Thursday, January 26, 2012

Second Semester Begins with CELLS!

What are cells? Who discovered them? Why do they matter? What are they made of? How do they work? What happens when they don't work right?

These are all questions we will be investigating during our Cells unit.

We're starting out with the film "The Cell - The Hidden Kingdom" which shows how cells were first discovered in the 1600s.  The website for the film is  and you can watch it in 10 minute chunks on YouTube here or you can search for "The Cell The Hidden Kingdom." (the YouTube link will not work in school because CPS blocks YouTube, but you can watch it outside of school.)
The Cell - The Hidden Kingdom - photo from BBC website. 

It traces the work of Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Hooke, Robert Brown, Joseph Lister, Theodore Schwann, Matthias Schleiden, Rudolph Virchow, Luis Pasteur, Robert Remak and others as they discovered that all living things are made of cells and that all cells come from other cells.

Van Leeuwenhoek's single lens microscopes were the most powerful for over a century after his death.
image from

Here is a link to Robert Hooke's book, Micrographia you can click on the links to the right of the test in the e-book to see the amazing drawings that Hooke created.

Hooke's drawing of the face of a housefly from Micrographia. Image from

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Macromolecules - Lipids, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Nucleic Acids

Certain types of Macromolecules (a.k.a. Big Molecules) such as Lipids, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Nucleic Acids are the building blocks that make up all cells in all living things.

These special molecules each have certain characteristics which allow them to perform unique functions in cells that, in turn, allow cells to function.

Since humans are living things which are made up of cells, our bodies must either ingest (eat) or synthesize (put together) these special macromolecules in order to stay healthy.

The following links are to articles that relate to health issues that arise from imbalances in these macromolecules.


When Being Overweight is a Health Problem

Five Ways to Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity in Children and Adolescents: Facts for Families


Click on THIS LINK to see an animation about diabetes and its relationship to carbohydrates

Type 2 Diabetes: What is it? 

Teens with Diabetes: Chicago Tribune,0,5075500.story 

Teen Diabetes: Kaboose. com