30 January 2009

Mushroom Mayhem! We've been studying fungi in class, including the diversity, usefulness to humans and also the negative aspects. Today we dissected your typical grocery store mushroom in class. The gills looked awesome under the stereomicroscope.

29 January 2009

This week we've been learning more about the Protist Kingdom. Today we looked at animal-like protists (protozoans) and plant-like protists (phytoplankton). Here is a good shot of phytoplankton under the low-power objective of our scopes.

27 January 2009

This year's topic in the Sisterhood of Science is "water resources". Today we learned how water flows in relation to terrain. Here Darian, Paige, and Alissa create a surface for flooding. I'm looking forward to next month's activities because we're getting into topographic maps....Mmmmm. Also, stay tuned for another S.O.S field trip at the end of February. Details to come.

In class we're learning about Kingdom Protista. Here is a great website that a teacher in Indiana put together on the topic.

25 January 2009

View Larger MapI did some showshoeing today in the nature trails behind the school. Not too many highlights other than a few areas where deer have been bedding down and a couple songbirds. This map shows the trails I traveled on.

23 January 2009

Please Welcome Mr. Toyama to Blogger! He's got a great start to his website.

22 January 2009

Today we went through 24 stations addressing topics since the beginning of the year. Here, Miranda looks through a scope to review for tomorrow's mid-term exam.
In other news, the trout seem to still be doing OK. We have roughly 60-70 of them still alive and they are eagerly awaiting their spring release date.

18 January 2009

This morning I woke to a female cardinal colliding with a window. Cardinals are notorious for this. I put her in a box and placed her inside for an hour. She got much better and starting flying around inside until I let her out a window. She was initially pretty bad, bleeding from the mouth, but now she should be ok.

17 January 2009

I'm pretty lucky with the diversity of birds I get at my home feeder. I'm doing some school work and while looking out the window over the past 10 minutes I've seen cardinals, a hairy woodpecker, chickadees, titmice, juncos, mourning doves, goldfinches, a white-breasted nuthatch, a red-bellied woodpecker, and a tree sparrow. It's been a busy morning out there and Darwin was going nuts at the window.

16 January 2009

Overnight we grew bacteria samples from around the room on nutrient agar plates. Samples ranged from inside the sink to door handles to classroom pets. One group first period sampled a toilet in the bathroom. Their plate didn't grow anything, proving that the bathroom does indeed get cleaned thoroughly.
Here is a sample that came from one of my sinks. I guess I'd better clean them.

15 January 2009

14 January 2009

Here is a bacterial plate my neighbor gave me from Cornell. He studies bacterial reproduction in a lab. This is Streptomyces spp, which give soil that unique smell. Some in this genus are also used to make antibiotics to cure some of our diseases.
Tomorrow's lab should be fun as we run some bacterial experiments. This is the nutrient agar being heated (and sterilized) before use. It is then poured into the petri dishes.

13 January 2009

CALI G. submitted an amazing movie script for today's infectious disease script assignment. Take a look and make sure you give it a good rating!

12 January 2009


Saturday February 14th
At the Groton Elementary School, 10am-4pm
Come Out and Join the Fun!

New this year, DOG SLED RIDES!!
Professional dog musher coming to Groton! Rides on the hour (Fee)
Raffle for family Dog Sled adventure in Redfield NY ($200 value)
Bounce House (free)
Snow Cones
Kiddy Games with prizes + face painting (free)
Tompkins Co. SPCA
Craft Projects with Tompkins Co. Solid Waste
Free Cross-Country ski rental
Outdoor games for kids + Sledding (free)
Home Depot “Team Depot” in small gym (free)
Youth Baseball/Softball pancake breakfast, 9am
Food and Refreshments
Recycled Toboggan Contest & Race. Lots of Prizes! (entry forms at Groton Village office, area businesses and at www.grotonny.org, click on Park/Rec.)
Contestants line up sleds at NOON
Toboggan Race at 1:00
A really cool contest arrived in front of me today and I'm encouraging everyone to enter it. It's called the America's Greenest School contest. All they want is a 500 word essay about why you think Groton is the "greenest" school in the country. The winning district wins a hybrid school bus (worth $200,000) and the student wins $3000 and possibly a $5000 scholarship. We have A LOT to write about. We have an awesome recycling program, the Rot-in-Groton compost program that saves over 300 lbs of waste a week, and a student veggie garden that provides food for the cafeteria. We just need some ambitious students to write about it. Please see me for more details and/or help with the essay.

09 January 2009

News to note....

In case you're looking for some time to kill on this frigid weekend, check out these news stories I stumbled upon. Write a brief opinion and/or summary in the comment section for a lil' extra credit.

Bacteria in the news...again.

England's "Cancer Free" Baby

Climate change = food shortages?

06 January 2009

Today we looked at how easily harmful bacteria can be spread. We had a fictional outbreak of a "bacteria" that was only visible under blacklight. Make sure you wash those hands!

05 January 2009

Today we started a new chapter on bacteria and viruses. I included an assignment we will be starting Thursday in the download section to the right in case anyone wants to get a jump start on it. It should be fun.