To start off the semester in biology, we closed on our genetics unit by learning all we could about DNA. We discussed the history of its discovery, what it looks like and what it does as the “blueprint” for life. Then we used supplies that can be found at home to extract the DNA from a strawberry. It did not look at all like they expected it to, but it was a great success! While some were unconvinced of what they were looking at, all were impressed! We also played Codon Bingo to practice translating that genetic code into a useful protein, just like our cells do all the time.
Next, we started discussing natural selection of populations and the history of life on Earth. Lots of questions have come up and we are all excited to be starting this new unit. We learned that the ancestors of whales walked on land, bird beaks may change shape over generations based on the food supply, all humans used to have dark skin, and elephants without tusks survive better than those that have tusks. We are currently working our way through a simulation to discover how the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria occurs. All of these are examples of how species change over time.