__May 20, 2012__
Sorry for the lack of an update this past week. With Mother's Day on Sunday, and also two baseball practices to run, a t-ball game, and a soccer game for my kids on Saturday I just ran out of time to get my post written! Anyway, I'll recap last week, tell you about the current week, and let you know about the events of next week all in this post.

__Events of the Past Week__
Monday - We discussed the organs of the digestive system last Monday. We went through the alimentary canal first (the organs through which food passes), and then through the role of the accessory organs (those organs through which food does not pass).

Tuesday - We spent time reviewing the organs of the digestive system to prepare for our quiz on Wednesday.

Wednesday - We took our quiz on the digestive system. The quiz included a 5 question portion on the pigs where I had a picture of a pig's abdominal cavity that had been dissected, and asked the kids a few questions about the organs shown. My hope was that this would prepare them for the lab practical that we took this week a little bit better. When they were done with the quiz, the students were given the dissection guide for the circulatory system. Homework was to read the lab.

Thursday - We did our heart dissection on Thursday. This took about 35 minutes, so after the students had completed the dissection, they were given time to work on the questions in the lab. Homework was to finish the lab questions.

Friday - We did our final pig dissection on Friday. This dissection was of the respiratory and urinary systems. The students did a good job finding the larynx, trachea, lungs, diaphragm, kidneys, ureters, and urinary bladder. After they completed the dissection and cleaned up, they were given time to work on the lab questions. Homework was to finish those questions.

__This Week's Events__
Monday - We took the pigs out one last time on Monday. The students were given the opportunity to ask questions of me (if they had any) and quiz their lab partners on the parts of the pig and their functions. Most students made good use of this time, but there were a few who did not, and it showed for some of them who did not on the lab practical the next day. I also showed the students a good virtual pig dissection website they could use to study from home for the lab practical (since I assumed most of you did not want a preserved pig on your dining room tables Monday night!).

Tuesday - We took the lab practical on Tuesday. There were 9 stations set up around the room. The students were given one minute at each station to answer 3 questions about the pig in front of them. At the end of one minute, they rotated to the next station to answer the next 3 questions.

Homework was to do the first page of a study guide on the circulatory system.

Wednesday - We reviewed the results of the lab practical. Many students did well. Lab practicals are notoriously difficult, so I was pleased with the results, as most students earned A's or B's on the practical. After reviewing our results, we did two activities related to the circulatory system. One of them involved learning to read an electrocardiogram, and the other was a crossword puzzle with circulatory system vocabulary. Homework was to complete the second page of the circulatory system study guide they had received on Tuesday.

Thursday - We went over the circulatory system study guide together, and then completed a few worksheets related to the circulatory system. Homework was to complete a respiratory system study guide that went along with the textbook.

Friday - We reviewed the results of the respiratory system homework, then took a circulatory system quiz. The quiz was not taken for a grade, but to to help the students and me determine what it is about the circulatory system that the kids need me to help them learn and what they have already figured out. Afterwards, we began to go through some of the information about the circulatory system that I expect the students to know.

__Upcoming Events__

Monday - We will finish learning about the circulatory system as well as the respiratory and urinary systems. The students have a packet to help them take notes on the circulatory system, and most of the other two systems notes will be a quick review of what we have already learned during dissection lab and worksheets.

Tuesday - We will review for our test on the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and urinary systems.

Wednesday - The students will take a 75 question multiple choice anatomy and physiology test. Homework will be to complete and introduction to ecology worksheet.

Thursday - We will review the results of the anatomy and physiology test. Then we will go over the homework from the previous night. Finally, we will begin our ecology unit in earnest by reading aloud an article called "A View From the Top of the Food Pyramid." After that, we will do an activity that will have the students look at how energy moves through an ecosystem, which they will finish for homework.

Friday - I will collect from the students their homework on energy flow in ecosystems. Then we will work on a case study to introduce the concepts of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. It is called "Tuna for Lunch," and the students will examine what happens to toxins such as mercury as they pass from one level of a food chain to the next. Your kids should be able to tell you the distinction between bioaccumulation and biomagnification after doing this activity. One neat memory trick that a student came up with last year was a rhyme that went something like, "Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism is single, biomagnification occurs when organisms mingle." That will make more sense to you after you ask your kids to explain the distinction if you don't already know what those two terms mean! Homework will be to finish the biomagnification activity.

__Geek of the Week__
This week's Geek of the Week is Ryan Moran, who earned a perfect score on his Fetal Pig Lab Practical. The lab practical test is one of the most challenging of the year, and to earn a perfect score is quite a feat! Also earning perfect scores, but I believe having already won Geek of the Week this year, were Christina Miller, Patrick Chen, and Jennie Yang. Way to go!