Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nothing Prosperous Comes Easily...

To All of You Future AP Biology Students,

Learn from my mistakes! This class is by far the hardest class I have ever taken. This class will challenge you. It will push you. It will make you stay up on various nights because you want to get those last few things done so you're ready for that big test. You will get frustrated.

But this class will prepare you for your college courses to come...

As someone once said: "Nothing prosperous comes easily". I have found this to be so true when put into AP Biology context. There will be times where you will want to rip your hair out and wonder why on earth you ever signed up for this class. But trust me, though I did have those moments, every single one of them was worth it. You will be challenged and that is very valuable for those of you going on to college, but also to anyone going through life. Life needs some challenges to make it worth while.

Here are a few pointers to help you prepare for the rigor of this course:

1) STUDY CUMULATIVELY! Take out your notes/handouts/study guides and study them for five minutes every night! I know it's the last thing you want to do once you get home from school but it will help you in the long run. I wish I had done that because I would have felt much more confident in what I knew and it would have paid off for that HUGE final!

2)  ASK QUESTIONS! Don't be that one loner in class who doesn't ask questions or make contributions to class discussions. The only stupid questions are the ones that are never asked. Don't be afraid because I guarantee that there are at least two other people in the room with the same question.

3) UTILIZE YOUR RESOURCES! Mr. Landry put them up for you for a reason! Look over his miscellaneous, yet helpful, documents. Please use the extra credit guides, they helped me so much as a study tool and everyone likes a few extra points in the gradebook. There is a treasure trove of information if you take the time to look and study.

4) GET INVOLVED AND HAVE FUN! Don't sweat about things too much. Enjoy the fun times in class because there will be many. This class is and will always be one of my most memorable classes in my high school career. You can find concepts you can relate to and a lot of your peers will be supportive. Mr. Landry too. Enjoy it.

I'm not going to lie, this class was really difficult. But I am better prepared for my future because of it and you will be too. Rise to the challenge. And thanks to Mr. Landry and my 2012/2013 AP Bio class. Thanks for helping to make my senior year memorable ♥

Monday, November 19, 2012

To be a macromolecule...Which one is the question


In AP biology class, we have been discussing macromolecules. In this blog entry I was asked to choose which macromolecule I would like to be. Out of the four choices I was presented with, I chose to be a carbohydrate!

Carbohydrates are one type of macromolecule. They are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They provide fast energy, energy storage, raw materials, and structural materials. The monomers in carbs are sugars and the main sugar that is most commonly present is glucose. Energy is stored in the carbon-carbon bonds and are harvested in cell respiration. There are simple and complex sugars. Monosaccharides are simple one monomer sugars. Disaccharides are two monomers of sugar bonded together. Polysaccharides are large polymers that are bonded together. These take little energy to build and are easily reversible. When reversed they release energy.

Now, for me this choice makes sense for various reasons. One being how involved I am in so many different areas of my life that I need energy to keep up with my rigorous lifestyle. I am involved in various clubs and bands and my job is fairly active so I need to always have a good supply of energy to keep me sustained. Eating foods that are rich in carbohydrates helps to give me that extra boost, for obvious reasons as I'm sure you can see! Carbohydrates are a very important part of my daily eating habits.

Go, Carbs, Go!

AP Biology in a Nutshell

Hello again!

AP Biology was never supposed to be an easy class. However, I am finding it to be more rigorous than I had originally assumed. I have found that this class challenges me in a way no other class ever has and I am so grateful for that! If I had never taken this class I don't know that I would even be close to being ready for college next year.

I am forced to study for tests. Everything has always come easy enough to me in school that I've rarely ever had to study before. While this is a new habit that I have to acclimate to, I do so with enthusiasm. It is only preparing me to form better study tools and skills for the next seven years that I will be attending college.

I've already had more than five nights where I have stayed up until three a.m. or later just because I feel I need to prepare myself and get more work done (of course I'm also involved in many other activities so multitasking is contributing to late nights). However, while I do love my sleep, I love the fact that I'm becoming more prepared to enter the world of college and adulthood. It won't be easy though.

Here's to never making assumptions!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kickin' Drug Resistant Bacteria to the Curb

Hello once again!

A new study conducted by Dr. Gee Lau at the University of Illinois could help to prevent new drug resistant, particularly antibiotic resistant, bacteria from forming and reproducing!

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. It shares its antibiotic resistant DNA with other bacteria. This can lead to more reproduction of the antibiotic resistant bacteria. If these bacteria continue to multiply, then antibiotic drugs will not be of much use in treating various illnesses and infections.

But despair not, for as I have previously stated there is yet hope!

Researchers have been working to develop a reliable method for shutting down the spread of drug resistant bacteria by interrupting the cellular events that allow S. Pneumoniae to swap their DNA. Dr. Lau and his colleges at the University of Illinois have been focusing on blocking the protein that, as it binds to a receptor in the bacterial cell membrane, spurs the cell to events that allows the bacterium to receive new genetic material. This will cause more drug resistant bacteria to form rendering our beloved antibiotics useless. However, by interfering with the CSP protein, they hypothesize this will hinder the ability for promoting genetic transfer between the bacteria.

These researchers have constructed lab-made CSP-like proteins that block bacterial CSPs' access to the receptors, reduce the bacterial competence, and reduce the infectious capacity of S. Pneumoniae. These researchers then fine-tuned the structure of the amino acid and tested how well the inhibited the S. Pneumoniae CSPs. They also tested the inability to mimic the activity of CSPs in bacterial cells.

This was a success! The researchers found that many of the artificial CSP inhibited the bacterial CSP and reduced the S. Pneumoniae competence by more than 90 percent!

So, watch out all you microscopic pathogens! We will find you....and we will annihilate you!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How the Sparta Spartans Do Homecoming

Hello everyone,

First off, homecoming week here at Sparta High School is downright awesome! The entire day of homecoming is devoted to the 4 classes in the school competing for the coveted Red Apple Award. This pretigious award is given to the class with the most points at the end of the day. Prior to the day of homecoming, the schoolwide class competitions begins with spirit dress up days, a canned food drive, and penny a point. All of these activities, if participated in, can earn your class points toward obtaining the Red Apple. THen on the day of homecoming the entire school gets out of our classes and competes in games all day long! It's a great way to keep our school united and get everyone fired up for the homecoming weekend extraordinaire!

My personal experiences with homecoming have been nothing short of wonderful. There is always some way in which I can get involved in the rigorous competitions. The homecoming games invite many people of any class or group to participate! Plus, who doesn't like to get a free pass out of your classes for the day to have some fun? Yeah, that's right, 100% of you! Sparta Homecoming is the best place to spend your homecoming! I'm so glad to be a Spartan and I thank all the teachers, students, and volunteers that help to make it not only possible, but memorable as well.

And I would like to add that, as a senior of the Class of 2013, I gladly accept the victory of the Homecoming Games! Go Seniors!

Friday, September 21, 2012

An exhibition of humanity's stupidity conveyed through acid precipitation

Hello my fellow bloggers,

On today's blog entry I'm going to discuss the imbecility of humanity demonstrated by the creation of acid precipitation. Acid rain is caused by a chemical reaction that begins when compounds like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere. These chemicals mix in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other components to create pollutants. These pollutants are spread through the wind and water very quickly so it can affect precipitation in various areas all over the world.

Human activities are the main cause of acid precipitation. Power plants are a large contributor to acid rain. They release an abundance of chemicals, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, into the air. The burning of fossil fuels, like coal and gasoline, also emits various gases into the atmosphere. Due to the enormous emission of chemicals into the air, humanity has actually changed the mix of gases in the atmosphere.

Acid rain affects many parts of the environment. Lakes, streams, and rivers are affected in the way that their acidity levels are raised. If the pH level becomes too high in these bodies of water, many fish eggs cannot hatch. This reduces chances of living offspring. If this becomes too severe, individual fish and sometimes an entire aquatic species may become extinct. In additon to this, when the buffering capacity is low, aluminum is released into the water. Aluminum is extremely toxic to plant life and animal life. Acid rain decreases biodiversity because of all of these negative effects. Acid precipitation can harm trees at higher elevations as well as damaging sensitive pH levels everywhere.

Many are asking, what can we do? The government passed a law on how much sulfur dioxide a power plant can emit. This is helping to cut down on pollution levels. One great way we can help out is by conserving energy. Turn off lights when you leave a room or electronics when you are not using them. Carpooling is a great way to burn less fossil fuels. You can buy more energy efficient appliances and electronics. Attempt to use other forms of energy such as wind power or solar power.

These are just a few suggestions as to what we can do to minimize our emission of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Do it for the cute little bunnies!


Here's a video link for your viewing pleasure and/or disgust:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Decisions, decisions....

Hello again!

Well for this week's post I was told to make a couple of decisons. I have to decide of all the units that we'll be covering in AP Biology which I'm looking most forward to and which I'm not looking forward to much at all. That's a pretty hard decision considering I'm excited about all the units we'll be covering as of now...

I suppose the one I'm looking the most forward to is probably the heredity unit. I've always been fascinated by genetics and what factors influence how we look and act. It appeals to me in some odd way. I enjoy finding out more information on the things that make an organism unique.

As for the unit I'm least looking forward to, I guess since I have to make a choice it would probably be the enzymes and metabolism unit. The only reason I can really give for not looking forward to that one as much is because a lot of it has been drilled into my brain starting in early grade school and working its way up to last year in chemistry.

Anyway I suppose that's all for this week