This week was a mashup of material from Domains 5, 6, and 7, because we finished up all of our AP Bio learning for the test (the learning never really stops!). We covered neurons very basically, took an introductory look at communities and ecosystems, and did a lab on transpiration.
Monday we looked over the transpiration lab, answering basic questions about our thoughts on how the number of stomata and the environment of a plant affect the plant’s rate of transpiration. We also looked at the stomata on leaves by using nail polish to obtain an imprint of sorts of the leaf's surface. For homework, we completed a POGIL on neuron structure (Domain 6, specifically 6.6 mostly), which was a bit difficult in places, because I think it is designed as more of a review tool and assumes you know certain things, like the parts of a neuron. With a little help from the internet, however, I feel good about the material.
Tuesday was lab day #1. We set up our lab with our chosen variable (plant type for my group) and made initial observations of the amount of water in the tube. We came in throughout the day for the next 48 or so hours to check our water levels in order to track each plant’s rate of transpiration. Homework for Tuesday night was a Mr. Anderson vodcast BBECPO, or the organization of life. This one was on communities (Domain 7) which wasn’t too difficult to understand, although I felt a little confused on the difference between species composition and species diversity at first.
Wednesday was lab day #2. We completed observations and then discussed both the neuron packet and the communities packet. The homework was another Mr. Anderson BBECPO vodcast, this time on ecosystems. This one talked about how different populations interact in food chains and how this determines the carrying capacity of each population, as well as how to measure life in a place using primary productivity (Domain 7). I feel like I understand this well, but perhaps am missing the purpose of primary productivity and why it exists. I will, of course, ask Mrs. Cole.
Friday was a wrap up day, with work on the lab and ecosystems occurring. This mishmash of stuff all relates well to the big picture of biology and our course this year, with it being like looking at the forest rather than the trees (well, neurons were more like the trees, but the Domain 7 stuff is more like the forest). Neurons allow us to interact with and be aware of our world and our body, which is comprised of all of the molecules we learned about in unit 2, and which is controlled by DNA as learned in Unit 4, and which runs using the energy processes we learned about in Unit 3. An organism's ability to interact with its environment is what determines its success, as we learned in Unit 1. The study of BBECPO is how all of this comes together and is organized, and so is a perfect ending for our exam portion of the course.