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Monday, April 26, 2010

Gregor Mendel's Punnet Squares

Punnet Square with rabbits

Printable Punnett Worksheet
Printable Introduction, Worksheet, and Quiz
Save to Microsoft word, then open and print worksheet
Save to Microsoft word, then open and print worksheet - a little more difficult.
Example 1

 Example 2
Gregor Mendel first experimented with garden peas, which is a self-pollinating plant.  (The stigma of the flower receives pollen from its own flower.)
"In order to cross-pollinate these plants, Mendel removed the anthers (with pollen). Then, he transferred the pollen from another plant to the stigma of the first plant. He always kept very careful records on these plants.
Mendel noticed that when he allowed pure tall plants to self-pollinate, they always produced pure tall plants. He also noted that dwarf plants which were allowed to self-pollinate produced only dwarf plants. Whenever he crossed a tall plant with a dwarf plant, the first generation was always tall. He said that tallness was a dominant trait and that dwarfness was a recessive trait."  (SOS)
Even though a crossed plant produced a tall plant and looked just like a pure tall plant, it actually was a hybrid.  Two hybrid tall plants will not produce tall plants 100% of the time.
"Genetic Symbols. Inherited traits are controlled by genes. Scientists use letters to represent the genes. Because genes occur in pairs, two letters represent the genes inherited from each parent. A capital letter is used to represent the dominant gene. A small letter is used to represent the recessive gene.
The first letter of the name of a trait is generally used. Mendel's tall peas could be represented by capital T for tall. The dwarf or recessive gene would be little t. Since genes occur in pairs, tall peas could be TT or Tt. TT is purebred for the tall characteristic. Tt is a hybrid for the tall characteristic. Tall plants with TT genes would look exactly like those with Tt, but the recessive gene (t) is hidden. For the plants to be dwarf, both genes must be recessive (tt)." (SOS)
Quotes are from Switched on Schoolhouse, 6th grade lesson "Inheritance."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apologia Physical Science, Module 8, Weather and Its Prediction

Play  Quizlet.  Just scroll down and find the Module you want.  
►How each of these are formed:
hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, blizzards.
►Tips for predicting the weather.
►A recipe for weather. (At the bottom, click on each of the ingredients to learn more.)

1) p. 183, Thunderstorm animation - He goes through it a little fast, but very good.
Watch twice.

2) p. 185, Dew Point and Relative Humidity
"...whenever you see clouds, you know the temperature inside of them and dew point are equal."

3) p. 185, Weather Barometer - high and low pressure
The higher the pressure and humidity, the higher the dew point.

4) p. 186, How to Predict the Weather - from a veteran fisherman and sailor, Jeff Spira. See more videos, some about building boats, at

5) p. 186, Predicting Weather - NASA

6) p. 188, Science Explains Lightning - how the negative charge builds

8) p. 188 - What is lightning? - stepped leaders, return stroke.
Good, but doesn't show the negative and positive charges that are both in the cloud and on land.  See previous video.

9) p. 188, How Lightning Works - Unable to chop at TubeChop, but content relative to Module 8 is from 1:12-3:40.

10) p. 192, Hurricane Ike Forecast
with Joe Bastardi (Bu-STAR-dee)
He talks about where the hurricane may hit.  Around 2:05 minutes, you will see three arrows pointing toward the coast of Texas.  He mentions Corpus Cristi (about where the bottom yellow arrow is) and Brownsville (the very tip of Texas), and that there were fewer people in an area between there.  Hurricane Ike actually ended up hitting at the top green arrow, in Galveston, Tx as you can see in the next video via satellite.

11) p. 192, Hurricane Ike via Satellite, hits Galveston, Texas.
Slow time-lapse video of 4 days.  I recommend hitting play, letting it download while you do something else for a few minutes (watch a video!), then slowly dragging the button across.  You will see that Joe was right about it slowing down. In the warmer waters the hurricane did gain back strength that was lost down to a Category 1 after hitting Cuba.  According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Ike hit land "as a strong Category 2 hurricane, with Category 5 equivalent storm surge."

11) p. 195, Hurricanes and Meteorologists - from NASA

Full Video of the above, plus 2 more:
Ahead Above the Clouds, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

12) p. 195, Hurricane Hunters - NASA.  At 2:40, note the "eye wall" that is mentioned on p. 194 of the text.
My class had to draw and label the graph as it appears around 3:40.

Apologia Physical Science, Module 7, Factors that Affect Earth's Weather

Interactive Study Links
• Create an account and make your own flashcards at!
• How clouds are formed. (interactive)
• An Interactive site about identifying cloud types.
• What is the recipe for weather? (interactive)
Visualizing Seasons - click Continue to Interactive

Other Study Links
Coriolis Effect (experiment) is on p. 87-91 of this NASA Planetary Geology PDF.
Due to additional pages at the beginning of the document and various pages missing here and there, it took me about 3 tries to figure out I needed to type in to print p. 83-87.  
• Hot and Cold (experiment) - looks awesome!  Debbie said, "Nice activity for learning about ocean water/currents or density of air masses."
"Luke Howard: The Man Who Named Clouds" (to read) - the beginning of the classification of clouds.  Really interesting!  Love the "mare's tails" to describe cirrus clouds.
Understanding High and Low Pressures (to read) - great, simple explanation

►For Experiment 7.1, A Long-Term Weather Experiment,
• You can go to and type in your zip code.  Enter the date you need, and read the results to fill in your weather table.
(You may use Debbie's Weather Experiment Data Collection Sheet)
• Barometer pressures for that date will be located at the bottom.  Find the high and low.
(To see what your weather will be, look at the clouds directly overhead.)

To help with cloud identification:
• Cloud ID Chart - concise, with diagram of altitudes, a good starter page
Clouds - simple but thorough, with really good pics

See these and more at Debbie's Educator's Resources.  (Thanks, Debbie!)

(1) p. 157-160, Clouds

►See images for mare's tail clouds.  These cirrus clouds are wispy.  Cirrus clouds are the highest in the sky and are always thin since they are formed by a thin layer of ice crystals.
►See images for "mackerel sky" - which is a sky with cirrucumulous clouds.  These are formed when cirrus clouds begin to clump together and start to descend.

Chopped for relevancy to Module 7.
Full video in Module 8. (original title Predicting Weather from NASA)

Climate & Weather - from NASA

(2) p. 162-166, Earth's Thermal Energy

What Causes Earth's Seasons?

Climate, Seasons, Regions

What doesn't cause earth's seasons?
The seasons are not caused by how far the earth is from the sun.  The earth revolves around the sun in a slightly elliptical path (very slightly oval).  The difference is small enough to not cause any great change in seasons, but the tilt of the earth is enough.
Try holding your hand in front of a light bulb or a strong flashlight for a minute.  Then angle your hand so that part of it is tilted further away from the light.  Feel the difference.

► See image of the angles the sun hits at various points on the earth. (source)
You can see where the sun hits at 90º.

(3) p. 166-167, Latitude and Longitude

Longitude lines

Latitude and Longitude

(4) p. 167-172, Uneven Thermal Energy Distribution


How Weather Occurs - from NASA
"As warm air rises in the atmosphere, it expands and cools." -- adiabatic cooling.

The Coriolis Effect 
This demonstration is like viewing the earth from above, from either pole.

Coriolis Effect Experiment

(5) p. 173-177, Air Masses

►Video about the different types of air masses

Weather Fronts - EXCELLENT!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Apologia Physical Science, Module 6, Earth and the Lithosphere

Interactive Study Links
• Create an account and make your own flashcards at!

Other Study Links
US Earthquake information by state/territory
• How Heat Travels (convection, conduction, radiation)
Convection Current Lab
See these and other links at Debbie's Educator's Resources.  (Thanks, Debbie!)

lith·o·sphere (lith'-ə-sfir') n.
The outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle, approximately 100 km (62 mi.) thick.
Pronunciation and more explicit definition.
  • lithosphere - land
  • atmosphere - air
  • hydrosphere - water
  • biosphere - life

(1) p. 131-133, The Lithosphere

Animation - Inside the Earth

(2) p. 133-136, The Mantle

What exactly is non-Newtonian fluid?  Why is it called that?
(This video calls it "oobleck" for fun, after the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  Full length video here.)

Non-Newtonian fluid - This illustrates how Plastic Rock behaves under pressure.

(3) p. 137-143, The Earth's Core

Magnetic Field Reversals

(4) p. 143b-147, Plate Tectonics

Plate Movement

(5) p. 147-150, Earthquakes

Earthquake Destruction - shows plates

Earthquakes under the ocean can cause tsunamis.
Tsunamis can reach up to 600 mph.

Tsunami Demonstration.
Watch how the water recedes at the shoreline before the Tsunami wave comes.

(6) 150-152, Mountains and Volcanoes

"Volcanic mountains are protrusions of lava that are basically zits on the surface of the earth..."  HAHAHA!

                                                                                          zit! ↑ haha!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Apologia Physical Science, Module 5, The Hydrosphere

Interactive Study Links
• Create an account and make your own flashcards at!

Other Study Links
Simulating the Water Cycle - in place of Exp. 5.1, my class will be doing this one at home.
Hydrogen Bonding Property of Ice
See these and more at Debbie's Educator's Resources.  (Thanks, Debbie!)

hy·dro·sphere hi'-drə-sfir n.
1. The waters of the earth's surface as distinguished from those of the lithosphere and the atmosphere.
2. The water vapor in the earth's atmosphere.
  • lithosphere - land
  • atmosphere - air
  • hydrosphere - water
  • biosphere - life

(1) p. 105-106, Introduction
-Hydrosphere:  the sum total of all water on a planet  
(Do not confuse this word with homosphere or heterosphere, which are layers of the atmosphere.) 
Earth System Science - from NASA

(2) p. 107-113, The Parts of the Hydrosphere and the Hydrologic Cycle


Evaporation and Condensation

Hydrologic Cycle

Haha!  "Son, it's time to join the hydrologic cycle."

(3) p. 114-116, The Ocean

What could one do if they were in a place that only had undrinkable saltwater?
Watch this video to find out.

This experiment looks so interesting!
I can see that one glass has "high salinity" written on the label, so I'm assuming the other is low/no salinity. What I don't know is if either of the glasses hold warm or cool water, and what kind of water is in the dish.
It would be a true experiment to try different combinations, being sure to change only one variable at a time.

What do different measures of salinity or of temperature have to do with ocean currents?
Watch this video to find out.

(4) p. 116b-120, Glaciers and Icebergs

►See image: tip of the iceberg

• What is the difference between glaciers and icebergs?
• Are they made of freshwater or saltwater?
• What is sea ice?

Every iceberg starts as a glacier.
Since the temperature decreases the higher you go, many mountains in the troposphere contain snow year round.  The weight of new snow each year keeps packing down the snow under it,  and the snow at the bottom becomes dense and icy.  That hard layer is called a firn.  (like firm!)  This is how glaciers are formed.
Glaciers eventually slide down the mountain (slowly), and as they get to warmer areas, they will begin to melt and contribute to many freshwater sources.
But in polar regions, there are no warm areas, so glaciers will not melt.  When they slide all the way down, they project out into the sea, making an ice shelf.  Eventually they can move out into the sea far enough to float.  When large chunks of ice break away from a glacier, they are called icebergs.  This breaking away is sometimes referred to as "calving" like a cow having a baby!

So... since glaciers and icebergs are originally made from snow, if a piece was melted would it be freshwater or saltwater?
Hint:  Snow falls from the sky... And when water evaporates from anywhere on earth, including from the ocean, salt does not evaporate with it.  (It would need to be at least 800º Celcius for that to happen!  According to Kyle's Converter, that is 1,472º F!!!)
Per an email from Apologia:
"Salt doesn't evaporate from the ocean because there isn't enough energy to allow that to happen. In order to evaporate, a given molecule needs a certain amount of energy. The energy needed for water to evaporate is available at room temperature. However, since the ions in salt are so strongly attracted to each other, it takes a LOT more energy to evaporate salt. That energy begins to be available at about 800 degrees Celsius. Thus, salt cannot evaporate at the temperatures the ocean experiences near its surface."

Sea ice on the other hand is different than glaciers and icebergs.
Sea ice is frozen ocean water.
As ice freezes, it ceases to hydrogen bond.  But it is still "stuck" together in a frozen state.  And as it freezes, salt molecules get trapped inside the ice.  So it isn't frozen saltwater, since the molecules of salt are no longer "dissolved."  However, if you melted a chunk of sea ice, the salt and water would re-dissolve as it melted.
Interesting note:  Water begins to expand at 39.2º.  So it doesn't wait until it is at its freezing point.  It would be strange if it suddenly expanded right at freezing.

(5) p. 120b-122a, Groundwater and Soil Moisture

The amount of water on the earth today is the same amount as it has been for thousands of years.
Water is cycled over and over.  Water cannot "grow" from a source.  It comes from the ground or sky, but it got there from going through different processes of the hydrologic cycle.
Sometimes there is a drought in certain areas, and the people living in those areas need to be very careful for awhile with the amounts of water they use.

(6) p. 122-123a, Surface Water

Sources of freshwater:
  • icebergs
  • glaciers
  • groundwater
  • lakes
  • rivers
  • ponds
  • streams
But not all ponds and lakes are sources of freshwater.

(7) p. 123-126, Atmospheric Moisture

►Video - How Clouds Form

Making a Cloud in a Bottle  Vapor attaches to tiny smoke particles, just as vapor attaches to particles in the atmosphere to form clouds.  When heated, liquids usually expand and become a gas.  But adiabatic cooling is cooling (not heating) of a gas when that gas expands.  The cooling caused some of the water vapor in the bottle to condense on the smoke particles.  This made the cloud.

►Another video if you want to watch it.

How Weather Occurs - from NASA

Good to watch this again after learning about clouds in Module 7.

Satellite Image Time Lapse of Cloud Movement
From September 23 - October 16, 2005.  The dates are in the corner.  Watch the clouds swirl as they are moved about by the Coriolis effect as the earth rotates (module 7), and as they are pushed by weather fronts.

(8) p. 126b-127, Water Pollution

I didn't find a good video for this section.