Tag Archives: Apologia

A Hunting We Will Go…

One of the big projects I have the Biology students do for months is insect collecting.   All students are required to obtain, classify, and pin to a board 30 insects.

This project is announced early in the year, so the kids can start looking.  Here in Florida it is usually easy to find insects, so I do not accept the excuse that they couldn’t find any.  Really? In Florida!

To help with the hunt, I took the students on an optional Field Trip to a local park.  This park is known for its bugs, except for this day. :/

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Here is the group heading down the path.   As you can see, this looks like it would be a great place for a hunt.

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We looked high and low and found only iddy biddy bugs.  These bugs were so small we had to put them in bags to pin them to the board.

Here I am trying to coax a few critters to give up their life for the insect board.  It didn’t work.  Yeah, they knew we were coming…

On a brighter note, I am sporting my new day pack, Osprey Sirrus 24 in Summit Blue.  It is bright for my outdoor adventures, but it was the only pack that would fit me.  Ignore the ugly pink shirt.

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We get to a bridge and I want a group picture.  While posing a bug flies into our vicinity.  One student takes advantage of the situation.

Camp Tomahawk 025The bug tries to escape by flying from a student’s face to my face.  The student in the hat, does not give up and doesn’t care he is about to smack his teacher in the face to get the insect.  Since I love students who don’t give up, I can handle the smack. 😀

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Finally!  Bug in jar and photo taken.  Hooray!

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Even though this was a moderately unsuccessful bug hunt, the trip as really nice. The weather was great, the kids had fun, the flowers are pretty, and I got to wear my new pack. Thumbs up all around. 😀

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Get outside!


Module 7 – Cellular Reproduction and DNA

I believe my class is ready for Christmas break.  The last few Tuesdays, the students have been lethargic.  I thought for sure the extraction of pea DNA would wake them up.  Nope.

It is always a good idea to practice your experiments before going into the classroom.   Rule #1: If it doesn’t work at home, it will not work in the classroom.  Yeah, it really doesn’t.

What you will need:

  • A good blender
  • Toothpicks (long wooden skewers work best)
  • Clear liquid soap  (Dawn works best and we used the blue one)
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Strainer
  • Glass jar
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Rubbing alcohol  (cold)

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I did this experiment at my home the night before co-op.  I used Sam’s Club antibacterial hand soap with light moisturizers.  It didn’t work, people.  It didn’t even work the next day at co-op.  See Rule #1 above.

The next week, we begin again.  We follow the directions and whirl some peas around.

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Then strain the liquid out using a tea strainer.

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Add the soap. This time I used the blue DAWN liquid dish soap.  The experiment said to use clear, but I didn’t have any.  We had no problem with the blue soap.

A coffee stick was used to stir.  A wooden skewer works so much better.

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After adding cold Rubbing Alcohol (I put it in the refrigerator), there is DNA!  Woo-hoo.  Students did not care. LOL

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The white stringy stuff is the DNA.  Looks like nose goo.  Lovely.

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If you use a long wooden skewer, the DNA will stick to it and you’ll be able to bring the DNA out of the jar for a closer look.

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Please have a look at my post from 2009, DNA from Peas!    I don’t know how we did it, but this is the best example of this experiment.

I am sorry for not keeping up with what is going on in Biology.  This week I have several post scheduled to get us caught up, then we break for Christmas.


Edible Cell Winners!

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The Most Meticulous

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The Most Beautiful

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The Most Hideous

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The Most Peculiar

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She’s mine. 🙂

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She’s mine. 🙂

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After the feast.

Appliejuice Etsy Shop  –  has a letter to students explaining the mission (project), Student Grade Sheet, Teacher Rubric, and a list for the teacher of what is required in the cell. That’s a helpful tool while grading. 🙂

Yummy Yummy Cells!

Yes!  Edible Cells!   The third fun hands on activity for Module 6 in Exploring Creation with Biology.

I did not assign this project.  Two weeks ago, our class had a visitor.  An odd visitor.  Dr. Gootenbur….  uh, I can’t even spell this person’s name.  I don’t think I can even pronounce this person’s name.  Oh well.


He decided it was a good time to hand out the Mad Science Project.  Each student was given the instruction sheet and a caution.  They were not to make a living cell.  That would be like so wrong!

My girls got busy!  Buy lots and lots of candy.

The girls

One made a boxed cake and the other made a giant cookie.  Icing was colored and spread all over the place. All.over.the.place.

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Icing and cake pieces were used to make the nucleus for one of the cells.  Once it was made one daughter announced it looked like a dung pile.  What do you think?

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A popcorn ball was purchased at Wal-Mart for 25 cents for the other cell.  It was on clearance!  Sir Husband said they had a huge cart full of them.  To me that is a sign DO NOT EAT.  ewwww…..

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Cell is beginning to appear.  Twizzlers, gummies, and icing were used.  Since this was the daughter who said the chocolate nucleus looked like a dung pile, we let her know the chocolate droppings on the mitochondria looked like frog poo.  Seriously, it does.  We have seen it on our sidewalk.   Parenting has its rewards. 😉

The making

The final product.  The cell was not alive…BONUS!

Edible Cell Display

Eight students brought in eight edible cells.  The amount of work that went to each one ranged from extreme to ….well…. next to no effort at all.  LOL  Enjoy the slideshow of these Edible Cells.

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Cells were displayed for all to see, enjoy….

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and vote on…

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and consumed.  Well one was so hard it would have taken a chainsaw to slice.

Rice Krispies

All students were sent home to fall into a sugar coma.  To the parents of my students, you’re welcome!

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Voting, by fellow students and facilitators,  was on the following:

  • Most Beautiful
  • Most Hideous
  • Most Peculiar
  • Most Meticulous – Picked by me.

Honestly, there wasn’t a Hideous one, but we voted on it anyway.  I have not awarded the certificates yet, so please come back next Wednesday to find out who won these categories.  In the meantime, who do you think won?

Go here to see the printables for this project.

Or visit my Etsy shop for more detailed items.



We are in Module 4 of Exploring Creation Through Biology.  That means it is time to grow mold and hunt for mushrooms.  I am thinking since it has been raining here lately, we will have a good variety.  We did.

Since daughters are in my class they had to go mushroom hunting with me.  One was sick, so she stayed home.  Not only did I make the other one go, she had to pick mushrooms with her OWN. HANDS!!  Seriously, people I did make her pick up the mushrooms.

As you can probably see from this photo, she figured out a way to pick it up without touching it.  That, of course, was still as bad as picking it up with her OWN. HANDS.

This is the same cutie who went with me during the time I needed to collect mushrooms for a different school year.  She didn’t touch them at that time either.  Just went along for the walk and claimed she found them all and there by winning the game.

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We did find several nice mushrooms in our very own back yard.

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Once home, I let them sit on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel.

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I don’t remember what the orange ones are called, but I think they are real pretty.

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I did try to make a mushroom print, but the spores were so small and so light, it was hard to see.  I did spray them this time with hairspray and that worked very well.

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The students seemed to enjoy this experiment.  It was more hands on than the prepared slides from last week.

See the girl below?  She was partnered with my Joanna and together they found worms in their mushrooms.  Forget the lesson, forget the Basidomycota Spores, let’s look at worms!  That is just what they did.


This worm was a bit wiggly, so the girl above decided to smash it a bit. Stupid worm should have just laid there.  The photo below was taken by the girl with her smart phone.  We do not know which end this is.  It is a pretty color.


Tomorrow at co-op, we will be looking at mold.  We have some interesting mold growning this year.  Stay tuned.


The Conservation of Mass

Looks like I need to back track a little, since I apparently have skipped a few lessons.

Module 3 of Exploring Creation with Chemistry – The Conservation of Mass


All that means is matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change forms.

In a nut shell, when matter goes through a wiz-bang change the total mass remains the same. Ta-dah!  Still don’t get it?  Ok.

Get a pair of funky colored goggles and neon yellow rubber gloves.  Must haves for all chemistry labs.   Seriously.


Obtain items for exp. 3.1: beakers, watch glass, Lye (we used Drano – washes your troubles down the drain), vinegar, water, pot, purple cabbage, stove, mass scale, stirring rod, etc..  In this experiment we boiled cabbage to get the color out and into the water.  Now we are trying to figure out if the mass of matter is the same before and after it goes through any kind of change.  To do that, we have to measure everything.

We measure the beaker, the lye, the watch glass, the everything…  Here you see my pink student measuring her beaker in her mass scale.  Sorry, I don’t have any measurements to give, because I no longer have their lab write-ups and can’t remember what the weights were.


While the cabbage is boiling  you stop, put your finger on your nose and think about the experiment and where it is going.


Measure out a specific amount of the Lye and place it on the watch glass.   Then have this conversation with one of your students?

  • Student: Mrs. Goodrich, what happens if you get Lye on your fingers?
  • Me:  It burns your skin.
  • Student:  Can I touch it?
  • Me:  No.
  • Student:  Uh, I think I got some on my hands because they are burning a little bit.  Can I go wash my hands?
  • Me:  Sure.  I also got some on my hands.


Here some of the cabbage water is in the beaker with some vinegar.  You can see just a little bit of pink at the bottom of the beaker in the mass scale.  Vinegar (acid) turns the anthocyanins pink.


Next step is to tip the watch glass and pour the Lye into the pink liquid.  Lye is a base and neutralizes the vinegar and turns it into a lovely shade of yellow snot.  I hate the word snot, but that is what the students called it.



So, we had vinegar, Lye, and water with cabbage coloring in it.  All was measured. Let’s say it measured XX grams.  It was then mixed all together causing chemical changes to occur and the whole thing was measured again.  The mass was XX grams.  Ta-dah!

Matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change forms.

Density – Module 1

Exploring Creation With Chemistry by Dr. Jay Wile

On this day we studied density. Density is an object’s mass divided by the volume.  Formula looks like this…

Well that looks easy enough.  What is awesome about density is every substance has its own special density.   To work on this, we did Exp. 1.1 The Density of Liquids.  After following the procedure in the book, the students slowly poured in their liquids.  Each student had their own liquid to find the density of and then to pour it in a jar.

Yes, I let my students take some photos of their experiments.


The experiment called for Maple Syrup, veg. oil, and water.  Since I had five students, I added alcohol and liquid dish soap.

To properly pour liquids into the container, the students slowly poured the liquid down a glass stirring rod.  This helped keep the liquids from mixing.


Up close visual.


Here we start to see the layers.  I wish I could say this was a WOW factor, but it was more like  oh, that’s cool.   I wanted it to look like this, but it didn’t happen.  The best way to see the separate layers is to get at eye level.


It was also a lot easier to see the layers when a light is shined through it.  I don’t have a good picture of the layers, but you could see them.  The interesting part I saw was the dish soap and the water were the same density.  They did mix quite a bit, but we could still see some separation.


And of course all students much clean up after themselves.  Look at those orange slip-on shoes.  Love them!