Friday, May 26, 2017

Genius Hour Week 3

This week marked the beginning of data collection. After solidifying a plan I started the week by gathering materials. India just happened to have the right material to act as a color filter over the light bulbs, thin plastic folder dividers in green, blue, and orange. I decided where to put the lamps in the room so the lights of one would not interfere with the results of the other plants. I then replaced all the heat lamp bulbs with regular bulbs and tested each one to make sure they functioned. After that I stopped by Paris Farmers Union after school and purchased the subject plants (which turned out to be young onions and not chives). I taped up the plastic dividers so they dangled about an inch from the lamp and placed each pair of onion plants approximately 9 inches from the lamp. I took pictures from side angles and a birds eye view of the positioning of each plant before turning on the lamps. On Friday morning they had been running for 24 hours and I took pictures again to document progress. Now they will be left until school on Tuesday.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Genius Hour Week 2

This week on Genius hour, Gridley heads back to the drawing board. After some deliberation, I realized there was a very real possibility that the different variables I would be testing to observe physical changes in the Tobacco plants, would simply result in killing them or have no measurable response. Rather than risk explaining a lot of inconclusive data, another idea for a project struck me. Knowing that plants are phototropic and will track movement of light, I want to find out if plants will track different wavelengths to varying degrees. I plan to use chives as my experimental plant as they will be very distinct pointers and will be easy to collect observable data from. I know from class that green is the least useful part of the light spectrum and that plants instead prefer to absorb blues or reds. so I expect that the chives exposed to green light will display the least amount of bending towards the light, in comparison to the other wavelengths. Even if there is no measurable difference between the severity in the chive's tracking of the separate lights, that alone would tell me that plants still track all colors equally when it is the only light source available. Hence no matter the outcome, a solid conclusion can be drawn.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekly Bio Blog (Heart Week)

This week was all about heats, however it was shortened for me because I left Thursday for my class trip to France. We started the week off by watching an episode of documentary series called Blood and Guts, on the history of open heart surgery. The show made me realize how recently open heart surgery emerged in history, and that until WWII it had never been accomplished in the field. Even when surgeons felt comfortable that open heart surgery wasn't a taboo crap shoot anymore, doctors still had to be limited to 4 minutes of operation time before the patient died from oxygen deprivation, a side affect of being put under. And only decades ago they realized that they could extend the time by exposing their patients to cold temperatures thereby lowering the rate of oxygen consumption by the brain.
That night we over viewed a short packet detailing the anatomy and functions of the heart in preparation for Tuesday. Mrs. Cole's husband supplied the classroom with enough deer hearts from his hunting excursions that every pair had their own heart. Tuesday was only an exploratory day and no incisions were made. Instead we just got familiar with the external. Wednesday we began actually dissecting the heart and explored the Atriums, Ventricles, Aorta, and Vena Cava. Deer hearts are relatively close in size and structure to human hearts making it a very good experience in understanding the physiology of our own hearts beating in our chests.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Genius Hour Week 1

This week in Genius hour was all about brainstorming. I struggled to come up with an idea all the way until Friday. Given complete free range and no restrictions is always tricky for me because I never know where to start. There were plenty of topics that would interest me to research but the tricky part was choosing something that given the confines of budget and access, would be able to show case through a tangible experiment. This year I've been intrigued by what can be inherited and passed down that aren't clearly labeled in DNA such as instinctual behaviors and the like. A snake at birth simply "knows" how to strike and coil and a caterpillar just knows how to craft a chrysalis without ever being taught. I will be growing tobacco plants in separate environments to show that organisms with the same basic DNA can have their physical attributes altered by external forces, possibly suggesting that DNA isn't the end all be all.