Friday, March 31, 2017

Reflection for Week of Mar. 27 to Mar.31

Standards of the Week: [4.5, 4.6]

How did you do on your work:
This week we worked on the fruit fly inheritance, inheritance practice problems, and AP test multiple choice practice. I feel that I did well on the fruit fly lab and inheritance practice questions, as they were both similar in nature in terms of calculating and determining inheritance patterns. I also ended up getting lucky on the fly lab as the two genes of my choice ended up being simple autosomal dominant/recessive. With the multiple choice, I felt pretty good on it as all the questions covered evolution-related topics and that was my best unit this year and I felt that most of the questions were on the easier side.

What do you understand well:
I feel that I understand inheritance patterns well as this week was really on focused on that. Most inheritance patterns seem pretty straight forward, especially mendelian ones, and they were focused on in advanced biology so I have a pretty good base layer of knowledge going into this part of unit four.

Where do you think you can improve:
After doing the AP practice problems I realized just how much information is covered on the test and feel that I can improve upon some of my long-term knowledge retention I know for this unit and some of the other units in the past (mainly unit three) I am only memorizing certain portions of information for the test. This has worked for me so far through the year but will likely lead to problems during the actual AP test.

What strategies will you use to improve:
To improve upon my long-term content retention I will try to review what we have already learned in small increments to srefresh my mind on what we have learned. I will also try to learn the information and ask questions about anything that I am unsure about so that I can avoid simply memorizing information for a test and then forgetting it.

How does the current work fit into the context of the course:
This weeks work is an extension of last weeks work with more focus and practice with inheritance patterns. Inheritance patterns are related to genetics/DNA which is the basis of life, also inheritance patterns allow for variation among a population allowing for speciation/natural selection/evolution which is what unit one was focused on.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Reflection for Week of Mar. 20 to Mar. 24

Standards of the Week [4.6, 4.7, 4.8]

How did you do on your work?
This week we worked on Punnett squares, Chi-squares, Mendelian genetics and the fungus tetrad activity. I felt pretty good on the work as the Mendelian genetics were mostly a review from last year and they are pretty straight forward. The fungus tetrad activity was a bit harder with finding the map distances but after asking Mrs. Cole it made sense and the whole activity came together.

What do you think you understand well?
I feel that I understand Mendelian genetics and Chi-square analyses pretty well now. As I said the Mendelian stuff is mainly review from last year and I did well on it, and with all the extra practice with Chi-squares I think I finally understand how to do them as two weeks ago I was having trouble as I am not in stats this year.

Where do you think you can improve?
I need to slow down on some of the simpler problems with genetics as I assume that I know what I am doing and don't end up reading the whole question or misreading a keyword in the problem. This then sets me up for failure when I do out the problem which isn't good. I think I could also use some time to work on remembering Mendel's laws as last year in chemistry I could never remember what law was what.

What strategies will you use to improve?
I will slow down when reading the question to make sure I am answering the correct question in the correct way. I will also review Mendel's laws until I understand what they are and how Mendel came to the conclusion that the laws were laws.

How does the current work fit into the context of the course?
Genes and alleles are parts of DNA which brings us back to the very basis of biology, DNA. DNA is the most important organic molecule because without it there would be no different species, no variation, and no life. This week also fits in well with the evolution unit as alleles affect what phenotype is expressed and natural selection often caters towards one phenotype or another like with the rock pocket mice being light or dark furred.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cancer 3-2-1

Things that I learned:
1-The same cancer can be caused by several different sets of mutations.
2-Tumor suppressor genes were more common to be mutated from the two groups that I was in
3-That virotherapy is being used to treat liver cancer. I didn't know that virotherapy was a thing until this unit in bio and even after learning it was a thing I hadn't heard or read of any uses of it until doing this cancer activity.  

Things that surprised me:
1-The sets of mutations were very different within a single type of cancer. Some people only had two mutations while others with the same cancer had five or six mutations.
2-Certain genes were prevalent in several cancers such as JAK2 and especially TP53. I thought that each type of cancer would have its own set of mutated genes.

One Question that I have:
If several different cancers are caused mutations within the same chromosome and gene what causes one cancer to be different from another if the gene mutations are the same? Is it just where the cells are located in the body or something more complex?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reflection for Week of Mar. 6 to Mar.10

Standards of the Week [4.4, 4.5, 4.7]

How did you do on your work?
This week we did a POGIL on cell division and a click and learn. I feel I did well on both for the most part; however, with the click and learn extension problems I had some trouble as they challenging for me with having to remember what mutations affect proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors, and with all the acronyms of the different proteins and remembering what each one does.

What do you think you understand well?
I feel that I understand standards 4.4 and 4.7 pretty well as we focused on mitosis and meiosis pretty heavily in advanced biology and throughout AP Bio this year we have learned about genetic variation with the information unit and evolution unit. I don't feel confident on diploid and haploid (n and 2n stuff) as I had trouble with it freshman year and we haven't gotten into much depth with it yet this year.

Where do you think you can improve?
I think I can improve on learning to identify each step of cell division in a cell as I missed that day in class and had some difficulty with this as a freshman. I think I can also improve on understanding proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors in greater depth. As of now I only understand the basics of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors and the click and learn made me realize how complicated they really are.

What strategies will you use to improve?
To improve at identifying stages of cell division I will try to go to class during study hall to the activity I missed with looking at cells and looking at cells dividing online so I can easily identify the stages of cell division. To understand proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors I will review the click and learn and ask questions about them as they come up.

How does the current work fit the context of the course?
Cancer and cell division goes along with what we recently learned about the structure of DNA and how it replicates because for a cell to divide DNA must replicate. Also knowing how errors can appear in DNA to cause side effects such as cancer within an organism. Another connection is with evolution and how genetic variation needs to exist we are now learning about how sexually and asexually reproducing organisms gain genetic variation allowing for things such as natural selection.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Weekly Reflection for Week of Feb. 27 to Mar. 3

Standards of the week: [4.3 and 4.4]

How did you do on your work?
This week we discoed the virus vodcast and spent the week doing the PCR lab and comparing our class data to other data sets around the world using chi-square. I feel that I did very well on the PCR lab, especially since I was the only one in my group to have a band show up after electrophoresis even if it was very faint. I had also had previous experience with parts of the PCR lab with my freshman year science fair experiment using electrophoresis to compare proteins in different types of meats.

What do you understand well?
I understand PCR pretty well after doing the lab. When reading about PCR and reading the prelab for it there were a few parts that I was confused one, but for the most part I understood it. After doing the lab the parts I was confused about were then cleared up as it did them.

Where do you think you can improve?
I think I can improve on using the chi-square. I am not in stats this year so I don't feel that confident with using the chi-square and comparing the results. With doing the PCR lab and comparing our data to other data with chi-square I should get enough practice with chi-square to feel more confident doing them.

What strategies can you use to improve?
As I said above just doing more chi-square problems can help me become more confident in using them, and in this lab we have to use them so I am getting the practice that I need with chi-square.

How does this work fit into the context/narrative of the course?
The work we did this fits in well with the context of the course. Before doing the PCR lab we learned about different biotechnologies and how they can be applied in real life, the Mystery of Jeff worksheet for example. We then used PCR, a very major biotech tool and are using the data to see how we compare to other groups of people around the world, a real life application. Also in order to understand how PCR works we had to have knowledge about the structure of DNA and the process of DNA replication.