29 November 2006

Here is a great opportunity for interested students and families! This Sunday the Ithaca Sciencenter is offering free admission from noon-5pm. At 1pm there is a workshop called "Fun and physics of skiing and snowboarding" at 2pm a workshop on "Animal Tracks" and at 3pm there is a workshop on "Winter family fun and safety". So peel yourself away from the Nintendo Wii and go check out this incredible place filled with all sorts of cool activities!

28 November 2006

This week we started our winter-long bird watching program. We got off to a slow start with the unseasonably warm weather (and "outside rec." as a source of error), but we have still seen several species including BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and NORTHERN CARDINALS. Thanks to those who have donated seed and old ink cartridges/cell phones to help defray the cost of seed. Here, TYLER P., MAC R., and SCOTT D. are in search of songbirds.
Today we got a good look at a typical animal cell. CHAD W. demonstrates the scraping technique used to remove cheek cells. Cheek cells are eukaryotic cells from a multicellular consumer. Tomorrow we begin reviewing for Friday's cell test.

27 November 2006

Tonight the Groton girls modified Volleyball team crushed Dryden 3 games to (a big fat) zero! Nice Job Ladies. I will try to make it to more of the next home match. I promise. Above, MALLORY M. reacts to a tough overhand serve.

21 November 2006

Today we saw a powerpoint presentation on local bird-feeder birds and went over our winter volunteer feeder-watch program. Students can sign up to watch at Rec. on Monday and Fridays or afterschool on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays. Remember, there is a late bus those days. I hope everyone enjoys their thanksgiving break with their family. Remember, those cell projects are due Tuesday 28 Nov. Photo courtesy of Randy at www.randyelrod.typepad.com

20 November 2006

Tonight the 7th grade Modified boys basketball team coasted to an easy 38-28 victory over Southern Cayuga. Above, the boys get warmed up after half time.

18 November 2006

Soda (pop) is very interesting...since KAITLYNN H. mentioned the pH of the stuff in a recent comment. Personally, I think it is horrible...and that's the ONE thing I would change about Tri-sci. Kids love it and I feel like a "grown-up" when I talk bad about it. But it's a fact that (especially in women) the acids in soda are very bad for us. We are all encouraged to get a lot of calcium "for our bones" right?? The acid in soda actually prevents our bones from absorbing that calcium. This is especially true for females as many become prone to osteoporosis later in life.

In the 1950's Coca-Cola was considered a Friday evening treat that you drank at the movies or while you're hanging out with that special someone before a make-out session on that point overlooking the cityscape, but today the average American drinks 55 gallons of soda a year! In contrast, how many gallons of water do you drink a year?

Soda causes the lack of calcium absorption, cavities, american childhood obesity, and numerous other health problems. In spite of all this you might think: "Man, if it's that bad then why do we allow the machines in our cafeteria?" The answer is $$$$. Schools are so desperate for funding that we allow Pepsi or Coke to put their machines in the cafeteria because they pay us a lot of money to have them there and advertise their logo. In return, we get money to buy science lab supplies, supplies for school dances, field trip funding, new furniture, etc. Kinda messed up right??? I agree. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of green tea or unsweetened fruit juice...come see me.

Saturday about 30 members from Tri-sci went to the Corning Museum of Glass. What a cool place that was! First we watched a demo on how glass is blown and then we went on a cool guided tour of the museum. This place is definitely worth checking out...plus kids 17 and under get in free!

17 November 2006

There's no better way to celebrate the 100th post on Grotonsciencegeek than with an awesome game of staff basketball. Even though the middle school came up short (and the Big Bird choked on the worm) I can honestly say that was the best thing the school has organized since I have been here. What a great time with awesome coaching from Mrs. Filzen, MIKE G., DANA S., QUIN W., KEEGAN D., and MIKE M.

16 November 2006

Cell Model Project

Background: Too often cells are portrayed as two dimensional, flat objects on a paper, but really they are three dimensional, flexible units.

Procedure: For this project you will build your very own 3-D model of a plant or animal cell. You can use any materials you like but it should not be too big, or small enough to sacrifice detail. Please just use things around your house. There is no need to go out and drop $20 on materials.

Requirements: For your project you need to include and label all of the organelles listed below. They should be large enough to see. You also need to include a sheet with your organelles listed and write each of their functions next to them.

Tips: Use pages 68-75 in your books for help in labeling and constructing. The internet will also be helpful.

Due Date: The cell model along with the cell sheet will be due Tuesday, 28 November. That’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving break. This will be worth 100 points

Make Sure You State Whether You Are Doing A Plant Or Animal Cell


Nucleus                              Nucleolus
Cell Membrane                 Ribosomes
Cell Wall (plant only)       Golgi Complex
Endoplasmic Reticulum   Lysosomes (animal only)
Chloroplast (plant only)   Vacuoles

Here are links for plant cell and animal cell diagrams.  To find more run a Google image search for "plant cell" and "animal cell"
Here is another good resource - This page has an organelle list with functions.
Today Christina Hilo was in to teach us about different types of wetlands and the plants and animals that are found in these very unique habitats. Here, EMMA G., illustrates one of the many adaptations cat-tails have developed for life in moist, anoxic environments.

Today was also Tri-sci day for the 7th grade girls. Today's activity involved determining the pH of certain liquids. Here STEPHANIE, FELICIA, MARISSA, JENNA, and SIERRA test the pH of simulated urine using litmus paper and pH indicator paper.

14 November 2006

Today I finished up grades for the first marking period. Overall, I feel we did very well. I think the grades are higher than last year's...partly because you guys took advantage of the extra credit more than they did. The following students got above a 90 (in no particular order): MARISSA N., RICKY N., KEEGAN D., BRETT C., EMILY F., MARIE R., JORDAN T., STEPHANIE B., JENNA S., KYLE J., ERICA S., MOLLY D., KYLE G., STEVEN S., LEVI H, ALEN Q, BRANDON P., COURTNEY W., JASON H. You guys should be proud of yourselves. All of that hard work WILL pay off down the road. Lets see if we can get even more of you in the 90s next marking period!

Today, Cornell junior, Susan Newman came in to teach us about reptiles and in particular, snakes. She did a wonderful job teaching us all about reptile biology and diversity. It was an awesome presentation. How many of you sorta like snakes now that you got to interact with the Boa and Corn snakes?

13 November 2006

Today, college student Richard Menger, visited us from Cornell to talk about fish gills, his research underwater, and how SCUBA diving works. Here, BRYAN, MACK, SCOTT, and DANIELLE pose for a quick picture.

09 November 2006

Today we talked about the controversy surrounding drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Here are a couple resources in case you would like to write a letter to our new representative.

For Drilling:

Against Drilling:


Learn more about the Gwich 'in tribe.

If you want to write you letter to our new representative, start it out like this:
Dear Mr. Arcuri,

...and sign it with just your name. Do not include your address or phone number as I will make it clear that it is being sent from the school.

Remember, you guys have a lot of power that you don't even realize you have but it is important to include both sides of this issue. The more educated you sound on this issue, the more seriously he will take you. Please hand these in by the end of next week so I can send them to him. If you would, instead, like to send it to a newspaper, by yourself, check out the side bar of my high school science club blog.

04 November 2006

The Best Band In The World.

Sigur rós performing "Olsen Olsen" live in Reykjavík, Iceland November 2005. Complete concert found here.

01 November 2006

Great job with the research articles guys! I was particularily impressed with some students' abilities to write as if they were actually presenting a scientific news story...which was the point anyway. The following were my favorites (not necessarily the highest grades). MIKAELA B., KAITLYN H., TYLER B., SIERRA E., MACK R., KEEGAN D., STEPHANIE B., NICOLE W., JAI A., STEVEN S., COURTNEY W., and ALEN Q. If you have not handed yours in yet you need to do so as soon as possible. I want to send these to the judges...not to mention the end of the marking period is a week from Friday. Bookmark the website.