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"Meet and Teach" with these Fabulous Teacher/Authors!

What is the "Meet and Teach" eBook?

This is one eBook you are not going to want to miss! Recently, Brain Waves Instruction, Literary Sherri, and Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy combined forces to compile three separate eBooks that are packed full of "ready to teach" lessons and pages.

Specifically, there are three different eBooks:  One for Science and Math, one for ELA, and one for Humanities.  Each eBook has contributions from 25 teacher/authors.  Each author was asked to submit two pages to the eBook. The first page is the "Meet" page.  You will find fun information about each teacher, such as their favorite things and why they love teaching their subject. The second page is the "Teach" page.  This page is a ready-to-print and ready-to-teach free item.  It has everything you need!  Simply print the page and start teaching.

Here is a sneak preview of the two pages I submitted to the eBook;

As you can see, the "teach" page above is ready to be printed and passed out to your students.  The pages are sample pages from my biology interactive and warm up notebooks.

There are some really fabulous ideas and free resources included in all three eBooks.  You will not be disappointed in this free download!

Ready to download your free eBooks?  Click on the images below to download the book of your choice, or all of them!

Preparation of Chromosome Squashes

Chromosome Squashes:  
How Students Can Prepare Their Own Slides Showing the Phases of Mitosis

When you can smell the onions on my end of the hall, you know it is time for studying cell division and making slides called chromosome squashes! This remains, after 3o years of teaching, one of my favorite labs.  I think that the reason this never gets old for me, is that my students always thoroughly enjoy this lab.  They experience a range of emotions, from utter disappointment at being a slide-making failure, to giddy with delight when they peer into the microscope and realize they made "a good one."

What exactly is a chromosome squash?  A chromosome squash is the procedure of using cells from an onion root tip to show the different phases of mitosis.

How long is this lab?  This lab does take some time.  It takes a short amount of class time to start the roots growing.  After about 5 days, you will spend part of a class period cutting the roots.  And you should probably allow at least 2 days for slide making.

Are there safety precautions that should be followed?  YES!!  The lab does require the use of concentrated hydrochloric acid.  You will need a lab that is well ventilated and has a fume hood and eye wash fountain.  Students MUST wear their safety goggles and lab aprons.

Tell me how to get started!  You will need to purchase onion sets from a local feed and seed store or from a biological supply company.  Just for the sake of entertainment, I buy all three colors:  red, yellow and white.  The color of the onion does not really have any affect on the lab.  But the kids love to grow them, and they look pretty when my lab tables are full of growing onions!

The next step is to "plant" the onions.  As you can see in the photo, you will need small plastic cups and toothpicks.  A 50-mL beaker works well, also.  The student will stick three toothpicks in each onion to form a sort of tripod.  The onion is then suspended over the cup, which has been filled with water.  All of this takes about 20 minutes of one class period.  It will take around 5 days before the root tips are long enough to use.

The root tip is an area of rapid cell division.  The root grows because the cells of the root are dividing to produce more and more cells.  Once the root tips have reached a length of one inch, take a razor blade and cut the roots away from the bulb.  The roots are placed in 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.     The cells are killed and preserved by the alcohol, and since the cells are dividing, many of them will be "stopped" in one of the phases of mitosis.  Before a slide can be made, the roots must soak in the alcohol for at least 24 hours.

Day 5:  Roots are long enough to be cut.

Ready to make the slide?  You need to be forewarned that this procedure is not perfect.  Students may have to try several times before they get a slide that is decent enough to see cells clearly in the phases of mitosis.  A root tip is removed from the isopropyl alcohol and placed in a solution of hydrochloric acid and ethyl alcohol.  After a given amount of time, the root is transferred to Carnoy's solution.  Finally the slide is placed on a microscope slide and covered with aceto-orcein stain.  While in the stain, the student will chop the root tip with a razor blade.  For best results, the more chopping the better!

The last step is the "squash" part.  A cover slip is placed over the chopped onion.  Place your thumb on top of the cover slip and apply gentle pressure. This spreads the cells out over the area of the slide.

Place the slide under the microscope, and keep your fingers crossed that you got lucky.  As stated above, it is not a perfect procedure, and several attempts may have to be made in order to get a decent slide.

But....when the students peer into the microscope and realize they have a good slide, the excitement in the lab grows and is contagious.  I have my students take pictures with their cell phones.  I have never mastered the trick, but the kids are really good at it!

Have fun teaching!

Link to my Chromosome Squash Lab.

Genetics Problems and Activities for Biology Interactive Notebooks, Warm Ups, and Bell Ringers

Genetics is the name, and warm ups, bell ringers and interactive notebook pages is the game.  

This idea is on fire in my standard biology classes!  I admit that my students were dubious (at best) at first, but now all are on board, and I am loving the daily routine.  I would call what I am doing a "warm up notebook."  The short review that each page provides for my students each day is proving to be invaluable.  But there are so many other uses for these activity pages.  They make fantastic homework assignments or short daily quizzes.  They are perfect for your science interactive notebooks.  And my students are starting to realize that their notebook is going to be awesome in December when it is time to study for my semester exam.

In earlier blog posts, I wrote about how to set up the notebooks, and pretty much exhausted the topic of the merits of these warm up /bell ringer activities.  You can check out the earlier blog posts by clicking these links:

The latest topic to be added to my bell ringer arsenal is Genetics.   Here's a preview of what is included:

I have divided the pages into three different categories:

There are 34 pages for the student.  Each printed page has two identical warm ups.  The only thing you have to do is print the pages and cut them in half.  Complete answer keys are also included.

A couple of examples of student work....

I hope that I have given you some new ideas for your classroom, and I hope you are having a wonderful school year.  Here are the links to the warm ups I have posted to date: