Monday, November 24, 2008

Lorenzo's Oil

We are watching this film for two main reasons.

First, the movie is a great example of how science works. It shows how people use science to create solutions by identifying a problem, testing hypotheses, reviewing scientific literature, doing experiments, analyzing data and drawing conclusions.

The other reason we are watching is to learn a bit about the nervouse system and the biology of how enzymes and organic molecules such fatty acids are crucial to our health.

As you watch Lorenzo's Oil answer the following questions, and come up with some questions of your own.

1. Lorenzo begins to experience problems at school and at home. What symptoms of the disease first appear?

2. What medical tests are done to try to diagnose Lorenzo’s condition?

3. When the doctor finally diagnoses Lorenzo’s disease, how does he describe Lorenzo’s prognosis to Michaela and Augusto?

4. From which parent did Lorenzo inherit his disease?

5. Explain what kinds of molecules are causing Lorenzo’s disease:

6. What is myelin?

7. Explain how damaged myelin could cause Lorenzo’s symptoms.

8. When the Odones enroll Lorenzo in the first study, what kinds of foods is Lorenzo NOT allowed to eat?

9. When Lorenzo does not get good results from the diet in this study, what do Lorenzo’s parents believe might be happening? Describe what Augusto means when he uses the analogy of a sink with two faucets.

10. How does taking “Lorenzo’s Oil” stop Lorenzo’s symptoms from getting worse?

11. Once Lorenzo in on “Lorenzo’s Oil” why doesn’t he regain many of the abilities he had before he got the disease?

12. Describe at least three things that Lorenzo’s parents did to try to find a cure for adenoleukodystrophy even though the doctors said there is no cure for it?

13. This movie is based on a true story. The real Lorenzo lived much longer than the doctors predicted. In fact, he died in 2008 the day after his 30th birthday. What do you think about what Michaela and Augusto Odone did for their son and the other boys who suffer from ALD?

14. Michaela and Augusto were not doctors or professional scientists. What skills and attitudes did they have which enabled them to help their son?

15. Write a short movie review: Explain why and how much you liked or disliked the movie. Would you recommend the movie to a friend? Do you think the movie was appropriate for a high school biology class?

For more information about ALD and Myelin go to the Myelin Project at

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sci Fair Presentation Board or PowerPoint due 11/25 - 11/26

The last day I will accept overdue science fair papers is 11/26/08. This is more than a week after the actual deadline and over a month after the paper was assigned.

As assigned back in October, your science fair presentation board or PowerPoint presentation is due on 11/25 or 11/26 depending on which day you have biology.

Use the Science Fair Board Layout guide you received at the beginning of this project and use all the work you did on your paper to create your board or powerpoint. If you typed your paper as required you can create your board or PowerPoint easily by cutting and pasting the appropriate parts of your paper. If you hand-wrote your paper, use your rough draft or copy of your paper to create your board or PowerPoint.

Remember, if you worked on your experiment with a partner, unless you made arrangements ahead of time, each person must turn in a paper and do a board, a PowerPoint and present your project to the class.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Science Fair Paper Due week of Nov. 17th

Use the Science Fair Guide and Rubric to make sure your science fair paper is ready to go. Proof-read it, read it aloud, have a friend proof read it. Check your sentences for capitalization and punctuation. Check for sentence fragments and run-ons. Spell-check your document and look up any words you aren't sure of. Make sure each sentence actually makes sense and gets your ideas through.

Make sure you get as many points as possible on each section. You can still e-mail me if you have any questions, or want me to make comments on your rough draft.

Remember, the paper must by typed and you can turn it in on paper or e-mail it to me as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or plain text file (txt) . If you e-mail me, be sure to include your FULL name, class period, and "sci fair paper" in the SUBJECT line of your e-mail. Be sure to sign your e-mail with your full name and class period.

Also, SAVE A COPY of your paper so you can start to work on your science fair presentation board or PowerPoint presentation which is due the week of November 25th.