Mr. Maretka’s Biology Blog…

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APES Hosts Independence COOP Pond Study

by Mr. Maretka - September 26th, 2013

On September 25, the AP Environmental Science students spent the day conducting a pond study with the local COOP Preschool. Each APES student was paired up with a preschooler and was responsible for helping them catch the various organisms in the pond and then teach them something about each organism. To prepare for this, the APES class studied each macro-invertebrate in the pond and was tested on their identification and classification prior to this pond study. Here are some highlights of the day:

The APES students and the preschoolers exploring the pond ecosystem.

Luke working with a preschool student and collecting pond organisms.

Claire, an APES student, collecting organisms with her preschooler.

Dan and his preschooler sifting through weeds collected from the pond, looking for macro-invertebrates.

A shot of the entire group collecting and identifying organisms from the pond.

More posts to come soon, stay tuned…

APES at the Land Lab…

by Mr. Maretka - September 11th, 2013

 

Today the AP Environmental Science (APES) class went to the land lab classroom for the first time and began work on adding pictures to their macroinvertebrate flashcards. The flashcards will help the class to memorize the various organisms that can be found in a pond at the land lab, which will be the focus of a future pond study aimed at furthering the student’s understanding of the biodiversity in local ecosystems. Understanding biodiversity is the first step to preserving it, after all.

The AP Environmental Science class working in the land lab classroom.

Students cutting and pasting drawings of macroinvertebrates to add to their flashcards. The drawings are used to help identify organisms in the field.

An APES student, Joel, cutting and pasting drawings of the different macroinvertebrates onto his flashcards.

 

Once the students memorize the various macroinvertebrates, they will spend a day teaching eager “microbiologists” from Independence COOP Preschool about these organisms and how they live and interact with each other in the pond ecosystem. The APES students will take the children down to the pond to catch these organisms, making the learning more fun and interactive.

Stay tuned…

Pond Study at The Land Lab…

by Mr. Maretka - September 28th, 2011

The AP Environmental Science class hosted a pond study at the Land Lab today!
The students of the Independence COOP Preschool joined us today for a “Outdoor Adventure”.

We spent the day exploring the pond ecosystem…

The AP students became the teachers and shared their knowledge of the many macroinvertebrates
that live in a typical freshwater pond.

Here’s Kylee and student…

Here’s Mary with Allie and Dominic. They caught a really big frog, but it jumped
Away.

Here’s John and Brayden. Their highlight of the day was they caught a green frog.

Here’s Andy and student. She loved catching tadpoles.

Here’s Cassie and Jack. Jack enjoyed playing with the organisms in the bucket.

Here’s Courtney and Noah. They caught several dragonfly nymphs.

Here’s Matt and student…

Here’s Mike and Tyler. Tyler liked catching “Skimmers” (dragonfly nymphs).

Here’s Monica and student…

Here’s Ryan and student…

Here’s Tony and Steve with student…

After rummaging through the pond, the students had snack and went on a small hike through the woods.
Here they are taking advantage of a ”photo-op” at the animal observation deck…

The morning group left and the afternoon group came…

Here’s Kylee and student…

Here’s Mary and Genevieve and Spencer.

Here’s John and students…

Here’s Andy and Christopher..

Here’s Cassie with Mia and Nicole.

Here’s Alexa and Allie with Erin and Sopie.

Here’s Nic and Courtney with Kayla.

Here’s Matt and student…

Here’s Mike and Molly.

Here’s Monica and Tommy.

Here’s Natalie and Sanjai.

Here’s Ryan and Colin.

Here’s Steve and Tony with CJ.

Even Mr. Marlow stopped by in the afternoon to get in on the fun…

After rummaging in the pond, it was snack time and a hike.  The afternoon group also took advantage
of the animal observation deck photo-op…

In the end, a great time was had by all.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday than by rummaging in a pond…

The best way to learn about nature is to experience it!
Thanks to all for making this a wonderful outdoor adventure.

Pond Study at The Land Lab…

by Mr. Maretka - November 7th, 2008

The Environmental Science Class visits the Land Lab for a pond study.

Cytology Notecard Quiz Today!

by Mr. Maretka - October 24th, 2008

Don’t forget your Cytology Notecards today!

Let’s see just how accurate your Cytology Notecards are…

The Wonderful World of Cells (Part II)

by Mr. Maretka - October 23rd, 2008

Today the students were in the lab again experiencing the wonderful world of cells.
This time however, they were focussed on the plant cell. Let’s take a look…

Allison and Christina give a big “thumbs up” for plant cells…

The purpose of the lab was to look for specific organelles in various plant cells.

The first cell the students were to look at was an onion cell with the goal of locating
the nucleus and nucleoli within it.

Here are some onion cells under low power (10x).  Can you see the nuclei? 

A closer look shows the nucleus within the cell.  
Later will see a really good slide of the nucleus with nucleoli. Be patient…

The second cell the students were to look at was an Elodea (Anachris) cell. 

While viewing the Anachris cells, the students were to observe the many chloroplasts
within each cell.  

And if they were lucky, they would witness them moving throughout
the cytoplasm through a process known as “cytoplasmic streaming”.

Catherine and Robin are looking at a leaflet of Elodea right now, lets take a look…
 
Here are some Elodea cells under medium power (100x).

Another view of the Elodea cells shows the chloroplasts nicely.
And these chloroplasts were moving… “cytoplasmic streaming” at it’s best.

Betsy and Hannah are loving plant cells.  
They just finished looking at potato cells, observing the many leucoplasts within.

These are potato cells under medium power (100x).  
The little clear circles are actually the leucoplasts.  
These organelles store starch in plant cells.

Here are the leucoplasts after stained with iodine.
Iodine is often used as a starch indicator, it turns dark blue/black when in contact with starch.

Let’s see how the afternoon class did with this lab.

Nicole, Michelle, and Cheyenne are looking at an onion cell.

Here is the onion cell with it’s nucleus again under medium power (100x).
 

Under high power (400x), you can see the nucleoli within the nucleus.

Here’s a couple of “Super-biologists” loving the field of cytology…
Gil and Jimmy did a real nice job on their Elodea cell slide, but wait until you see
their potato cell slide.

Elodea cells under high power (400x)… very nice!
 

Here is Gil and Jimmy’s potato cell slide viewed under low power (10x).
 

Here it is stained with iodine. Now that’s nice!

Here it is under under high power (400x).  Look at those leucoplasts… very nice!

Well another lab day comes to an end.

We hope you enjoyed your visit to the “Wonderful World of Cells (Part II)”.

Until next time…
 



 

The Wonderful World of Cells (Part I)

by Mr. Maretka - October 16th, 2008

Today in lab, the Biology classes discovered the wonderful world of cells… 

In 1665, Robert Hooke looked at thin slices of cork under a microscope.  
He observed the tiny little “boxes” that made up the cork and described them
as looking like tiny little “cells”.  

Today the Biology classes got to see first hand just what Robert Hooke had observed so many years ago…

 

Anne carefully takes a thin slice of cork using a razor blade.  Emilie and Rachel watch in amazement!

A closer look shows Anne’s careful technique.  Nice job Anne!

After making a wet-mount of the cork slice, the students observed it under medium power and high power.
Kevin and Travis are getting ready to look at their cork slice.  Let’s take a look… 

Here is a slice of cork under medium power (100x).  Wow, look at those tiny little compartments…

The students recorded their observations by sketching the structure of the cork in their lab.

A closer look under high power (400x) shows the remnants of the cell walls that once made up the plant’s
tissue…
 

After looking at cork cells, the students had a chance to look at there cheek cells under the microscope.

Here’s Kevin scraping the inside of his mouth with a toothpick trying to get a good sample of cell…

Jimmy’s looking at one his cheek cells right now.  Hey Jimmy can we take a look?

There it is, a cheek cell “up close and personal”…  Nice one Jimmy!

Before you knew it, everybody was looking at cheek cells…
 

A cheek cell here…
 

A cheek cell there…

Everywhere a cheek cell…

There were so many good cheek cells today, I couldn’t possibly get pictures of them all.

Hey Kristen, this is a picture of yours just as you requested… 
 

Nice job today by everyone!  I hope you enjoyed your visit to the “Wonderful World of Cells”!

Picture of the day..
Joe scraping away at his cheek.

Until next time…

Habitat Scavenger Hunt at The Land Lab…

by Mr. Maretka - October 3rd, 2008

Friday morning, the “Enviro-Gang”  met at the Land Lab early in the morning to explore the forest for animal habitats…

Although it was a little wet, this didn’t dampen the spirits of these students…

We noticed this hollowed out tree trunk with some nut debris near the opening, suggesting some little critter was using it as a place to enjoy a meal. 

Not far from there, we noticed a squirrel nest in the tree canopy…

Squirrels use leaves to construct impressive little homes high in the trees…

Also near by was a dead tree with some woodpecker holes in it.  Most of these holes were made by the woodpecker while looking for insects within the dead wood.  We did however find some larger holes, where the trunk had also been hollowed out for a potential nest site. 

Here we found a grass spider, who had used the peeling bark of a dead tree to build it’s infamous funnel web in hopes of capturing a morning meal…

Here’s a closer look… maybe you can see the web.  If not, take our word for it, it was impressive.

Josh found some mud dauber wasp nests under the roof of one of the wooden structures…

It is amazing the homes these little wasps can make with mud.

The carpenter bee also uses the wood structures for their homes, however they just bore tunnels right through the wood.
 

These students are hardcore!  Not many people would wake up early on a rainy Friday to go out exploring in the woods.  Let you all be role models to others…  


Biodiversity Plot Study Comes To An End…

by Mr. Maretka - September 25th, 2008

The “Enviro-Gang” met at the Land Lab classroom this morning to finish their biodiversity plot studies.

The students gathered their data and sketched their plots accordingly…

Using various colors to represent certain environmental factors, the students reconstruct their biodiversity plots. 

The students will compare data and discuss similarities and differences, focussing on the biodiversity of each ecosystem and the environmental factors that may have influenced such results.

Shawn works hard to finish his plot…

In the end, each student should end up with a drawing that will visually display their data and clearly show the differences between ecosystems.  That looks good Nick!  

The best way to learn about the environment is to experience it first hand!

Until next time…

Biodiversity Plot Study Continued…

by Mr. Maretka - September 24th, 2008

The Environmental Science Class returned to the Land Lab to continue their Biodiversity
Plot Study.  This time they explored an open field ecosystem. 

Here’s the “Enviro-Gang” getting ready to set up their plots…

Quickly the students split up into their small groups and get busy working…

Digging deep in the grass, Brittany and Sharon found several species of spiders in their plot…

George and Chris are checking out a milkweed plant within their plot…

Josh and Nick putting some finishing touches on their data sheet…

Shawn and Mrs. “O” found an ant hill in their plot… nice job you two!

Bryan and Marty working hard as always…

Before we knew it, it was time to clean up and head back to the school.
Time flies when doing a biodiversity plot study… 

Tomorrow we will meet in the Land Lab classroom to compile all our data.

To be continued…