Biology-Chemistry High School SMILE Meeting
11 April 2000
Notes Taken by Therese Donatello

                   OUR NEXT MEETING...
...will be May 2, 2000 <---NOTE!! 4:15 p.m. 152 Life Sciences Bldg AT OUR LAST MEETING (Mar 11)...

Pam Moy (Morgan Park HS)
gave us a handout titled "All About Mike." Mike (circa 1945) was a chicken with its head cut off that didn't seem to miss his head, and behaved pretty much like any other chicken, except feeding and watering was done with an eyedropper. He lived 18 months in good health, going from 2.5 lb to about 8 lb! See the website for details. Interesting biology here, about how this was possible. Thanks, Pam!

Karlene Joseph (Lane Tech HS)
gave us each a Count Chocula cereal box. The box had pictures on it, and came with glasses. When we looked at the box through the glasses, the pictures appeared 3D. But then she showed us some colored squares drawn on a paper with neon markers. Using the glasses, we observed that some of the colors seemed to come out in front of other colors, and especially when they overlapped. Green, aqua and pink seemed to stand out more than others. And which ones stood out seemed to depend on the particular combination of colors. Colors seemed to reverse their "standing out" behavior when comparing the neon marker drawings with the cereal box pictures. Much discussion, and speculation on possible wavelength dependence of these phenomena. Fascinating! Can anyone explain this?

Brian Cagle (Cook School)
put us to work in small groups. Each group received about 15 donuts, and then had to devise a way to put the donuts into groups based upon characteristics; eg - with or without holes. Then each of these groups were broken down into other categories. (handout) Examples of categories: chocolate, icing, double chocolate, swirl, jelly, custard, oblong, round, powdered sugar, etc. From this, a key could be made with these properties:

Different groups could then compare their keys and discuss their merits. A tasty way to learn to define distinctions and define catagories of objects - and analogous to development of classification schemes for living things! Very nice!

Marva Anyanwu (Green School)
gave us some peanut M&Ms and chocolate M&Ms and a handout dealing with isotopes and atomic mass. We first sorted the M&Ms of both kinds into piles by color. Then we assigned a mass of 4 to each red peanut and 1 for each red chocolate. The red corresponds to a certain element or atom, while the peanut and chocolate varieties represent different isotopes of that red atom.

If we have, say, 2 peanut and 2 chocolate red M&Ms in a pile together, then the atomic mass of that mixture of peanut and chocolate "isotopes" of the red "atoms" will be

(2x4 + 2x1)/4 = 10/4 = 2.5.
We proceeded on to green M&Ms, with the peanut variety of green having a mass of 4 and the chocolate a mass of 3. If we had a mixture of 2 of each of those "isotopes" of the green "atoms" the atomic mass would be
(2x4 + 2x3)/4 = 14/4 = 3.5;
so students will come to understand why atomic masses don't come out as integers for a mixture of different isotopes of the same kind of atom. A nicely drawn analogy which clarifies the concept of atomic mass. Quite pretty!