30 January 2008

The worms are in!! Groton 7th grade science is now vermicomposting. If anyone is interested in bringing in some leftover food scraps from dinner, feel free! I'm looking for little pieces of carrots, string beans, egg shells, apple peels, and stuff like that. The smaller the better. We have over a pound of red wigglers and they'll eat between .5 and 1.0 lbs a day! Special thanks to NYSAR3 and the Happy D Ranch for donating and supplying our setup.
Today we had an awesome guest speaker as part of an afternoon assembly. Mr. Rick Bender, cancer survivor, was in to talk about his experience with chewing tobacco and what he had to go though as he developed mouth and throat cancer. Thank you to everyone...the whole school was well-behaved and asked great questions. Hopefully you go home and spread his message to family and friends.

29 January 2008


Saturday 9 Feb. the middle school girls science club (Tri-Sci) will be traveling to Cornell to take part in a variety of campus activities dealing with biology, physics, and math. The modified girls game has been rescheduled to the following Monday so if you were interested in going before, you may now make both. Please get your permission slips in ASAP to Mr. DeVoe.

24 January 2008

Today we viewed several protists under the microscope. We had a chance to look at animal-like protists (protozoa) and plant-like protists (algae). Tomorrow we will venture into the fungi kingdom.

20 January 2008

This May, the Groton Science department will be hosting its 2nd annual Science Day.  This year's theme will be "Scientific Challenges of the 21st Century"... issues that will effect life in the coming century.  The 7th grade students will make a project addressing a scientific issue of their choice.  Since this class is Life Science your topic will be limited to biological topics.  Examples include endangered species, genetic engineering, world-wide food shortages, invasive species, pollution, the biological impacts of global warming, the ongoing war against teaching evolution, garbage/landfills, coral reef destruction, human population growth, fresh water shortages, and many more.

This project will count as 1/2 of your final exam grade.  You may complete this project though a variety of ways:  A poster, an essay, a podcast, a powerpoint, a movie, an experiment, or some other way.  At Science Day you will be able to display your project and present it in a "science fair" type setting.  Your grade will be based on three things:  Time spent on the project, creativity/neatness, and accuracy.  More information will be given in class.

15 January 2008

Here is the video from one of yesterday's skits...from Mitch and Sergey.

14 January 2008

Today, several students acted out their bacteria/virus infection skits. OLIVIA and JENNA are shown in the photo acting out JENNA's horrible case of food poisoning. There were many good ones and I look forward to reading the rest of the scripts tomorrow. I will soon have video posted from today.

11 January 2008

Yesterday we analyzed the results of the spice lab. As seen in the picture, we concluded that cinnamon has high antibacterial properties. The petri dish shows bacteria growing around the cinnamon but not on top of it. We also concluded that the green leafy spices usually carry some sort of bacteria on the leaf, thus promoting bacterial growth.

Today we watched a video clip about viruses. The question came up about how small viruses are in relation to cells. The figure puts viruses right between bacteria (prokaryotes) and proteins. Special thanks to Mr. Grazul for providing excellent scanning electron microscope images of Tobacco Mosaic Virus and yeast.

08 January 2008

Today we set out to to determine whether or not certain spices hold antibiotic properties. Above, a petri dish containing a bay leaf and cinnamon was inoculated with bacteria. We will examine the results on Thursday. Other herbs and spices included chili powder, allspice, paprika, green tea, and basil. Later this week I'm going to be looking for a "guest blogger" to either write or podcast a summary of our results. Anyone interested?? Special thanks to James Doroghazi for helping with the setup of this lab.

03 January 2008

Today we started our unit on bacteria and viruses. We often think of humans as the top of the food chain, however, if there were one group of organisms that could claim that prize it would be these microscopic marvels. Despite the bad reputation, most bacteria are very helpful - giving us certain foods, digesting what we eat, cleaning up toxic spills, and returning nutrients to our soil.

02 January 2008

Composting in the winter is hard work. Not only are those bacteria really slow at breaking down the scraps but the trips to the bins are COLD. Luckily JORDAN T. and LARRY S. are tough. Speaking of bacteria, tomorrow we will be jumping right into the bacteria/virus unit. Let's start off 2008 with some good grades. 3 weeks until the end of the marking quarter.