24 Feb. Science 7 Preparing for next focused field study–what are the possibilities?

Short periods today: Pd 5 12:35 – 1:15 Pd 6 1:20 – 2:00 Pd 8 2:55 – 3:35

Make a plan for what and how you are going to show your work during the upcoming parent conference. Work you are proud of, examples of real learning, things that have stimulated your thinking, challenges–concepts, science practices/skills, work habits, focus, perseverance, what you want to work on to meet/overcome challenges, your thoughts on being ready for 8th grade science, your longer-term educational ambitions.

If you have any really nice pictures or drawings that you have taken or made this year in science, share them, and let’s get them nicely printed and mounted. Perhaps we can have a showing.

Review blogpost from previous class–begin considering what aspect of nature in the school yard you would like to examine more deeply through firsthand observation.


Examples of 7th graders involved in field study (some years ago! but recognizable 7th graders).

Some context: 1993_12_SAS News Flash_Woodlands – A Creative Approach to Integrated Studies , sas arch. forest , and links below:

Finish watch and taking notes as homework. This is an exceptional picture of how all life is interconnected. Think of the interlinked cycles of grow, development, and reproduction. Think of the excerpt from Darwin’s Origin of Species we read at the beginning of the semester. Think of what a similar documentary about any of the Indian Ficus species would be like.

The Queen of Trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy86ak2fQJM

Posted in Science 7 | Leave a comment

24 Feb. Science 8 Photosynthesis continued

Short periods today: pd 3 10:30-11:05 pd 4 11:10-11:50

Make a plan for what and how you are going to show your work during the upcoming parent conference. Work you are proud of, examples of real learning, things that have stimulated your thinking, challenges–concepts, science practices/skills, work habits, focus, perseverance, what you want to work on to meet/overcome challenges, your thoughts on being ready for high school science, your longer-term educational ambitions.

If you have any really nice pictures or drawings that you have taken or made this year in science, share them, and let’s get them nicely printed and mounted. Perhaps we can have a showing.

Review the up-coming summative assessment, complete activities and tasks in class and/or as homework:

Photosynthesis argument and evidence

  • Display and use the basic simplified claim showing the role of water and carbon dioxide and the production of glucose, oxygen, and new water in photosynthetic organisms.
  • Include information about the site of photosynthesis in photosynthetic organisms.
  • Link firsthand (our activities and experiences) and secondhand (historical experiments and evidence)
  • Include visual representation of claims of photosynthesis (captioned/labeled)
  • Discuss that the simplified claim does not reveal the complex series of reactionsesi involved in photosynthesis. While all the details of these cycles of reactions need not be shown, better projects will mention some of the historical experiments and evidence that have led to understanding of the cycles.
  • Each claim linked with firsthand or documented evidence
  • Must address claims of energy input and output
  • Must address claims of flow of matter
  • Written section explaining how PS Standards from 3 strands are met
  • SEP
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • CCC
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change
  • DCI
  • M and E in organisms and ecosystems
  • Earth Systems


  • Illustration(s) (not poster size)
  • Poster
  • Slide show
  • sketches and photos / models / something original (you can justify the originality)
  • other—with approval


  • visual (original) representation of claim (accurate–well-done)
  • 3 first hand pieces of evidence–clearly and correctly linked
  • 3 historical pieces of evidence–clearly and correctly linked
  • not all supporting the same part of the claim
  • missing evidence is indicated (what else is needed to establish the claim)
  • discussion of how the claim is simplified
  • due­­­­______

*Begin organizing your information and plan for the photosynthesis summative.


*Compare chromatographs from yesterday. Line up all the spinach and all the beet leaves and record their appearance.

*Examine the aquatic plant leaves under the microscope. Look at the top and the underside and compare. Find plant cells, stomata, chloroplasts. (Aquatic = fresh water; Marine = salt water; Terrestrial = land)

*Visit partner tree–relate what you observe to photosynthesis. How could you monitor and measure various aspects of photosynthesis in your tree?

*Organize, complete digital science notebook entries.

Posted in Science 8 | Leave a comment

24 Feb. 1-8 Schedule



8:30 – 9:10
9:15 – 9:55
10:00 – 10:20
10:20 – 10:30
10:30 – 11:05
11:10 – 11:50
11:50 – 12:35
12:35 – 1:15
1:20 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:10
2:10 – 2:50
2:55 – 3:35
Posted in Science 7, Science 8, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

23 Feb. Science 8 Chromatography–extracting and separating plant pigments

Today’s activity provides an experience with a crucial technique in the understanding of photosynthesis. The technique uses the varying solubility of different molecules (the plant pigments) in a solvent. The solvent moves up a strip of paper by capillary action. See reference: < https://water.usgs.gov/edu/capillaryaction.html  >.The different molecules move at different rates. Separation is one part of discovering the reaction pathways in complex processes. How did Benson and Calvin separate the molecules involved in the numerous photosynthesis reactions? After separation, analysis is carried out to describe the properties, create models, name, and identify the products of the separation. What do you think are the techniques used for such analysis?

In science it is important always to ask–How do we know? The next task is to describe the evidence and to explain how the evidence is linked to claims. Connecting claims with evidence is what is meant by the phrase scientific argument. Your summative assessment on photosynthesis will involve organizing the evidence both from historical experiments and from your own first hand activities, experiences, and experiments and linking the evidence to the (over)simplified claim of photosynthesis. Data that have been analyzed and interpreted in light of an hypothesis, theory, claim become evidence.


Follow instructions for the extraction and separation of plant pigments through paper chromatography. See board. Listen closely to verbal instructions. Watch demonstrations of techniques. Follow all safety guidelines. Record all procedures (verbal descriptions, diagrams-sketches, photos). Record all observations.

This image provides an idea of the proper set-up:


See the image from someone’s experiment: http://socrates.acadiau.ca/COURSES/BIOL/REEKIE/1113/photo/cpaper.gif

There are a number of articles on the history of chromatography. Here is one: history chromatography

More on procedures for chromatography–also interpretation of results:



See–Why aren’t all plants black? by Physics Girl–excellent youtube science channel:

See–references from last class:


Posted in Science 8 | Leave a comment

22 February Science 7–The next step–interdependence of living things–patterns of growth, development, reproduction














This is an important blogpost–bookmark it or save it. Please browse through the following–there is extensive information–you will need to look at it again several times. Be sure to record your thoughts, ideas, questions, wonderings.

We will turn in your projects by the roster. Please be sure you have a paper copy with your name on it and a digital copy properly labeled and uploaded in your dsn. If you are not prepared to turn in your project, immediately send an email to your parents with me copied. Alert them to the fact that you have not turned in a summative assessment. Let them know how much in-class and out-of-class time you have had. If you have not finished, show Dr. F what you have done so far, ask questions you have, provide a timeline for when you will submit the project even though late, then submit the project.

Today we will take the next step in understanding the diversity of life and the interdependence and interconnections among different forms of life. The patterns of growth, development, and reproduction bind living things together. We will begin to look more deeply at examples of interdependence, relationships, and patterns of behavior through focused field study. You already have gained great knowledge of your own local environment here at school by learning about the trees on campus. These trees are landmarks to take us on the next journey.

Native Trees of Delhi https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=h8uOa0Wfq_4

This view of life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqE2cY1wNuQ&t=2s

Why is biodiversity important https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK_vRtHJZu4

The importance of biodiversity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SDMnxwhfuQ

21 Reasons Forests Are Important http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/21-reasons-why-forests-are-important

An African child was asking her/his mother, “What do ant-lions eat? How do ant-lions dig? Where do ant-lions live? How do ant-lions grow? How do ant-lions move?”, and so on. The mother was busy but was pleased. She said, “If you want to know about the ant-lion, go ask the ant-lion.”

“I have learned about watching my surroundings and how every part of the school has an ecosystem that stretches far beyond most people’s understanding.” (The most important thing I learned during the 2015-2016 school year–7th grade student.)

There are many references in this post. Please note the date and location so that you can return for information you might need.

The next project and assessment will involve a more focused field study. It will also involve the more challenging activity of animal observation. (Remember, the trees do not move from place to place!) Here is the outline of the assessment:

Science 7 Past reflections on 7th grade bird field study

Focused Field Investigation

  1. Students design and carry out a naturalistic field investigation(with a finer focus than the Biodiversity Survey), for example, “Adopt-a-tree”. Attention is directed toward a specific organism / population / interaction.
  2. Data is collected and analyzed.
  3. Analysis is made and conclusions drawn with respect to structures, behaviors, successful reproduction and / or population.
  4. Presentation of survey and analysis in a format appropriate to the study decided by individual students in consultation with teacher.
  • SEP
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
  • CC
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
  • DCI
  • Growth, development, and reproduction of Organisms
  • Natural selection and adaptations

Review pre-WOW activities from earlier this year:


Review the following links:

For your reference–an example of a structure related to the function of eating. This structure could be considered an adaptation of a species for a certain way of life. A big question in the study of life is how to explain the origin and diversity of adaptations like beak size, shape, function.








See this links on bird study from earlier 7th grade investigations:

Info on campus birds from past investigations

Here is an example of a scientific paper about birds. This one looks at interactions between two species of crow in India. We have seen both species at school. Notice the different sections of the report.  Interspecific Behavioral Studies of House Crows (Corvus splendens protegatus) and Jungle Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus) on Mutual Foraging Sites


Campus pigeons:

Examples of field study questions:

  • How many kinds of bird can be seen during surveys (times, dates) on the AES campus?
  • How many specimens of certain species of bird can be seen/counted during censuses carried out on the AES campus ( times, dates)?
  • How many active nests can be found? What species? What behavior can be observed?
  • Develop a list of behaviors (ethogram) observed in a species (bird, for example). Develop a time budget based on the list of behaviors.
  • Focus on particular behaviors, courtship and mating, for example?
  • How many kinds of spider can be found during (times, dates)? How many of each kind? Where?
  • What patterns of behavior can be observed with spiders? What kinds of prey can be observed?
  • How many kinds of ant can be found during (times, dates)? How many of each kind? Where?
  • What is the location of ant nests by species?
  • How many kinds of butterfly? Abundance? Distribution? Feeding pattern? Caterpillars? Pupae?
  • What are the flight patterns of a certain species of bird (take off, landing, flying)?
  • For two closely related species observed on campus, what are the similarities and differences in their ways of life?
  • What is the repertoire of vocalizations of certain species?
  • In observing a section of the schoolyard with flowering plants, what animal visitors come to the flowers? What are the times, sequences, patterns of action associated with the visitors?
  • What is the pattern of visits by animals to specific species? How does the number of visits of potential pollination compare with visits that involve nectar robbery?
  • How many different kinds of bird can be seen on the AES campus during specified times / dates?
  • What is the most abundant bird seen on the campus? Where is it seen? When is it seen? What activities are observed? What is a reasonable estimate for the population that actually lives on campus / visits the campus?
  • How many kinds of call can be discerned for the Indian house crow? for the common myna? How can the calls be described? notated (like music)?
  • How many different behaviors can be described for the blue rock pigeon? (Develop an ethogram for the blue rock pigeon–construct a time budget to accompany an ethogram) (An ethogram is a complete catalog of an animal’s patterns of behavior. Enough detail is provided so that another observer can readily pick them out. Ideally:
    • There is no attempt to explain cause of the behavior in the ethogram.
    • The name given to the pattern should be selected to be
    descriptive and not to infer function. <http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/kprestwi/behavior/e&be_notes/E&BE_ethograms.pdf>)
  • How many active nests can be found on the AES campus? Where are they? What species are nesting? What are the patterns of behavior associated with nesting?
  • How does the blue rock pigeon (or any other easily observed species) take off, fly from place to place, land?
  • What are the flight patterns of the black kite? See: A Study of Bird Flight by E.H. Hankin. Hankin was an English scientist working in India. He observed evidence of bacteriophage activity before bacteriophages were discovered. He did some pioneering studies of bird flight. One of the species he observed was the black kite. The paper below has some observations, including various sketches, of the black kite (pariah kite; cheel in Hindi). It was published in 1911. <https://ia600401.us.archive.org/19/items/AStudyOfBirdFlight/StudyofBirdFlight.pdf>
  • What are the patterns of preening (including the time budget) for preening in the blue rock pigeon (or any species)?
  • What postures does a blue rock pigeon (or other species) display while perched?
  • What interactions occur between members of the same species?Animals outside the class of birds
  • How many different kinds of spider can be found in the middle school rocks?
  • What behaviors can be observed in the Northern palm squirrel <http://eol.org/pages/313086/names/common_names>?
Posted in Science 7 | Leave a comment

21 Feb. Science 8 Photosynthesis continued–focus on chlorophyll and other pigments; plant transfer and human impact on the earth

For today:

Take notes in Digital Science Notebook.

Complete #1 below individually. Then discuss in your table group. Share ideas with entire class.

Individually examine the links from #2 through #9. Write down any questions you have. Revisit your answers to #1. Discuss questions and ideas as whole group.

Next class will involve carrying out the extraction of plant pigments and the separation by chromatography.

  1. Prior knowledge assessment prompt:  http://rfrazier.msblogs.aes.ac.in/files/2016/01/chlorophyllprompt.pdf
  2. Examine the pages on the following website about Pigments, Plants, Chlorophyll http://www.webexhibits.org/causesofcolor/7H.html
  3. Examine the pages on the following website. See how three images are given for each pigment: 1) Picture of plant part, 2) graph of absorption spectrum of light, 3) diagram of pigment molecule. Why do you think these 3 images are presented?http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/leaves/pigmen
  4. Examine the following short video on photosynthesis–what is the role of chlorophyll? What questions do you have? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tbOBhbOZU
  5. Next class we will carry out chromatography on extracts of pigments from plants. See this video in preparation. Be sure to write down your questions.
  6. Basics of Chromatography https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnbXQTTHGs4
  7. A review of the simplified claim of photosynthesis: http://photosynthesiseducation.com/
  8. See this very cool animation/model of the chlorophyll molecule: http://www.biotopics.co.uk/jsmol/chlorophyll.html
  9. An animation of chromatography: http://www.austincc.edu/biocr/1406/laba/chromatography/

For the second half of the class, play the video linked below. Take notes. Record questions. The theme is how the invasion of Europeans into the Americas precipitated a series of changes with global impact. This is one thread that leads us toward the culminating topic of the semester–Human Impact on the Earth.

America before Columbus (see this documentary about the Columbian Exchange; Columbus’ landing in the New World was a distinct historical event that initiated a cascade of effects on the earth’s environment)

Consider the cases of changes in the environment due to humans and the transfer of plants and animals from one part of the world to another.

Posted in Science 8 | Leave a comment

16 Feb. Science 8 The big picture? More microscopic examination of plant structures. Evidential support for the claims of photosynthesis.

Please read the following. What examples can you think of? What questions do you have?

The topic of “earth cycles/earth systems” is about the flow of matter and energy on the earth. This means how does matter move throughout earth systems. Because of the established idea that atoms do not themselves change, only combinations change, we imagine that an atom could be followed as it moves through earth systems. Energy does change forms (though the overall amount in a closed system does not change). We can conceivably also follow the various transformations of energy through earth systems. Basic questions in sciences about earth systems (like ecology) include:

  • What and where does the matter or energy come from?
  • Where does it go?
  • What happens along the way?

On lined paper with your name and period, address the questions below. Be sure to take a picture to include in today’s entry for your digital science notebook.

  1. Why do you think we would look at the microscopic parts of plants in a unit on earth cycles / earth systems? Give a complete and thoughtful answer. Use examples.
  2. Discuss the simplified claim of photosynthesis. What does the claim suggest? What evidence can you cite to support various parts of the claim? Be specific. Spell out your reasoning. (This will help you develop your up-coming summative assessment.)
  3. Why do we say the basic claim of photosynthesis (that is often presented to beginning students) is simplified? Do you think it is over-simplified? Provide examples of some of the complexity in photosynthesis.
  4. What is your response to the “dilemma of detail” when trying to learn a new set of ideas in science? Provide examples from your own experience. (Dilemma of detail–too much detail makes my eyes glaze over; too little makes me think I understand but I haven’t really understood OR too little makes the whole thing seem too vague, but when I am given the detail to clarify, I get confused–what can I do?)
  5. What is your understanding of food as building material? Give examples. Relate your explanation to the atomic theory of matter we discussed first semester.
  6. What is your understanding of food as fuel? Give examples. Relate your explanation to the (very brief) discussion we had about energy and physical work earlier second semester.
  7. Why do you think we took a couple of days to demonstrate some of the behaviors of light? What do you think light has to do with earth cycles/earth systems?
  8. Respond to this passage from “The Oxygen Cycle” by Preston Cloud and Aharon Gibor in the Sci. Am book The Biosphere (1970)“What we want to stress is the indivisibility and complexity of the environment. For example, the earth’s atmosphere is so thoroughly mixed and so rapidly recycled through the biosphere that the next breath you inhale will contain atoms exhaled by Jesus at Gethsemane and by Adolf Hitler at Munich. It will also contain atoms of radioactive strontium 90 and iodine 130 from atomic explosions and gases from the chimneys and exhaust pipes of the world. Present environmental problems stand as grim monument to the cumulatively adverse effects of actions that in themselves were reasonable enough but were taken without sufficient thought to their consequences. If we want to ensure that the biosphere continues to exist over the long term and to have an oxygen cycle, each new action must be matched with an effort to foresee its consequences throughout the ecosystem and to determine how they can be managed favorably or avoided. Understanding also is needed, and we are woefully short on that commodity. This means that we must continue to probe all aspects of the indivisible global ecosystem and its past, present and potential interactions. That is called basic research, and basic research at this critical point in history is gravely endangered by the new crosscurrents of anti-intellectualism.”

You may spend the remainder of class examining plant parts under the microscope. Be sure to label, describe, draw, photograph each specimen. You sample must be extremely thin to use the compound microscope. Please be neat. Do not damage the microscopes.


Posted in Science 8 | Leave a comment

15 February Science 7 Biodiversity of Tree-Summative Assessment

You may begin assessment today. It is an individual assessment so you do not need to work with other students. Avoid distracting or disturbing others. Separate if you cannot avoid spending your class time visiting.

Follow the guidelines carefully. Express your ideas completely and thoroughly. Do not settle for superficial answers. Elaborate.  If you have questions, send me an email.

If your optional question involves going outside, ask the sub politely and let her know your plan. If you need a laptop, ask if you can get one.

I will check your work on Friday. I hope you make excellent progress today.

Treat your sub with respect.

Here is the link to the assessment description:


You may work on your independent project only if you have been approved. Any procedure must be safe. Please inform the sub of your plans in detail. She will grant approval to carry on.

Posted in Science 7 | Leave a comment

14 Feb. Plants and cells, leaf stomata







Posted in Science 8 | Leave a comment

13 Feb. Science 7 Proofing database, summative project (due22 Feb)

Today–proof databases. Double check tree counts. Check identifications. Make sure no species or individuals are left out.

Begin summative projects. Be sure to ask questions if you do not understand.

Please fill in this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/a/aes.ac.in/spreadsheets/d/1aGL5WCkPNSi77WU1C9hOAD–Hp1GGrq62XR36h7l9OM/edit?usp=sharing

Pd8: https://docs.google.com/a/aes.ac.in/spreadsheets/d/10Cn1AfKkJyn9sw6CqiqEKldKlSElFLnGuILofRyMm-s/edit?usp=sharing

Pd6: https://docs.google.com/a/aes.ac.in/spreadsheets/d/110bXByMlkl6xHnX2nOhG8T1SJKmix273nlffkzCVfNk/edit?usp=sharing

Pd5: https://docs.google.com/a/aes.ac.in/spreadsheets/d/10RdXmdn9v1838NjucBgUKcAR1SCu8o4YSyjeEUhIPRg/edit?usp=sharing


Summative biodiversity survey 1617 Summative-biodiversity-survey-1617withduedate

Posted in Science 7 | Leave a comment