Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Paper DNA Model

If you would like my patterns so that you can build a paper DNA model, check my April 8, 2007 posts!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Celebrating Earth Day

I attended a celebration for the 1st Earth day at the University of Utah and have celebrated every year ever since. This year, I made a donation the World Center for Birds of Prey.

Monday, April 16, 2007

4th Marking Period Chemistry Project

Chemistry of Materials – Coordinated Science II – 4th Marking Period Project


Assignment and Objective: Understanding atomic and molecular structure expands our knowledge of the nature of the material world and advances the technological sophistication of society. Each student will learn about the history and chemical make-up of a commonly used material, and present that information to the class. Students will also be responsible for learning about the topics that are presented by others.


1. Each student will be assigned a topic by lot (random drawing from a container). Each student in the class will have a different topic to research, which will be one of the following topics:

∙Amber∙Henna∙Plastic Bags∙Chili peppers∙ Erasers∙ Honey∙Polyurethane foam
∙Margarine∙Food Coloring∙Food Preservatives∙Citronella Oil∙Kava
∙Artificial Sweetners∙MSG∙Licorice∙Chicken Eggs∙Catnip∙Kitty Litter∙JELL-O®
∙Bug Sprays∙Rain Coats∙Golf Balls∙Sticky Notes∙Soap Bubbles∙Sunscreens
∙Marshmallows∙Gasoline∙Artificial Snow∙Teeth Whiteners∙New Car Smell
∙Motor Oil∙Ice Cream∙Glass∙Opal∙Shampoo∙Shower Cleaners∙Pencils and Pencil Lead
∙Fireworks∙Fluoride∙Aircraft Deicers∙Chocolate∙Silly Putty∙Self Tanners
∙Hair Coloring∙Cheese Whiz∙Asphalt∙Baseballs∙Lycra/Spandex∙Lipstick

This is an independent, at-home research project.

2. Each individual student will present their research information to the class by presenting a brief oral presentation and an 11” by 17” Shutter Fold (foldable) display of their work, which is constructed according to the attached directions and as demonstrated by the teacher. The display is to include the following:

1. a history of the use and invention of the material.

2. diagrams/drawings of the chemical structures, or chemical formula of all the ingredients that make up the material.

3. the health hazards and health benefits of the material.

4. a biography of the inventors of the materials, or a description of a company that manufactures the material.

5. a copy of a patent from or where the name of the material, or the important chemical ingredient in the material, has been put in as a search term.

6. A completed information sheet about the patent.

7. pictures of the material, or actual samples of the material.

8. The student’s research information should include a bibliography (MLA format). This is a formal presentation. The writing and project should reflect a student’s best effort.

3. During the oral presentations, the audience will take notes about each of the materials; everyone will be responsible for knowing the important facts about each material and will graded on their proper participation as an audience.

4. The finished project is due on Tuesday, May 8, 2007. The Middletown Cavalier Chemical Science Meeting will commence on May 9 and run through May 11 to allow for all students to have an opportunity to present the important information about each topic. Late projects will not be accepted. Students must be prepared to present on May 9. The project is 20% of the marking period grade and will be evaluated as follows:
∙ Visual Aid/Foldable presentation 20 points

∙ Important information included 18 points

∙ Well organized 06 points

∙ Pictures of Material 06 points

∙ Copy of Patent with Completed Information Sheet 20 points

∙ Bibliography – must have two sources 12 points

∙ Audience Notes 18 points

4th Marking Period Chemistry Project - Attach This Patent Information Sheet to the patent that you hand in for your project. The project is due Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Patent Information Sheet

Student Name __________________

1. What is the name of the invention?

2. What is the Patent Number of the invention?

3. What is the name of the inventor? If the patent had been assigned to a company, what is the name of the company that “owns” the patent?

4. What is the date of the invention?

5. Summarize the claims, or specifications of the invention. Why did the inventor come up with this idea?

6. What did the inventor do to show that his invention actually works? (This is called reduction to practice.)

7. What resources did the inventor use to manufacture his product?

8. Summarize the history that led to the invention (prior art). What improvements did the inventor make, or why is the invention useful?

9. Is the invention an example of the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention?” Why, or why not?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

How To Make a Paper Model of DNA

How to Make a Paper Model of DNA
Modeling is a process used by scientists to assist in understanding the how the world works. Making models of molecules helps biologists and chemists define how the molecule is put together and predict the chemical nature of the molecule. James Watson and Francis Crick used modeling, along with the X-ray crystallographic images of Rosalind Franklin, to determine the structure and nature of the DNA molecule. I have devised a pattern that can be used to construct a paper model of the DNA molecule. This simple model helps students learn some(not all)of the properties of the construction of the molecule. In addition, the model shows off the beauty of the shape and symmetry of DNA. The patterns for the paper model can be obtained from my April 8 posts to this web site:
There is a pattern for the 5 prime side and another pattern for the 3 prime side. You need to print and use both patterns to make the model.
First, the model illustrates that the DNA has two different, complementary sides. Second, the model shows that on one side, the sugar phosphate backbone of the molecule is bonded with the 5' end going to the 3' end, and the other side of the molecule is bonded with the 3' end going to the 5' end. Third, if students pay attention, when they are constructing the molecule, they will see that the Adenine base always pairs with the Thymine base and that the Cytosine base always pairs with the Guanine base.
Lastly, students get a feel for how the helical shape comes about; the molecule fits in such a way that it has a natural twist. And there is more. When everyone's model is made, the models can be taped together, end-to-end, to illustrate that DNA is a very long twisted molecule.
After the paper model patterns (see previous posts) are copied, they are cut out on all of the solid lines. The shaded areas in the pattern are discarded. The dotted lines allow for the bases to be folded to create the horizontal rungs of the DNA "ladder." Transparent tape is used to tape together the bases (hydrogen bonds). One base is placed slightly on top and overlapping the other matching base, and then the tape is applied by wrapping it around both front and back. Once one base pair has been put together, all of the other base pairs must be put together in the same way. If this is done properly, the molecule will naturally twist into a perfect double helix. This is somewhat realistic because it demonstrates that there are 10 base pairs per full turn, of the helix, which is what is found in the real DNA molecule. Copying the patterns onto colored paper adds interest and beauty to the model. Also, copying the pattern onto tag board, or manila folder, makes the model stiffer, as shown in the photos.

Cut-Out Pattern for Making a Paper Model of DNA - 5 Prime

You need to also print out the complementary 3 prime side of the molecule - see the next post.

Cut-Out Pattern For Making a Paper Model of DNA - 3 Prime

You also need to print out the complementary 5' side of the molecule - see the previous post.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Extra Credit 3rd Marking Period - Long Distance Whale Communications

You may earn extra credit by hand-writing 20 facts from this article:

Secrets of whales' long-distance songs are being unveiled by U.S. Navy'sundersea microphones -- but sound pollution threatens
Media contact: David Brand
Office: 607-255-3651

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Why do whales in the North Atlantic Ocean seem to be moving together and coherently? What is impelling them forward. How do they communicate with each other, seemingly over thousands of miles of ocean? And how can this acoustical habitat be protected?

For nearly nine years Cornell University researcher Christopher Clark -- together with former U.S. Navy acoustics experts Chuck Gagnon and Paula Loveday -- has been trying to answer these questions by listening to whale songs and calls in the North Atlantic using the navy's antisubmarine listening system. Instead of being used to track Soviet subs as they move through the Atlantic, the underwater microphones of the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) can track singing blue, fin, humpback and minke whales.

From the acoustical maps he and his colleagues have obtained, Clark has come to realize that he has been thinking about whales at the wrong time scale. "There is a time delay in the water, and the response times for their communication are not the same as ours. Suddenly you realize that their behavior is defined not by my scale, or any other whale researcher's scale, but by a whale's sense of scale -- ocean-basin sized," he says.

Clark, the I.P. Johnson Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., will discuss his research into the rich acoustical environment of whales at a news briefing during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. in Salon B, mezzanine level, Marriott Wardman Park hotel, Washington, D.C. He also will describe his research in an AAAS seminar Feb. 20 at 8:30 a.m., lobby level, Virginia Suite A, Marriott Wardman Park.

"We know very little about whale communications. That is why we are looking for patterns of association and coordination. The problem is that the whales are spaced so far apart," says Clark. However, the SOSUS system is providing a wealth of new data. In weeklong soundings at the U.S. Navy's Joint Maritime Facility in St. Mawgan, Cornwall, England, Clark has obtained thousands of acoustical tracks of singing whales for the different species throughout the year. "We now have the ability to fully evaluate where they are and how long they sing for," he says. "We now have evidence that they are communicating with each other over thousands of miles of ocean. Singing is part of their social system and community."

Using SOSUS, Clark can move a cursor around a screen and listen in on different areas of the North Atlantic. If he hears a whale singing, he can fix its location and position it in space and time and observe animals that are many tens of miles apart -- cohorts of humpback singers moving coherently -- and watch the collective migration of species in large portions of the ocean basin. "So if I am a whale off Newfoundland, I can hear a whale off Bermuda," says Clark.

"Whales will aim directly at a seamount that is 300 miles away, then once they reach it, change course and head to a new feature. It is as if they are slaloming from one geographic feature to the next. They must have acoustic memories analogous to our visual memories," he says.

Among the puzzling questions yet to be answered is exactly what motivates much of whales' long-distance movements. Watching the positions of fin whale singers, males whose songs are highly repetitious and hierarchically organized, Clark sees on his screen a random collection of dots that seem to be moving together coherently through the ocean. "This is not migration. So what is influencing their movement and distribution? Ocean features associated with resources? If so, what are the features they are cuing in on?" Clark asks.

He notes the irony that just as researchers are gaining new ways of understanding the linkages between whales and oceanographic features, what he is hearing is the rising tide of noise from an increasingly urbanizing marine environment, the collective noises from shipping traffic, oil and gas exploration and production, and recreational traffic. And every decade the amount of noise is doubling.

"Many whales have very traditional feeding grounds and their migratory routes occur along shallow coastlines which are now some of the noisiest, most heavily impacted habitats," Clark explains. But often it is along these routes that the male songs are sent long distance to prospective females, who might not receive the message through the "ocean smog."

Says Clark, "If females can no longer hear the singing males through the smog, they lose breeding opportunities and choices. The ocean area over which a whale can communicate and listen today has shriveled down to a small fraction of what it was less than a century ago."

Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.

oCornell Bioacoustics Research Program:


| February release index | | Cornell News Service Home Page |

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hairy Earlobes and the Y Chromosome

Scientists close to deciphering Y chromosome: Will it finally get

The article can be found at this web site:

Description of David Page research on the Y chromosome:

Progress on sequencing chromosomes:

Common ancestor for male Y chromosome:

11 Facts about the Y Chromosome:

An African American Paternal Lineage
Adds an Extremely Ancient Root to the
Human Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Extra Credit Opportunity

Ancient Skull Has both Neanderthal, Modern Characteristics

You can visit this link:

and write 20 facts (complete sentences) from this article, or any of the related articles that are listed with it.