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ETD 15: A. Draw + Explain How you turn a Meatball into a Monkey.
October 10, 2013 at 11:48am


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Tyler Brenneman
October 14, 2013 at 8:50pm

PARENT:  I learned that a living being (such as a monkey) begins with just two parts: a sperm and an egg.  Once combined, the sperm and egg go through a lot of cell divisions and cell reproduction.  Depending on the combination of cells and DNA, a particular life form begins with unique traits specific to him. 

I also learned that too much reproduction of particular cells can result in cancer. 

STUDENT: I learned that without Cytoplasmic Determents, our world be a completely different place. All people would have the same DNA which means everybody would be completely the same. Who knows what the world would be like.

Randall Mueller
October 14, 2013 at 9:17pm

Parent response: Some of this I already knew - the two half cells forming one cell, dividing and growing, but I learned that the cells are given their 'assignments' as to where they belong from DNA, which is like a map for them to evolve into the organism they were meant to be.

Student response: My mom knew parts of this, but I was able to answer her question about how cells are directed by the DNA. I described how each cell reads a different "chapter" from the DNA, and how those chapters determine the function of the tissue the cells will become. 

Brett Babbel
October 16, 2013 at 7:49pm

Parent response: She learned that mother sends in the transcription factors that tell the cell what it needs to do to form the right shape. SHe also learned that the cells are always regenerating and making more during its growth. Also that what the mother eats and drinks and surrounding effect the transcription factors and even stress and hormones effect the transcription factors.

Student: I better learned that the transcription factors are everything that the mother consumes and is around in the world and they greatly effect what transcriptions are sent in and what the embryo receives which in the end determines what the embryo creates and if the baby organism is correctly formed or not.

Kevin Turek
December 30, 2013 at 8:39pm

Parent: My son explained that we are nothing without the instructions of dna and the different types of cells and messages to instruct how we make our flesh into a working human body.

Student: initially this was confusing for my mother, I think that she got so caught up in the original analogy but eventually she saw the big picture.

Alchemy Malcom
January 18, 2014 at 7:49pm

Parent: I thought it was funny that it really had nothing to do with meatballs. I learned that the sperm and the egg are both only half cells and they form a whole cell called a zygote. I learned that neuron cells make up your nervous system. I also learned about transcription factors that help to turn on the genes that code for the DNA in an organism.

Student: Bad news: I had to inform my mother that you really cannot turn a meatball into a monkey. ;) Sad day. But good news, I got to review the process of going from the transcription factors that help turn on the genes that code for your DNA. This DNA makes up your specialized cells from neuron cells to muscle cells and bone cells and everything else in between. These cells all form a multicellular organism that could be a monkey or any other living thing that is not unicellular. I really enjoyed teaching this concept and I think she enjoyed it as well.

Jessica Houston
January 26, 2014 at 9:54pm

Parent: I learned that a male sperm cell is only half a cell really, the same with a female egg, and together they create a zygote. The new zygote then goes through the process of cellular division and keeps creating new cells. Eventually, these cells start to differentiate to create cells with specific jobs like muscle, skin, and nerve cells. The combination of all these specialized cells will create the organism, or monkey in this case.

Student: My dad was at first confused because of the whole meatball thing and kept waiting for me to tie in meatballs in the creation of a monkey but I did explain that meatballs just represent a big collection of inactive cells that are not specialized. He also had a hard time grasping the concept of why cells differentiate but I said that it was because they all have the same DNA, but according to what needs to be done and where, different genes in different cells gets turned on or "expressed".

Talesh Patel
October 19, 2014 at 6:17pm

Parent: my son explained that the "meatball" aka zygote through cell division creates an embryo and eventually creates a monkey by development of bones, muscle, and neurological tissue that develops the brain.


Student: I drew an example for my dad to look at the explains how maternal effect sends signals to code for different purposes. It also showed the osteosite, neurons, and muscle cells that lead to main systems in a functioning organism. 

Madison Neyers
October 24, 2014 at 9:34pm

Parent: I was informed how to turn a meatball which in this example is a zygote that is transformed through mitosis and cell division to become an embryo and eventually create a monkey which is the organism that is eventually created after the first process of fertilization between the sperm and egg. 

Student: The embryo is a very complex structure holding information about the organisms genes and what is going to be expressed. Each DNA strand in the embryo codes for a different gene being expressed. One could be muscle cells and the next could be neurons making connections and forming a complex brain.

Madison Boggan
November 22, 2014 at 3:18pm

Parent: At first I thought a meatball really could be turned into a monkey but then I realized that the meatball is symbolic of a gamete, zygote or embryo. I like that mothers start telling their babies what to do while in the womb. It is interesting that a mom's body knows to send information through inductive messages to help their babies grow. I think this is a great lesson that parallels biology with life via the idea that moms do know what's best and guide their kids in the right direction based off of their knowledge or instincts. 

Student: Reviewing this concept and explaining it to my mom again blows my mind that humans start off as tiny little gametes and eventually their cells are directed by homeotic genes to turn into specialized cells to turn into nerves, muscles and all the other body parts. I concede that mom's do know best and it is cool that they instruct their babies inside of them so much. 

Delaney Tiernan
December 30, 2014 at 10:15pm

Student: Cells all have DNA and genes within them. You get your genes from your mother and father through sperm and egg. These genes however can now be altered. With the process of mitosis, organisms form from cells. Within genes are many transcription factors. These transcription factors determine many functions and characteristics within an organism, so if they were changed just right, an organism could change completely. 

Parent: This concept was interesting! I didn't know that such things could be altered so much that an organism could change. Genes and DNA being passed on to offspring is an interesting concept too so I enjoyed Delaney's detail describing this process. 

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