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I learned a lot about monarchs even though I have had caterpillars turn to monarchs in elementary and middle school. One of the most shocking things I learned this semester about caterpillars is that their gender is not determined until they become a butterfly. When the caterpillar does become a monarch, you can tell the gender of a male monarch in the fact that it has broader wing veins, a different abdomen from a female monarch, and has an extra black spot on their hind wings.
From my previous knowledge I knew that caterpillars eat a lot, but I did not know that they eat up to 27,000 times their body weight so that the caterpillar has enough energy to complete metamorphosis (Monarch research slideshow).The whole monarch project was exciting and really made it so that everyone learned a lot about the caterpillars and what they do and eat, metamorphosis and how it works, and the monarch and what it does when it is released.
When we all went to Rockford, Iowa to dig for fossils, I learned that most of Iowa was an ocean many years ago making most of the fossils that we found sea creatures or plants. The main thing that I learned in Rockford when we dug for fossils was not actually about the fossil digging. I learned how to take very good notes about the fossils I found. Because I was taught this semester about how to take good notes, I could see the notes about the fossils and remember what that specific fossil was based on the drawing of the fossil, and the description of the fossil.
My biggest takeaway from the whole experience in Rockford was that it is very crucial to take specific notes. This helps not only in science, but in other subjects and aspects of life.
Personally I did not agree with everything in Your Inner Fish, but I did learn that there are some similarities between fish and humans. The bones in the fin of a fish have the same structure as a human. However, I don’t think that because we have the same bone structure as a fish that means that we evolved from them (YIF reflection). It was quite interesting to see how the idea that we evolved from fish has only little proof, yet some people in the film made it seem so convincing that we did in fact evolve from fish.
The M&Ms lab was an experiment that I have done in middle school, but when we did it this semester, I learned more in depth about the purpose of the lab. The goal of the experiment was to see which color M&M would have the highest survival rate. My hypothesis was that the green and brown M&Ms would have the highest survival rate because they could camouflage with the grass and dirt. The yellow M&Ms on the other hand, couldn’t camouflage with anything on the ground, giving them the lowest survival rate (M&Ms lab). I thought that this experiment was a good way to look at how the world actually works in the sense that organisms that can camouflage with their surroundings tend to have a higher chance of survival compared to organisms that can’t camouflage with their surroundings.
I had never learned about the Galapagos Island finches until this semester. Some things that I learned were that different types of finches use their beaks for different things like eating certain foods. If a finch had a smaller beak, it could eat the seeds. But if a finch had a bigger beak, it could eat the cactuses. Because of the drought and rainy years, a lot of finches died because in the drought years, the finches could only eat from the cactuses, and in the rainy years the finches could only eat the seeds. I thought that it was very interesting that the finches all came from one common finch and then adapted to different environments (Beaks as finches).
The toxic ecosystems unit really opened my eyes as to what really happens to the ocean life when we put so much plastic in it. I learned that plastics in the ocean work like magnets meaning that the fish are attracted to the plastics, eat them, and ultimately kill them. There is a whole food web leading from the pollutant to a small fish to a bigger fish to us. Some pollutants are toxic even to humans which is why we should definitely stop putting plastics in the ocean. The video about the birds at Midway Island that die because there is so much washed up plastic that they eat was a very good reminder about the plastic problem that we are going through. Seeing the birds being dissected and seeing all the plastic that filled and killed the birds was very sad. I had known about the plastic in the ocean problem that the world was facing, however, I had no idea that it was this bad. I found the video about the Midway Island birds to be very eye opening and motivational (Toxic Ecosystems video).
I knew very little about photosynthesis coming and absolutely nothing about cellular respiration coming into this semester. The few things that I previously knew about photosynthesis were that photosynthesis makes oxygen, and that plants need oxygen. I learned that plants not only make oxygen, but they also make glucose which is a sugar. With cellular respiration I learned that ATP energy is adenosine triphosphate which is nucleic acid. I did not know that all cells containing mitochondria have to make ATP. ADP on the other hand is adenosine diphosphate. I didn’t know that eukaryotic cells are plant and animal cells. I also learned that cellular respiration breaks glucose. One surprising thing that I learned during the cellular respiration and photosynthesis unit was that phosphate plus ADP equals ATP synthase. With fermentation I learned that aerobic requires oxygen whereas anaerobic does not. Some anaerobic examples are yeast and bacteria. I learned what fermentation actually is because I hadn’t known before this semester. It is the process of making ATP without oxygen. An example of alcoholic fermentation is yeast, and an example of lactic acid fermentation is muscle cells. The ATP cycle has three steps. The first is the cyclic biochemical process. The second is the phosphorylation of ADP and hydrolysis of ATP. The final step is that the ATP cycle releases energy stored in phosphoanhydride bond. I also had not previously known until this semester that endothermic means to put energy in and exothermic means to get energy out. I think I learned the most during the cellular respiration and photosynthesis unit this semester because I had next to none previous knowledge on the topics (Photosynthesis and cellular respiration reflections). The cellular respiration part helped me to learn what certain cells are and what they do. The photosynthesis part helped me to compare the differences between cellular respiration and photosynthesis.
During the Lorax unit this semester I didn’t learn a lot of new things compared to the other units, but I did learn more deeply about the whole story. The main new thing that I learned is what ecology is. Ecology is a study of animal and plant populations, animal and plant ecosystems, and animal and plant communities. I had seen the Lorax movie many many times, and when we watched it in class this semester for the first time I went into it thinking that it was going to be boring because I had seen it so many times in previous years. However when we started the project, I realized how in depth the movie actually is. The Lorax is not only for children, but also for adults because of how much it shows what really needs to change with the world today. My favorite part of the project was making the solution to the problem in The Lorax. Making the solution gave everyone a lot of ideas on how to change the world for the better and what we can do now in order to do so. The project gave us a lot of wiggle room so that we could all have different solutions instead of just one or a few. By each of us in the class making a different solution, it shows that in the real world we can all come up with solutions to change the world for good. This was my favorite project this semester in foundations of biology because I could see the change from before the Once-ler came to the gricklegrass ecosystem, to after the Once-ler destroyed the gricklegrass ecosystem, to finally what I would do with the truffula seed in order to save the ecosystem.
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