Science and Innovation Fair at the Berkshire Museum

scifair 3February 11th, 8 of our top biology students participated in the Fourth Annual Science and Innovation Fair, held at the Berkshire Museum in collaboration with SABIC. Over 100 students from Pittsfield High School and Taconic High school presented their scientific research or engineering projects.

Sam moldGreg Renfrew won first place with his project “Increasing the Efficiency of Photovoltaic Output Through the Addition of a Thermoelectric Generator” and Samatha Reu with her project, “Matter over Mind, Slime Mold”, won third place. Both will be moving on to the Region I Science and Engineering Fair to be held at MCLA on March 7, 2014.

Good work!

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Blood Typing Forensic Lab–Who done it?

blood testing lab 1A crime has happened and One-Eyed Earl was found murdered in a trash can with a wound on his chest. Next to the trash can was found a small pool of blood and the weapon. There are 3 suspects  for the murder but the CSI has to find out the blood type of the puddle in order to determine the killer. After a scenarios of tests we were able to determine the killer of One-Eyed Earl. In order to figure out who the killer was the CSI had to test the blood with Anti A Anti B and Anti Rh to determine the blood type of the puddle to see who’s blood matches up with the blood found at the sense of the crime.

Written and photographed by Willie & Kyle

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Plague INC. review

plague incAbout this game:

This highly addictive game was created for touchscreen by developer Ndemic Creations. The strategy is You vs. the world, can you use what you learned from biology class to survive?

In this game you unlock and upgrade diseases to wipe out the world. When you start a game you click on one country to infect. There are 2 ways of spreading the diseases. One, by air, so using airplanes. Two, by water, so by boat. The infection can also spread through the countries. While you are infecting the world, countries start on a cure. You have to wipe out the earth before the cure for your infection is found.

Description by written by Brandon

Horace

spinning turtleHorce thinks he is Gamera*!

*Gamera (ガメラ?) is a Kaiju (Japanese giant monster) created by the Daiei Motion Picture Company in the 1960s.

This tremendously large turtle like creature that is capable of walking on two legs and flying although he has been known to walk like a normal quadruped, like Horace.

GameraHe has the ability to manipulate objects with his forefeet, just like Horace and his mouth is filled with teeth, unlike Horace, but much like the prehistoric turtles Odontochelys prehistoric turtle2

– plus he has a pair of large tusks protruding upward from the lower jaws. Horace has to make do with those ginormous front claws. They are great for ripping apart one of his favorite prey: grapes.

Thanks to Jenny for the photograph.

Nervous System

At this point in the school year we are studying the Nervous System. Its pretty interesting and the students are having fun with it. Hurray.

neuronThe students drew pictures of neurons, memorized the lobes of the brain and learned what they are for, pretty much everything we think, say, do. They learned about the brain stem and the cerebellum, the little brain.

What they liked most was learning about the eye and how it works. Its pretty amazing. The week before the holiday break they did a lab on special senses. This was their favorite lab because they got to eat. They did taste tests, smell tests, taste minus smell tests. They learned how the ear has three parts, outer, middle and inner. And that the eyes and ears work together to help us balance.

eye test

Giant biting mealworm larva

bio christmas 048Someone gave our class some giant mealworm larva Zophobas atratus. They were given to us because they were kind of scary. Scary? Grubs? We had twelve in the container and moved them over to a jar with bark chips. To do this we dumped them on a sheet of newspaper and picked them up one by one. Not an easy task. For one thing they move really fast, the second reason is they whip their heads around and bite. Yes, bite! Yow.

bio christmas 044That was in October. There are now nine larva left. This week while we were cleaning the jar and giving them fresh bark, we found a pupa. Cool. It was scary too. It wiggled around violently. We know these insects are cannibals so the pupa, that are in a vulnerable stage of their life cycle, have to have some form a defense. Next up photos of the adults. We hope.
Thanks to Maria for taking the photos.