High School Biology-Chemistry SMILE Meeting
23 October 2001
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Lee Slick (Morgan Park HS)
Lee came dressed as a wizard! He poured a clear liquid from one flask into another containing clear liquid --- the result was a pink liquid!  Then, he poured the pink liquid into a third flask containing a clear liquid--the result was a clear liquid.  Lee had been demonstrating pH Indicators.  He did not address the question of the difference between a witch and a warlock, however.  For a discussion of that topic, see http://mysticinvestigations.com/paranormal/whats-the-difference-between-witches-warlocks-wizards-sorcerers/ and http://hometown.aol.com/divadelaluna/.

Carolyn McGee and Carolyn McBride (Manierre School)
were the dynamic duo who used a variety of different-sized pumpkins to illustrate nutrition facts about pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables.  They passed out activity sheets that guided investigation of different pumpkins.  We were given plastic gloves, and we cut the pumpkins in order to see how many seeds there were, and what kinds, in different pumpkins.  There are hundreds of websites concerning pumpkins; for example, see http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/pumpkins/nutrition.html and http://www.pumpkinnook.com/facts/nutrition.htm.

In cutting the pumpkins open and counting the seeds, we notice that the seeds are arranged inside the pumpkin in an organized manner, which probably reflects the structure of the ovary of the female flowers.  Here are the numbers for pumpkin seeds:

Tiny Pumpkin 100 seeds
Medium Pumpkin 350 seeds
Medium Pumpkin 405 seeds
Large Pumpkin 510 seeds

Robert McBride (Fuller School) First-time mini-teacher
Rob led a discussion of genetic molecules, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). We generated the following list of words that we felt to be related to these molecules:

heredity, genes, proteins, cells, blueprints, double helix

Rob added the words chromosome and nucleus to the list.  

Rob asked us to role-play 13 year olds, and to make a color drawing of what one of these objects might look like. Rob supplied us with glue, paper, markers, colored pencils, scissors, etc.  We then compared our drawings with  the objects themselves.  Some of the answers were accurate (drawings of double helix, cell, nucleus), whereas others were vague (printing in "blue" for "blueprint", for example).

Notes taken by Ben Stark and Barbara Pawela