23 December 2011

For today's service project time slot of the holiday gala, the science department hosted projects made from "trash". These included hanging planters for the hallway and bird feeders out of plastic soda bottles. Nice job everyone!

21 December 2011

This week's lab: making homemade root beer.

15 December 2011

Introducing...Senior Projects

Today I'm thrilled to announce the beginning of our work on Senior Projects. Pick a topic you are passionate about... it can stem from a problem right here at GCS or could be global in nature. It could relate to science but it doesn't have to. Use interviews, technology, fundraising, video, presentations, boycotts, campaigns, surveys, etc. to learn, educate others, and address the problem. Document your progress over the next two-three years and during your senior year, you will be given a venue to present or display your culminating project. You should also create a tab in your ePortfolio for this endeavor. Don't forget to use experts around you...GCS, SUNY Cortland, Cornell, Ithaca College, etc.

Some resources to get you started:


...and be sure to check out the girl at the bottom of this site. She sums it up nicely!

13 December 2011

Yeast fermentation lab. Which sugars do baker's yeast prefer? Under which conditions do yeasts perform best?
Another great Prezi from some members of 1st period:

06 December 2011

Collaborative Voicethread on Herbs and Spices by members of Food, Land, and You.

02 December 2011

Great Voicethread by Michaela!

01 December 2011

Now THIS is what I'm talking about!

29 November 2011

Today we began our projects on the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration and how their cycle fits into the bigger picture of our planet.  I'm really looking forward to see the end product and hopefully some groups decide to proudly display them around the school.

15 November 2011

Day 2 of the diffusion across a membrane lab. Last night, the acid in the vinegar dissolved the egg shell revealing the membrane. Today we're submerging the egg in distiller water to see what happens.

09 November 2011

Good luck on tomorrow's quiz! Be sure to utilize all of the resources we looked at and made in class!

04 November 2011

Cell Voicethreads

Here is a great start to our cell Voicethread project.

27 October 2011

Today we're testing the effects of the enzyme bromelin in Jello setting. Here, Codey, Chayden, and Brandon set up their experiment.

21 October 2011

Fwd: Insectapalooza: The good, the bad, and the bugly coming up!

Insectapalooza: The good, the bad, and the bugly coming up!

Insects – from the good to the bad to the bugly – will be on display at Cornell University during the 8th annual Insectapalooza Insect Fair on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Comstock Hall on the Cornell University campus.  The cost of entry is less than a cup of coffee: $1 per person.

Insectapalooza is an interactive, hands-on experience that features hundreds of live insects, spiders, and other fascinating arthropods.  This year there are many new exhibits and popular favorites like the live Butterfly room, Arthropod Zoo, and Pollination room.  Insectapalooza is fun and educational for children, teens, and adults of all ages.

The annual, one-day insect fair is hosted by the Department of Entomology at Cornell. "The Good, The Bad, and the Bugly" theme reflects the countless ways that insects interact with people and impact our lives — for better or for worse.

I have attached a poster for your use.  We have plenty of parking for cars and buses.

For more information see:  insectapalooza.ento.cornell.edu

We hope to see you there!

Dr. Linda S. Rayor
Department of Entomology
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

607 255-8406 (O)
607 255-9392 (L)

Filming the 2nd Monster Bug Wars Series now - google to see episodes Remember Insectapalooza on 29 October, 9 to 3pm

18 October 2011

Members of Food, Land, and You work up 2 beds for the fall garlic planting in the GCS garden. Winter is fast approaching as we say goodbye to another growing season.

05 October 2011

We're currently studying Carbohydrates in class. Here we are testing for the presence of simple sugars by introducing Benedict's Solution to 3 unknown solutions. If there is a color change, we know that a monosaccharide is present.

20 September 2011

I need to share a GREAT video lab writeup from the first major lab of the year.  Way to go Cali and Brit!

17 September 2011

This school year and next, Groton students will have to opportunity to do something truly unique.  We are building an Earthship permaculture system in Freeville!  This fall we'll be putting the finishing touches on the Earthship barn, which will be vital for livestock, storage, and rainwater collection.  The barn could not have been completed without the help of Mr. Filzen, Mr. Wiech, Mr. Giroux, Mrs. Hume, and Ms. Bassette who stopped in periodically over the summer to help out and lend equipment.  
Today we had a mini workshop to learn how to build with garbage.  Here, seniors, Alex and Quinn work on making bottle bricks for a can wall.  Bottles are cut 4" and duct taped together in various color schemes.

10th graders, Cali and Nick start work on the final wall of the Earthship barn loft.  The nails and lath strips secure the wall to the wood structure.  The barn boasts recycled plastic shingles, locally-cut hemlock boards, old reused windows, and incorporation of over 2,000 aluminum cans and discarded glass bottles.

15 September 2011

On their way to 12 pints of Salsa. No carbon was emitted in the transport of the major ingredients. Sweet!

13 September 2011

Josh and Daymin set up their initial slug experiment to test whether slugs prefer the sweet taste of melon or the neutral taste of lettuce.

12 September 2011

Sam S. takes her scientific observations pretty seriously. So how do slugs taste, Sam?

09 September 2011

We have a huge class this year but the members of Food, Land, and You all managed to fit into the GCS garden today. We harvested tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, and a ripe melon.

Slugfest '11

Xavier takes down some detailed observations of the common garden slug.  Next week we'll be designing experiments to test the food preferences of slugs.

06 September 2011

30 August 2011

Welcome to the 2011-2012 school year.  11% of the 21st century is now over.  That being said, how many of you feel you have a good grasp of 21st century skills like cloud computing, virtual collaboration, or currently maintain a website or blog other than Facebook?  Do you check Twitter feeds or read a book from a Kindle?  What was the last podcast you listened to?  Would you feel comfortable if an employer needed you to use Photoshop, Microsoft Excel or Google Docs on a regular basis?  Do you feel prepared to enter college and a workforce with other young people from Germany, Asia, and India?  How has Groton done so far preparing you for the last 89%?

Last year was the toughest year to date for me, personally and professionally.  After losing teachers like Syracuse, Giroux, Toyama, Varga, etc. - in most cases because the school and Board of Ed. cut them - I have had to reflect deeply about these losses to Groton and about this profession in general and how we need changes in US education. We need changes in public attitude towards education, changes in education law and unions, changes in school leadership and teachers, changes in school-day structure and changes to what politicians think you need to learn in school.  

Every student in Groton should have learned last year that they can no longer take education and their teachers for granted. This was my favorite picture from last year in 7th grade... students staying after school in preparation of acting at a Board of Education meeting.  It is now time to stand up and demand the changes mentioned above because NOTHING will change if you sit back and let the adults around you try to change things for you.  

This year I invite you to "go rogue" with me.  Lets change the school and world together and not worry about what others think of us along the way!

28 June 2011

Congratulations GCS class of 2011! This group was my first cohort at Groton. Here is a picture of some of them during a spring Adopt-a-Highway cleanup many years ago.  I look forward to seeing them do wonderful things in their adult lives.

18 June 2011

Friday marked the last day of the school year. I really enjoyed working with this year's 7th grade class...my last at Groton Middle School. The good news is that I will see them again in 10th grade and look forward to these students that have blossomed over the past year.

Have a good summer guys and remember to be good role models as 8th graders next year. Keep in touch!

08 June 2011

The ecology unit means spending some time in the outdoor classroom. Yesterday we read a section from the book The Last American Man and made observations along the GCS Nature Trail.

25 May 2011

Today we played "Hungry Birds" in class. Not every member of this species was equal though. Variations in beak structure gave some an advantage to illustrate the process of natural selection.

20 May 2011

Taking temperature and pH readings from various depths of Cayuga Lake.

Two great days on the Cayuga Lake floating classroom! Here, a group gets ready to collect aquatic insects in Salmon Creek.

07 May 2011

Today, some members of the middle school environmental club participated in the annual Adopt-a-highway cleanup. What great weather as well! Thank you Courtney, Austin, Luke, Sam, and Colton. You helped make Groton more beautiful.

06 May 2011

We finally got some good weather and mud-free banks on the Owasco Inlet to let our Browns go. We released them this morning in the midst of a midge hatch...nature's reassurance that our little guys will be properly fed! We're all looking forward to the upcoming Floating Classroom trip on May 19 and 20.

05 May 2011

Today in class we will be learning more about genetics and DNA.

Step 1: Open another tab in explorer. Run though this groovy animation about apples. Please pay attention and read the descriptions carefully.

Step 2: On the same tab bring up this website.

Step 3: Now, tour the six animations at the top of this page.

You're done for the day.

02 May 2011

In between rain, we've been planting trees that were donated to the school from the DEC and Baker-Miller Lumber. Here, members of 1st period plant pine trees next to the track.

29 April 2011

Science Night was, once again, a huge success. Thanks again to all of the volunteers that donated time and snacks. And of course...what awesome projects!

11 April 2011

Members of Food, Land, and You have been busy in the student garden. Today we planted 2 beds of fall-bearing raspberries. Last week we got a bed of asparagus and 3 beds of strawberries planted. The cafeteria is excited!

08 April 2011

Today, seniors DeAnna, Hayley, and Stephanie presented a class on healthy eating to the 7th graders and highlighted a cool website, www.foodfacts.com. I had DeAnna and Hayley in my class the first year I was a teacher at Groton. They did an excellent job and I wish them well next year when they enter college. This was a part of the New Visions program all three attend. Above, Star and Tristan sample Waldorf salad, humus, and pita chips that the presenters prepared for us as an example of a healthy snack.


3 tart apples - peeled, cored and chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup seedless grapes 2 stalks celery, chopped 2 green onions, chopped 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons plain yogurt 3 tablespoons apple juice 1/4 teaspoon celery seed 1 bunch watercress, trimmed and chopped 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice. Add the grapes, celery, and green onions; toss.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, apple juice and celery seeds. Spoon over the apple mixture, and toss gently.
Wash the watercress, and dry thoroughly. Arrange greens on individual salad plates. Mound the apple mixture on top, and sprinkle with the walnuts.

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 180 | Total Fat: 8.7g | Cholesterol: 4mg
Via: allrecipes.com

02 April 2011

Tompkins Youth Rally for their Future

200 local students join Youth Power Summit on April 9 in Ithaca

On Saturday April 9, up to 200 young people from across Tompkins County
and Central New York will converge in Ithaca for the “Youth Power
Summit”, scheduled for 9:30 AM to 5 PM at the Holiday Inn. The summit
will educate, energize, and empower high school and college students for
a day of strengthening movements for clean energy, local food, and
social justice in their schools and communities.

“We are excited to bring together young leaders from all backgrounds
calling for bold action to build a clean energy and local food economy
that respects all communities.” said Megan Ludgate, Dryden High School
junior and member of the summit organizing team. “April 9 is about
empowering ourselves to lead this change.”

The summit is free and open to all, and will include lunch, workshops
for youth and educators, presentations, and action planning sessions.
Key organizers include students of the Lehman Alternative Community
School, New Roots, Ithaca High School, Dryden High School, Ithaca
College and Cornell University.

“Youth in Tompkins County are coming of age amid increasing crises,”
said Jordan Stark, Lehman Alternative Community School senior and member
of the organizing team. “When we look around, we see climate change
and threats to our water from gas drilling, a lack of jobs and
opportunity, and young people struggling to find meaning in our lives.
This summit will help us come together to create a better future in our

The summit features a panel of local young elected officials, including
Ithaca City Council members Svante Myrick and Eddie Rooker, Tompkins
County Legislator Nathan Shinagawa, Caroline Town Councilmember Dominic
Frongillo, and Binghamton City Councilmember Lea Webb. The elected
leaders will discuss their experiences in office and how young people
can engage in the political process.

“We are excited to announce an all-star panel of young elected
officials,” said Ariana Shapiro, Ithaca High School senior and member of
the organizing team. “These leaders are on the front lines of change
and will help inspire other young people to get involved.”

Youth will share updates on campaigns at their school and plan for
future efforts. Workshops on local food, social justice, political
activism, hydraulic fracturing, and energy efficiency are also planned.

“This summit is about coming together to build a better future for all,”
said Dominic Frongillo, Caroline Town Councilmember and Cooperative
Extension community energy educator. “We are saying ‘Let’s create
equity in our schools. Let’s measure progress not by the number of
people in jail, but by the number of people from our community who are
hired in good jobs upgrading our homes for energy efficiency. Let’s grow
our people as well as our food.’”

The all-day summit will begin with a “Generation Waking Up Experience,”
focusing on new ways young people are joining together for positive change.

“Both locally and nationally, young people are waking up and seeing an
opportunity to build a thriving, just, and sustainable future that
includes everybody,” said Doug Indrick, senior at Ithaca College and
member of the “GenUp” facilitator team. “The message on April 9 is
youth are building power to create our future.”

The summit is the weekend before 200 students from Tompkins County will
attend Power Shift 2011, a national youth summit April 15-18 in
Washington D.C. Over 10,000 young leaders will converge for the historic
summit, which will include the nation’s largest congressional lobby day.
According to the website, the Power Shift 2011 summit aims to “reclaim
our democracy from big corporations and push our nation to move beyond
dirty energy sources that are harming the health of people and the
planet.” Information on the national conference is online at

“We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for,” said Vicky Morgan, Cornell
sophomore and member of KyotoNow! student group. “I have a sense of
urgency. We cannot wait another 5 years to address climate change and
social justice. I want us to look back and say, at this critical
moment, we rose to meet our challenges.”

** Registration for the Youth Power Summit in Ithaca is online at
http://tinyurl.com/youthpowersummit. **

For more information about the Youth Power Summit, visit Facebook

01 April 2011

Today, members of Food, Land, and You started seeds to sell at Science Night. Donations will go toward a fund for future crops and activities in the GCS student garden.

21 March 2011

I don't think I need to post anything more than this picture. I am so proud of the student body at Groton middle and high school.

16 March 2011

Bill stopped by to add to our Voicethread. Check it out and add to the project!

14 March 2011

Today we examined the contents of owl pellets. We found a good diversity of small mammals but no birds like we've seen in previous years.

12 March 2011

YOUTH POWER SUMMIT | April 9 | Ithaca NY

On April 9, over 100 students and youth across Central New York will converge in Ithaca for the largest-ever regional gathering of young people uniting together for clean energy solutions. The Youth Power Summit will empower young people from every background to join together for clean energy, local food, and social justice in our schools and communities.

• Stand together with young leaders from all backgrounds calling for bold action on clean energy, local food, and social justice
• Get inspired by youth-led efforts that are changing schools and communities across the region
• Share your story and collaborate with youth leaders, educators, and youth supporters
• Get plugged in to emerging campaigns and programs that are making an impact
• Going to Power Shift 2011? Handle logistics and connect with others headed to Washington D.C. for the national Power Shift summit April 15-18


09 March 2011

Today after school, the middle school environmental action club got a special treat. Mr. Rhoads and Andrew brought in a 12lb Northern Pike that Andrew caught ice fishing. We talked about it's habitat and role in nature and examined it's internal anatomy.

08 March 2011

After school today I was invited to go to the new Cornell Biofuels Lab with Sam Y. and Kyle W. This lab focuses on cellulosic ethanol which they derive from the cell walls of Switchgrass. This research is much more promising than ethanol derived from corn. Sam and Kyle are doing their science night project on alternative fuels.

Today we kicked off the vertebrate unit with our frog anatomy lab. Here, Chris and Cody prepare their group's frog for analysis.

01 March 2011

Today was the highlight of the invertebrate chapter - the earthworm dissection. It went well and all classes proved they can handle the additional responsibilities that go with the next dissection.

11 February 2011

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10 February 2011

Attention Females:

Dear Mr. DeVoe,

I am one of the Initial Contacts co-chair for Expanding Your Horizons, an annual conference that provides an opportunity for girls grades 7-9 and their parents to engage in educational activities and explore careers in math, science, and engineering. The conference will be held at Cornell University on Saturday, April 16, 2011. Girls will participate in three hands-on workshops, attend a key-note lecture by an outstanding female professor, and meet role models in the sciences. Registration for EYH begins February 22. For more information, please feel free to email me or to visit our website, www.ccmr.cornell.edu/eyh

We have mailed out brochures (see attached) to your school, but we are following up with other means of communication to maximize the number of girls who can take advantage of this amazing opportunity. I hope that you can help spread the word to your colleagues and encourage your students to attend!


Nancy Chen
PhD candidate
Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Cornell University
A408 Corson Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-2701
Email: nc276@cornell.edu

07 February 2011

This week we're covering the Plant Kingdom and it's amazing diversity...everything from the very simple mosses that rely on diffusion for water and must live near these water sources to the very advanced angiosperms that we're mostly familiar with. Today we dissected a lilly to see the male and female parts of a flower. The dissecting microscopes gave us a great look at the pollen-covered anthers.

Check this site for more information on flower parts.

04 February 2011

Today we wrapped up the Tetrahymena labs. Thanks you Fern for all of your help prepping the labs. Here we are testing the effects of different spices and herbs on their behavior. We found that cinnamon and poppy seed were huge repellants and they were attracted to chopped onion and garbanzo beans.

01 February 2011

Today we finished the Tetrahymena mating lab where we identified one unknown mating strain among the seven found in these protists. Here, Franky and Michael introduce the potential mates.

28 January 2011

Yesterday we did our first Tetrahymena experiment by feeding them India Ink particles to observe food vacuole formation over a period of time.  Today we analyzed the data and brainstormed other ways to test food vacuole formation.

26 January 2011

Today we were introduced to the protist Teterahymena
, which we will be working with over the next week and a half on labs developed by Cornell University. They are approximately 100 microns long. The scanning electron micrograph above shows the ciliate in pursuit of an E. coli dinner.

19 January 2011

Mid-Term Exam on FRI! Don't sweat though. Review your old notes and tests and flip through this groovy slideshow:

18 January 2011

14 January 2011

Wyatt and Tristan show off their bacteria cultures. Today's conclusion: the dirtiest places were phones, drinking fountains, and of course, Mr. DeVoe's keyboard. The cleanest: inside of the toilets!

13 January 2011

Today we took potential bacterial samples from around the class and school.  Above, the girls try to see how dirty my keyboard is!  Lets hope the results turn out OK!

Lexi finishes up her sample with some Parafilm before putting it into the incubator.