Archive for November, 2010

Helpful revision links

Friday, November 19th, 2010


Hardcore study time by Wysz on flickr

Here are some (hopefully) useful links to help you prepare for your exam.  They do not cover everything, but they cover a lot.

The first few pages here deal with energy transfers and conduction, convection and radiation.

We have used these before, but this one on photosynthesis and this one on respiration are good.  Photosynthesis.

Food chains, food webs and the carbon cycleDifferent site, same topics.

Useful revision stuff

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Studying math by scui3asteveo on flickr

Click here for some revision notes on pathogens and the three lines of defense.  Immune system.

The first couple of pages of this site are good for variation and genetics review.  Variation.   Genetics.

Some information on leversMoments.  More information on the skeleton, joints and levers.

Creativity with carbon

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Imagine you are a carbon atom in a molecule of carbon dioxide in the air.  Close your eyes.  Really imagine yourself as that carbon atom.  Your task is to describe the journey you take from being part of carbon dioxide in the air, through the carbon cycle, until you return to the air again.  Here is my attempt at the beginnings of such a story to give you the idea.  You do not need to start in this way.  You decide.  Get creative!  Let your imagination work!

There I was, happily floating around in my usual gaseous form along with several of my brothers and sisters  (other carbon dioxide molecules), and my good friends nitrogen and oxygen.  We were having a great time bumping into one another, when I got dangerously close to a leaf.  Everyone had always told me to stay away from green plants, that I could get sucked into a stoma and never be seen again.  Before I realized what was happening, I was inside a chloroplast and going through a very fast reaction where I had to let go of my two oxygen atoms, and for a moment be entirely alone.  Before long, I found some other carbons and we joined together, 6 of us, 12 hydrogen friends and 6 oxygen buddies to form a glucose molecule….

Carbon cycle

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Electric by johnb/uk

We’re going to try and connect all that we have been learning – respiration, combustion, photosynthesis, food chains – into one big carbon cycle. This brainpop video will help get you started.  

This one on fossil fuels explains where oil, coal and gas come from, and leads into our next section on the importance of oil and how to separate it out by distillation.  This video explains how this works in an oil refinery. We’ll do a world energy audit and look at where the natural resources are and what the alternative energy sources might be.

Energy along food chains

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

012 by pixpoils on flickr

What is a food chain?  It is a representation of energy flow through an ecosystem.  All food chains begin with a green plant, that traps energy from the Sun. We’ll look at lots of examples, and get to grips with terms such as producer, consumer, carnivore, herbivore, autotroph, heterotroph.

Food chains have limited use in looking at the big picture in an ecosystem, since there is usually more than one organism feeding on each food source.  For a more realistic view of what happens in nature we need to consider food webs.  A food web is a number of inter-connected food chains.

Check out this brainpop video.

We’ll discuss the idea of interdependence between all the organisms within a food chain, and look at how disease or a change in the environment affects things.

We need to answer this important question:  why are food chains short (only 3 or 4 organisms long)?

We’ll use explorelearning to help us with these concepts.  Log in using the details given in class, type a search for food chains.  Follow the instructions for the food chain, praire ecosystem and forest ecosystem activities.  Enjoy!

And here are a couple more sites to help reinforce these ideas.  This one is from bbc science and this one allows you to explore a number of food webs.

This booklet by Mr Boulton might be useful for review and notes.Booklet to learn about ecology

Exam approaching … get ready!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Whee by Adam Mulligan on flickr

Here is the revision checklist for the November exam.  The exam will be 90 minutes long.  You will answer all questions on the paper in the spaces provided.



Use this document to help you prepare thoroughly.  There is no need to panic – this is simply another assessment tool.  Think of it like a big test. The only difference is that you will be taking it in the gym instead of in the classroom.

You need to bring pens, pencils, eraser, ruler and calculator to the exam.  YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO BORROW ANY OF THESE ITEMS so come prepared.

Systems performance task

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

You will try and put together much of the ideas we have been learning over the past months with this assignment.  You will choose one of the following systems to design:

  • Design a system to transport mangoes from the Philippines to France.
  • Design a system to detect typhoons/earthquakes/ tsunamis etc, and warn people.
  • Design a system to lift an injured elephant from the ground onto a truck (1.5m high).
  • Design a system to help a person with diabetes maintain a constant sugar level in their blood.

You make work alone or with a partner.  Start by reading this rubric:  Rubric for systems performance task

DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Lego DNA by mknowles on flickr

This is a big topic!  And an important one. 

We’ll start by looking at the structure of DNA, then studying two important processes – replication and protein synthesis.  I will give you some handouts in class, but here are other resources you might find helpful.  I will add to this post as we find more.

This brilliant website by John Kyrk. 

These presentations from Mr Taylor: DNA structure   DNA replication   Protein synthesis core   Protein synthesis HL  

Protein Synthesis – AHL

Watch this video on how to extract DNA from strawberries.  We’ll be doing it in class.

More photosynthesis and respiration …

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Photosynthesis on the act by andredoreto on flickr

Welcome back after a well-deserved break.  Now to pick up where we left off …

We will be doing an online photosynthesis simulation using explorelearning.  You will need to log in with username and password.  These are the same as for brainpop.  Click on launch gizmo on the photosynthesis lab.  You can then experiment by changing several factors and seeing how it affects the rate.  Here are some questions to answer:

  • What effect does changing temperature have on the rate of photosynthesis?
  • What effect does changing light intensity have on the rate of photosynthesis?
  • What effect does changing carbon dioxide concentration have on the rate of photosynthesis?
  • What effect does changing the colour of light (wavelength) have on the rate of photosynthesis?

For each of these, can you sketch the shape of the graph.  Don’t forget to label the axes.

We will be discussing the concept of limiting factors.  We will use the data in this excel document for this. Limiting factors data

You can check out this post by Mr Duckworth for some extra help as well.