All Good Things Must Come to an End

Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU for a fantastic school year. I had so much fun with each and every one of you. I loved getting to know you, what makes you tick, what inspires you, how you learn best, and so much more! My hope is that you got as much out of learning with me as I got from teaching with you. Please, please, please come by and visit next year and see what the new freshmen are up to, or if you need help with a little chemistry.

As a final gesture of goodwill, please take a second to fill out the form below to help me make this class even better than it has been. Have a fun and safe summer and I’ll see you next year!

Semester II Final Study Guide

Believe it or not we are just 2 short weeks away from the end of the school year. On top of that, we have now successfully completed all the required content for Biology! So, without further ado, today we will begin preparing for the SII final! You will get a copy if the Study Guide when you come to class today, but I also wanted to give you the opportunity tomuse an electronic version (links below). The answer key is published for you to review. Its been a great year with you, lets end it on a high note!

SII Study Guide 

Study Guide Key

Cellular Respiration

Cellular Respiration, although the inputs and outputs seem easy, the process is very convoluted and complicated. Lucky for you, we’re going to simplify it to a point that is appropriate for a High School Biology student.

Keep in mind that Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration are reciprocal reactions. What that means is that the requirements of Cellular Respiration are the products of Photosynthesis! Likewise, the products of Cellular Respiration are the requirements of Photosynthesis! Its a 3 Billion year long symbiotic relationship! (And you thought your month-long high school girlfriend was a long-term commitment!)

Here is the jist of what Aerobic (meaning with Oxygen present) Respiration entails…


Aerobic Respiartion


  • Uses 2 ATP to break down Glucose
  • NADH & 4ATP (net gain +2 ATP) are created.
  • The NADH goes to the Krebs Cycle.

Krebs Cycle

  • Uses Oxygen and Acetyl-CoA
  • Makes 2 ATP, NADH, & FADH2 (both of which are electron carriers)
  • Carbon Dioxide is given off as a byproduct.
  • The NADH goes on to the ETC

Electron Transport Chain

  • Uses Oxygen and NADH
  • Make 32 ATP and Water (used as an electron acceptor)


Photosynthesis may seem like an easy topic, based on what you learned in middle school. But, as we go a little deeper into the processes of how Plants chemically create glucose from a gas, a liquid, and sunlight we find that it is a whole lot more interesting and complicated. Below is a graphic organizer to show the parts of the chloroplast, the reactants, the products, and the important molecules involved in both the Light & Dark Reactions.


Light Reaction

  • Light & Water enter the Thylakoid (or granum)
  • Oxygen is released as a byproduct
  • In the process, NADPH and ATP are charged and carry energy to the Dark Reactions.

Dark Reactions

  • The ATP and NADPH, combined with Carbon Dioxide, create Glucose.
  • The leftover NADP+ and ADP go back to the light reaction.

Ecology Unit Review

Today is our last class before our Ecology Unit Test. There will be multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions on the test. I posted a study guide (Key) that we will have time to work on in class.
Below are photos from our most recent notes on succession to help you as you review key questions and vocal. Click on one of the images to enlarge the picture.
IMG_2768 IMG_2769

Here is the YouTube video of the notes for your use as well:

My suggestion is to break this large unit into the 6 sections we discussed:

  1. What is Ecology?
  2. Interdependence
  3. Human Impacts
  4. Cycles
  5. Energy Flow
  6. Changes in Environments

Then, pull the Key Questions from each section (these are the headings during our notes!) If you can successfully and thoroughly answer the Key Question, you have all the information you need to be successful!

This will be our last test in Biology (other than the Final!) So Good Luck!



Climate Challenge

Yesterday we talked about Human impacts on the environment. We covered several topics including:

  • Acid Rain
  • Ozone layer depletion
  • Mass Extinction
  • Depletion of Natural Resources/Destruction of habitat
  • Climate Change
  • Invasive Species

Today we’ll be reviewing some case studies to determine the cause and solutions to some of these problems. After that, we’re going to play a game courtesy of the BBC. The game is called “Climate Challenge” and basically you get to run a country that is facing the threat of global climate change head on. You’ll have to balance protecting the earth, your citizens, and your job! Use the link below to reach the game (*note, if you are using a iOS device you will need to view this using the puffin app). Good luck, have fun, and learn something!

Climate Challenge – The Game


So now we know that ecology isn’t just the study of the environment… its studying the interactions between living things and the abiotic and biotic factors of their habitat. Today, we’re going to focus in a little bit more on the relationship between different biotic factors in an ecosystem. These relationships all fall under the category of something called interdependence. Hopefully that rings some bells for you because that was one of the themes of biology & characteristics of life we talked about at the beginning of the year! Interdependence is the idea that every living things relies on other living things one way or another. So lets take some time to dive into these different relationships and understand the concepts behind the interconnectedness. Please watch the video below, take notes, ask questions, and be prepared to discuss the different types of relationships and how living things are connected.

What did a T-Rex Taste Like?

trexWhat did a T-Rex Taste Like?

Believe it or not, we actually have was of finding this answer despite the fact the Tyrannosaurus Rex has been extinct for over 65 million years. We can determine a T-Rex features, including taste, using similar features (which we now know are called homologous structures). shared with animals the T-Rex is closely related to.

Recall that yesterday we learned that the more features you have in common, the higher the probability that you share a common ancestor/DNA (the exception would be convergent evolution where two species become increasingly similar despite the fact the originated from different ancestors). So what we can do is plot relatedness, based on characteristics, on a graphic called a cladogram, like the one shown here.

So Today, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing, using the link at the top of this post, you’ll follow the steps to learn how cladograms are created, organized, and what the different branches of it mean. By the time you are through, you will know what it tastes like to bite into a big fat dino-burger!