIC PRIVACY.

Feb 1
We kicked off CH 9 today...the chapter explores bioethics in relation to genetic engineering.  Today's topic was EPIGENETICS.  For each topic, students take notes, discuss, watch a couple videos, then give their opinions in their notebooks.  The "theme" for Second Semester is "Where are you going?"...and we'll explore the concepts/chapters with a nod toward engineering.  CH 9 has no MCs, no test, no worksheets...the entire grade will be based on daily notebook entries and class participation.


Jan 30
Students watched the Journey of Man...using genetic markers to retrace the migration of our species across the globe over the last 60,000 years.


If you are new to the class, scroll down, read, and do the thing...

HOMEWORK: Get the Course Expectations "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" link and download/watch the power point (virtual catalog) that describes what the class is all about. Consider the power pt my "syllabus" (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" I said, parents/guardians as well.


(3) 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. To earn the "green" points click on over to the "Documents" link, download the COURSE EXPECTATIONS for your particular course, DO NOT PRINT but rather have a parent/guardian read over the (e-version of the) document, and finally, your


EMAIL ME at the following email address;

Include, in the email, the following;


Please put STUDENT'S NAME in the Subject line.

"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).