Thursday, December 6, 2012

extra credit due Friday, Dec 14

You have two opportunities for extra credit.

Create a Venn diagram comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
You can earn up to 100 points, and your grade will be based on three factors: a) neatness, b) thoroughness, and c) accuracy. You will need an excellent Venn diagram to earn the full 100 points.

Create a comic strip explaining how a virus attacks the human body and how the body responds to that attack. You can earn up to 200 points, and your grade will be based on four factors:  a) neatness, b) thoroughness, c) accuracy, and d) creativity.

These are due by Friday, Dec 14.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Extra credit & baby pictures

First, there is an extra credit opportunity for this week. Find some science related news story using a major news website and then answer the following questions about the story.
1. Who is the story mostly about?
2. What did that person do to get him or her in the news?
3. When was this done?
4. Where was this done?
5. Why is this important?
6. How did the person do whatever the person did?

The better your answers are to those questions, the more points you will earn. Each question is worth up to 15 points. Write your answers on a sheet of paper and bring the paper to class on Friday, Nov. 30.

Here are some links to website that you might use for this assignment.

Finally, since so many students have asked to see baby pictures, I'm including some info on my newborn son.

His name is Hudson Taylor Sabin. All of my kids are named after Christian missionaries, and I've written a little essay about each one's name. So, if you're interested, you can read about their names at these links:

Charlotte Moon, Mary Mitchell, and Hudson Taylor.

And here are some pictures.

This is Mary holding Hudson and Charlotte holding a small toy someone gave Hudson. You can only see part of Hudson's face, but you can see his sisters love him.

Hudson Taylor

Mary holding Hudson again.

I took this picture while I was holding Hudson.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Extra credit opportunities 2 and 3

Opportunity #2

Click this link to read "The (kids') eyes have it." Then, answer the following questions on a paper that you will bring to class on Friday, Nov 16. Questions 1-5 are worth 10 points each, and the paragraph for #6 is worth up to 50 points.
  1. What was the independent variable?
  2. What was the dependent variable?
  3. What was one controlled variable?
  4. How did scientists explain the conclusion?
  5. Why were the results were surprising to some scientists?
  6. Write a summary paragraph explaining what you learned from this news article. Be sure to include labels and underline two terms from the Word Wall.

Bring your paper to class on Friday.

Opportunity #3

Read the article "Virus Treatment Could Target Acne." Then write a one paragraph summary, of the story. Be sure to include labels and underline two terms from the Word Wall. This is worth 50 points. Write your paragraph on a paper and bring it to class this Friday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Extra Credit #1

If you choose to do this extra credit assignment, you must bring the assignment to class on Friday, Nov 16th, which is the day I return to school. This assignment is worth up to 70 points. Each correct answer earns you 10 points.

Click the link to read the article, "Risk-taking linked to Ritalin." Then, write the answers to the following questions on a paper you will bring to class on the 16th.
  1. What was the independent variable?
  2. What was the dependent variable?
  3. What was given to the control group?
  4. What was given to the experimental group?
  5. What were three controlled variables?
  6. What was the conclusion?
  7. Why is this research important?


Monday, November 5, 2012

Hudson Taylor

Why we honor the name of Hudson Taylor

In 1832, James and Amelia Taylor prayed, “Dear God, if you should give us a son, grant that he may work for you in China.” With that simple prayer, the story of Hudson Taylor began. And although his parents did not tell Hudson about that prayer until decades later, God put China into Hudson’s heart and gave Hudson the faith to believe that God answers prayer.

Hudson Taylor was raised in a Christian home, but faith was a struggle for many years. Hudson wanted to be a Christian; he tried to be a Christian. Time and again, however, he felt he failed in Christianity. He failed so much he eventually gave up, believing he was simply incapable of faith. Then, one day, Hudson found himself so bored he decided to read a gospel tract he found lying around. He knew it would contain a short story, which would help him pass the time, and he planned to ignore the spiritual aspects. But, when he read Jesus’ words, “It is finished,” said on the cross, Hudson paused and pondered. He later wrote, “Then came the thought, ‘If the whole work was finished and the whole debt paid, what is there left for me to do?’ And with this dawned the joyful conviction, as light was flashed into my soul by the Holy Spirit, that there was nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and accepting this Saviour and His salvation, to praise Him forevermore.” That day, Hudson Taylor discovered the reason he had failed so many times was because he was trying by his own effort. Hudson realized the gospel of Jesus is based on faith in Jesus’ finished work, and that realization became the foundation of Hudson’s life and ministry.

It was not long before Hudson felt God calling him to China. Knowing the difficulties he would face in missions, he determined to build his faith in God, for he knew God would be his only assurance. So, as a young medical student, he determined to live as modestly as possible and to depend on God for his daily needs. He gave away almost all his possessions, ate a diet of mostly oatmeal and rice, and rented an inexpensive room in a poor part of London. He soon found, “The less I spent on myself and the more I gave away, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.” And during this time, he determined to never ask anyone for payment or financial help, not even his own employer. Many times he found himself without money or food, often after giving away his last temporal resources. He depended on God, and in all his years, God never let him down. Hudson prayed, and it was never long before Hudson had whatever he needed.   

In 1853, Hudson left England to serve with the Chinese Evangelization Society. Within months of arriving in China, Hudson broke with missionary custom by wearing Chinese clothing. He sought to identify with the Chinese, build relationships with them, and distinguish the Christian faith from the British culture. He further divided with his fellow missionaries by his desire to go beyond the five large Treaty Ports—cities where British missionaries were legally welcome. Hudson wanted to see missionaries bring the gospel to every part of China.

Hudson’s tumultuous relationship with the Chinese Evangelization Society ended in 1857 when he discovered they were borrowing money to pay their missionaries. Hudson resigned, and although he had no source of income, he believed God would provide for him. Continuing the manner he began in England, he committed to never ask anyone for money and never give any indication of his financial need; instead, he would speak to God alone for all his needs.

Hudson Taylor served until 1861 when he became very ill and needed to return to England. He used his convalescence in England to continue a project of translating the New Testament into Chinese, and he travelled and spoke to encourage British Christians to sacrifice for the evangelization of China. He challenged British believers to consider their spiritual wealth and security in light of the hundreds of millions of Chinese people who never heard the name of Jesus. Continuing his dependence of God, he refused to allow any church he visited to collect money for his ministry. Instead, he wanted people to leave church having given nothing to missions, for if they had thrown some change into a collection plate, their consciences might be absolved from any further thoughts about China. Hudson wanted Christians to leave church having given nothing so that God could work in their hearts to do whatever he would have them do.

The time in England, pleading the case of China’s multitudes, led to the next major work in Hudson’s life. He concluded that a new missionary agency was needed for the specific purpose of bringing the gospel into the unreached parts of China. On June 25, 1865, Hudson Taylor prayed that God would send him 24 missionaries—two for each unreached Chinese province and two for Mongolia. The prayer was audacious. It would increase the total number of missionaries in China by 25 percent. But, as always, God provided, and the China Inland Mission (CIM) was born. Hudson returned to China in 1866 with the first group of CIM missionaries.

Never content, Hudson continued asking God for missionaries. In 1881, Hudson prayed for 70 more, and he received 76. In 1886, he asked God for another 100. Within a year, he had added 102.  When Hudson died in 1905, CIM counted 825 foreign missionaries, plus hundreds of native Chinese ministers, none of whom ever asked anyone for financial support. Missionaries brought their needs to God and trusted God to provide.

Despite the success of CIM, Hudson Taylor was not always popular. Unlike other agencies, CIM allowed unmarried women to serve as missionaries, and women were sent to all parts of China. Further, contrary to Europe’s theological ethnocentrism, Hudson prayed for the day when China’s church would be led by Chinese believers. Hudson Taylor declared the native Chinese ministers to be CIM’s “most important department.” He continued, “They are becoming more efficient as well as more numerous, and the hope for China lies doubtless in them. I look on foreign missionaries as the scaffolding round a rising building; the sooner it can be dispensed with the better.”

Many in England also criticized Hudson Taylor as insensitive to the political and commercial interests of the British. After CIM missionaries, including Hudson, were attacked during the Yangzhou riot of 1868, the British Parliament debated whether missionary activities in China’s interior were in England’s best interest. Hudson, of course, was most concerned about the eternal interests of the Chinese. So, he and CIM continued, despite the dangers.

Taylor once wrote, “China is not to be won for Christ by quiet, ease-loving men and women.... The stamp of men and women we need is such as will put Jesus, China, souls, first and foremost in everything and at every time—even life itself must be secondary.” And this was not hyperbole; during the Boxer Rebellion, CIM lost more missionaries than any other agency. Dozens of CIM missionaries, even their children, and many native believers, were tortured to death and their bodies mutilated. One CIM missionary wrote, “Alas, only a very few of my beloved fellow missionaries in the province of Shanxi escaped the blood-stained hands of the Boxers.” But, Hudson and CIM continued to serve and to show the love of Christ. When the British military defeated the Rebellion, the Chinese were forced to pay compensation to any British who suffered loss. But, Taylor and CIM refused compensation, choosing instead to demonstrate the “meekness and gentleness of Christ.”  During his lifetime, he suffered diseases, beatings, arrests, the burning of his house, seizing of his property, and the deaths of family members. He was willing to suffer, even to the point of death, because to him, even the worst death was nothing to fear. He wrote, “To be absent from the body! To be present with the Lord! To be free from sin! And this is the end of the worst that man’s malice can ever bring upon us!”

More than fifteen decades after Hudson Taylor first entered China, CIM still operates in East Asia and has pioneered many missions strategies that are now commonplace throughout the world. But, Hudson Taylor’s greatest legacy is his testimony to God’s sovereignty over all things and to God’s personal attention to the needs of his people. Hudson Taylor lived by faith and relied on God’s provision.

While we are not specifically praying that our Hudson will serve Christ in China, we are praying he will have the faith to follow Christ anywhere and to trust God in every circumstance. We pray that his name will become a legacy reminding us and him that God is our provider and sustainer, and that because Christ’s work is finished, there is nothing in the world to be done but to fall down on one’s knees, and accepting this Savior and His salvation, to praise Him forevermore.

Bruce & Jennifer

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Starting Unit 2

On Tuesday, we started the second unit of the year. Students will be learning about cells for the next several weeks. As I introduced some of the new vocabulary terms, I explained why science terms are often based on Greek and Latin. Until about 100 years ago, everyone who went to college in America or Europe studied Greek and Latin as part of their educations. So, science used that universal language; it didn't matter whether a scientist was from France, England, or America, the scientist could understand scientific terms.

Of course today few people know Greek and Latin. So, science terms often seem confusing. One of my goals is to teach students some of the most common prefixes, suffixes and roots, so science will actually make sense to them. Plus, many common English words are based on Greek and Latin, which means learning these words will help them with their English vocabularies, too.

We began with the names of the two most common cell types: eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. In Greek, eu means good, and pro means before. Karyon means kernel, like a popcorn kernel. So, eukaryotic means good kernal. A eukaryotic cell has a nucleus, which looks like a kernel when seen through a microscope. Prokaryotic cells do not have nuclei.

In everyday English, eu is used in the words eulogy and euphoria.

Next week, students will learn how to create outlines of their textbooks. I teach students different ways to take notes and to study because as they move farther along in school, they will need to take notes. Of course, I want students to do well in my class. But, I also want them to be well prepared for their futures. That is the real purpose of them being here at all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Extra Credit due Thurs, Oct 18

This week, you can earn up to 150 points of extra credit. I have included links for five stories about recent scientific research. And for each story, there are three simple questions. You can earn up to 10 points for each question that you correctly answer. But, to earn the full points, you need to write your answers in complete sentences, and the answers need to be correct. Write your answers on a sheet of paper and bring them to class. This is due Thursday.

Click the link in the article title to open a browser and read the article. Then, answer the questions.

"Poor Sleep Hampers Vaccines"

1. What was the independent variable?
2. What was the dependent variable?
3. What was the conclusion?

"Zap Sweet Potatoes to Boost Antioxidants"

4. What was the independent variable?
5. What was the dependent variable?
6. What was the conclusion?

"Fun Veggie Names Ups Kid Intake"

7. What was the independent variable?
8. What was the dependent variable?
9. What was the conclusion?

"Eye Movements Do Not Reveal Lying"

10. What was the independent variable?
11. What was the dependent variable?
12. What was the conclusion?

"Give Time to Feel Less Time-Squeeze"

13. What was the independent variable?
14. What was the dependent variable?
15. What was the conclusion?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Extra Credit, due Friday, Oct 12

This extra credit opportunity is worth up to 300 points, depending on how well you do on the assignment.

Last Friday, students wrote an essay explaining the changing hypotheses related to Kennewick Man. Then, on Monday, we created bubble maps outlining the key details for each hypothesis. For extra credit, students can use what they learned creating the bubble map to write new, and improved, essays.

Just like before, I am going to give you the first paragraph, and the main ideas for paragraphs 2, 3 and 4. Then, you will need to complete the whole essay with your own conclusion paragraph.
Introduction paragraph: The story of Kennewick Man illustrates how scientists often change their hypotheses as they learn more information. Shortly after Kennewick Man was discovered, scientists thought the skeleton was just a couple hundred years old. Soon, however, they realized the skeleton was much older. Eventually, as scientists pieced together the Kennewick Man puzzle, new ideas developed about how people first inhabited North America.

paragraph 2 main idea: One of the early hypotheses about Kennewick Man was that he was an American settler from the 1800s.

paragraph 3 main idea: As scientists continued studying Kennewick Man, they formed a hypothesis that he was far more ancient than they originally believed.

paragraph 4 main idea: The investigations into Kennewick Man have led some scientists to change their ideas about how humans first came to North America.

Finally, don't forget to write your own conlcusion paragraph.
Remember to include paragraph labels, and underline at least two terms from the Word Wall in each paragraph. Here are some of the terms that you might use: scientific inquiry, scientific method, investigation, experiment, hypothesis, data analysis, conclusion, and procedure.

Write your essay and bring it to class on Friday.

Here's a picture of the bubble map created in one of the classes.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Extra Credit due Tues, Oct 9

This extra credit assignment is due Tues, Oct 9. Each question is worth 20 points. So, you can earn a total of 100 points.

Read the article, "Stalking Plants by Scent." Then, answer these questions:
  1. When the dodder first sprouts, how long can it survive without finding food?
  2. How did scientists test the idea that the dodder can smell?
  3. Why doesn't the dodder grow toward wheat plants?
  4. How can this research help farmers?
  5. What characteristic makes dodders unique compared to other species of plants?
 Answer the questions and then give the paper to me before class on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Extra Credit due Friday, Oct 5

For extra credit, you can create Word Maps for the following vocabulary terms:
independent variable
dependent variable
controlled variable
control group
experimental group
Each Word Map is worth up to 20 points, depending on the quality of the work. Make sure you have good definitions. We have covered them in class many times.

You do not need to create all 6 Maps in order to earn points. You can earn points for each one you complete.

You can print out this template or write the Word Maps on your own paper.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Interim Reports

Today is interim report day. We are half-way through the first 9-weeks.

For the weeks leading up to this, I have told students that their grades will be based on how well they are learning in this class. Students often tell me they expect to pass this class just because they did some of the work. For many students, their past experience makes them believe that learning isn't really important. So, I try to make clear, from the very beginning, that I care about their learning.

They are here to learn.

Sometimes, it takes students until interim reports to believe that their learning matters. Throughout the day of interim reports, many students will ask why they have low grades. I just ask them to show me their notebooks. Most often, they don't want to do that. They understand the problem. They know they haven't been doing their work or learning all the material. They're just surprised anyone cares.

I care whether or not they learn.

Here's an example of how their effort and their learning shows up in their work. On Sept 18, students worked with their table partners to read an article about Dr. Ben Carson. Then, they answered a series of questions based on the article.

Here's a link to the article and questions.

And here are a couple examples of students' work.

This student didn't put much effort into the work. The student didn't even try to answer many of the questions.

This student wrote thoughtful answers that showed she understood the article.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Title: Iceman
Date: Sept 19, 2012

In today's class, students watched part 1 of a Discovery documentary about Otzi the Iceman. Otzi is a 5,300 frozen mummy that was found Sept 19, 1991 (21 years ago today) in the Italian Alps. As students watched the video, they took notes to learn about forensic science. At the end of the video, students worked with table partners to answer three questions:
  1. Explain how the Iceman's body was so well preserved for 5,300 years.
  2. Explain why it was "dangerous" to defrost the mummy.
  3. Describe three observations scientists made about the Iceman's body that might help explain his death.
Following those questions, students used their notes to write summary paragraphs. I gave them the main idea: "The discovery of Otzi, the Iceman, has been very important for scientists."

You can find more information about Otzi through these links:
South Tryol Museum of Archaeology, South Tyrol, Italy
"Last Hours of the Iceman," National Geographic

Also, it is important for students to learn how to take notes. As students go farther in school, the ability to take good notes will become even more important. So, I try to help students get lots of practice in my classes. Here are some examples of good and not-so-good notes taken by students today.

These notes, which continue on the next page, have good details. This student would likely be able to answer challenging questions about Otzi on a test.

These notes are decent. They have some good information and would be some help on a test.
These notes, which continue on the next page, have good details. This student would likely be able to answer challenging questions about Otzi on a test.

These notes, which also continue on the next page, have good details. This student would likely be able to answer challenging questions about Otzi on a test.

These notes have only the most basic information, and the student clearly quit taking notes after about the first 5 minutes of the video. This student did the minimum in order to be able to claim he or she did some work. These notes would be very little help on a test,

These notes have lots of details, but are very difficult to read. It would be difficult for a student to use these notes for studying or for help during an open-notes test.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homework due Friday, Sept 14

Read the article, "Brainy bees know two from three," and then answer these questions:
  1. What did Dr. Zhang and his team learn from their background research?
  2. What was the independent variable in this experiment?
  3. What was the dependent variable in this experiment?
  4. What was the conclusion of this research?
  5. Based on the information in this article, why do you think phone numbers are made in groups of 3 and 4 numbers? For example, 863-123-1234.
  6. What sentence in the article supports your answer for question #5?
Write down the answers on a piece of paper and bring them to class on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lab Safety

On Tuesday, students learned about lab safety. We watched two short videos in class, and students were given lab safety contracts to take home and have signed by a parent or guardian.

Video 1: The Ultimate Lab Safety Video

Video 2: FSU Chemistry Lab Safety

Students can read the entire set of Polk County lab safety rules at this link, which opens a PDF file.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Welcome to Life Science

Welcome to Life Science.

I am looking forward to a great year.