Recently in Advanced Biology 9, the 3rd period class performed a PCR Lab. PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, a process where DNA is rapidly and artificially replicated. In the first image, one side of a DNA molecule is built with the nucleotides adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine, respectively. This represents the step of PCR in which DNA is split. Next, in the second picture, a certain heat-resistant type of DNA polymerase, called Taq polymerase, adds the complementary nucleotides to the already existing side of DNA. This forms a complete DNA molecule. Then, through the use of a thermal cycler, which aids in the temperature changes that occur in PCR, the DNA is heated to the point that the hydrogen bonds that hold the two sides together break. The breakage of the hydrogen bonds is shown in the third photo. Lastly, in photo four, Taq polymerase once again adds the necessary complementary nucleotides to each strand of DNA. Photo four shows the two completed and identical DNA molecules. The process of PCR can occur numerous times a day, making hundreds of millions of identical DNA molecules from one DNA molecule in 24 hours.
In this project, Fact or Fiction: A Textual Analysis Project, the Advanced English 9 classes have researched and formed opinions on the importance of fiction and nonfiction to our education, and whether one should be presented more than the other. The work I am most proud of was the letter to the educator, in which we were assigned to present our opinions to someone who could potentially impact the material. My letter can be viewed using the link below.
Alongside the Letter to the Educator as a final product were the Structured Academic Controversy and the Analytical Portfolio. I am proud of all three of my final products, but the one I am most proud of is the Letter to the Educator. I believe I presented my claims and subclaims well as addressing a counterclaim, which is a new technique to me. It was, in my opinion, my best work from the project. However, I also feel as if I did well on my SAC (Structured Academic Controversy) and Analytical Portfolio. Though I am proud of all three products, I think that the Analytical Portfolio could have used some adjustments to make it more understandable or to get my point across in a better way. Accounting for all my final products in this project, I believe I completed them well.
There were many checkpoints to complete throughout this project. A decent portion was in preparation to complete the Analytical Portfolio final product, such as the Fiction and Non-Fiction Outlines, the Lit Circle, etc. I am grateful that there was at least one checkpoint that prepared us for each final product. I feel as if all checkpoints were very useful in this project, but the most useful were the Letter Outline, Draft of Analytical Portfolio, and SAC Prep, as each directly related to each of the final products. Though the outlines can feel tedious at times, I realize while reflecting how guiding and useful they are in order to complete the final products successfully. For these reasons, I believe there was an ideal amount of checkpoints provided to complete the project well.
Many skills were used to complete this project. The most prominent for my experience was Solving Problems. Especially with editing my outlines and research, I needed to find ways to reword things to either make more sense or to get my point or argument across more clearly. Solve Problems was the skilled I used most in the whole project, but primarily in the Letter Outline, as I struggled to find ways to be formal while arguing my point respectfully. Also in the Letter to the Educator, I was required to innovate and project my own opinion on the literary material that students should be given to read. As I have previously stated, I am proud of the piece in regards to my argument and its use of subclaims and counterclaims. I also collaborated with multiple peers in my class, throughout multiple editing processes. I fully enjoyed the extent of this project and enjoyed the novel To Kill A Mockingbird to discover more about fiction literature.
My lab group, consisting of Alia El-Kulak, Doha Ali, Alex Barnhart, and myself, created a stop-motion video of the process of mitosis, where nuclear replication occurs. We began by rolling our Play-Doh (the material used) to different parts of the cell that are depicted in mitosis. The brown is the cell membrane, the green the nuclear membrane, the yellow the spindle fibers (lengthier) and centrosomes (round), and lastly the pink chromosomes. After DNA is copied during interphase, the cell goes through the process called mitosis, beginning with the prophase. In this phase, the nuclear envelope breaks apart and the chromatin (thread-like material in nucleus) compacts itself in chromatids. These chromatids join with one another through bonding with a centromere, and the chromatids, once bonded, are called sister chromatids. The centrosomes in the cell begin moving toward opposite poles of the cell. The next phase is metaphase. Chromosomes align in the middle of the cell, called the equator or metaphase plate. They move through the spindle fibers from centrosomes attaching to the centromeres that sister chromatids are joined by. After metaphase is anaphase, the separation of sister chromatids. Spindle fibers (attached to centromeres) pull sister chromatids apart. Once separated, they are chromosomes. The final phase of mitosis is telophase, in which two nuclear membranes form and spindle fibers break down. The chromosomes and centrosomes, at this point, are at opposite ends of the cell and are pulling away from one another. In animal cells, a cleavage furrow forms as the cell begins to divide. In plant cells, the membrane can’t be pinched off to separate, so vesicles form a cell wall that splits the cell in two. The process by which the cells split from one another is called cytokinesis. To recreate this process, we assigned a color to each part of the cell we needed to represent. After that, we created the necessary pieces for the cell and began recording the process in order (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase). I enjoyed creating this project and I am glad I had a great group to work with.
Through the first quarter, the English classes have worked on dissecting and analyzing literature and have focused on determining the themes of stories. After this, we were assigned to write about a time in our lives that changed us as a person using various writing techniques. My final product can be viewed here.
I believe that the product that I’ve produced is satisfactory. I attempted to incorporate as many writing techniques that we learned into my piece, and I think I did a decent job at using them. I’m proud of the work I’ve completed, though there are a few things I wish I would’ve edited or changed to make more sense or sound better. Throughout my story, my use of repeated time jumps I find can often be hard to follow, and an improvement in transitions would help to bridge these paragraphs together. In addition, I could’ve gone through my writing and reworded or rearranged multiple sentences to build the paragraph better. One writing element I could improve on is dialogue. I always struggle finding places where dialogue could fit rather than a sensory description, but I also feel that the writing stations beforehand helped me improve me writing greatly.
There were many steps throughout this writing process. The checkpoint I found most useful was the Brainstorm Narrative. It allowed me to recall any changing moments in my life. What amuses me is that I missed a big time of my life, which I ended up writing about. I didn’t think of said moment until I started my first draft, and I surprised myself by how long it took me to think of it. Of the checkpoints, I personally enjoyed the drafts, as I got to be as creative as I wanted and incorporate numerous writing techniques. My favorite is imagery/sensory language because using an extensive vocabulary to describe a setting is simply enjoyable to me. The least helpful checkpoint was the Narrative Outline, not that it wasn’t useful, but that I hadn’t decided on something to write about, so my outline was vague. I believe all the steps in the writing process are vital, but some are more helpful than others.
The Fairview Advantage skills that I used in this project were Collaborate, Create, Investigate, and Reflect. During the writing of our first and second drafts, our class buddied up to revise, review, and edit one another’s work. By collaborating with my buddy and discussing ways to improve our writing, I used the Collaborate skill. Create was used in the creation of my final essay. I created multiple drafts in order to get to the final, as well as many steps beforehand in brainstorming and outlining. I used Investigate and Reflect mostly when I was brainstorming. I had to reflect on myself as a person to see what moments of my life really changed me, and investigate a few moments to see which one I thought was best suited for this project. Lastly, I’m reflecting on my work as I write this now. There are many other skills that went into this project, but these are the main four that I can reflect on.
Recently in our English class, we read a portion of the Diary of Anne Frank. Written in the same style as the playset from Broadway, students volunteered to read specific parts of the diary, myself being the narrator. Through this project, we were able to see actual photographs taken from those times, as well as some modern day pictures of the same places. It was interesting to look through the images, and to see how conditions really were. Here you can view the galleries of images, and here you can view my responses to four of those pictures.
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For this group project, I believe the most important piece of information to take away is the desire of the United States to expand. The country overcame any issue that they faced head-on, and used that passion to gain land all the way to the Pacific Ocean. I believe this because a large part of our American history is based off of these events that took place while achieving the Manifest Destiny. One thing I believe I did well on in this project is managing my time well. I completed all my tasks within time, and I didn’t have to rush at the last minute to complete my portion of the project. However, on thing I could’ve improved on is including more detail, and generally more information into my tasks, specifically task three. Despite that, I think I completed this project well, and I enjoyed working with my group to accomplish it.