Biology-Chemistry High School SMILE Meeting
01 February 2000
Notes Prepared by Earl Zwicker

Therese Donatello (St Edwards School) reviewed skeletal/bone issues; eg. hemoglobin from marrow, hinged joints (like a door), gliding joints (vertebrae), ball & socket (thigh/hip). They need attachment. How are they held together, and how do they work? (handout) We then used an index card, paper clip, two pieces of string and some tape to build a model of the leg/foot interaction. We discovered that when the muscle (string) in front of the "ankle" contracts, the one behind stretches (and vice versa). A simple but effective way to build understanding!

Zoris Soderberg (Webster School) began with a hard boiled egg and a narrow-neck bottle. How to get the egg inside? Drop a small chunk of burning paper into the bottle, place the egg in the neck, and when the heated air in the bottle cools, air pressure inside becomes less than atmospheric pressure outside, forcing the egg into the bottle! Discussion pointed out that atmospheric pressure changes force the air to move from high to low pressure regions - producing wind - and weather!

Next, Zoris set a paper cylinder (made from a tea bag) on one end on the table and lighted the top end. When the flame reached the bottom, the ash remaining rose up 4 - 5 feet into the air! The rising column of hot air (convection current) - produced by the heat from the flame - carried the ash upward. An example of air motion (wind) produced by temperature differences (local heating).

Finally, Zoris showed us a capped plastic pop bottle containing water, oil, and some beads. The water was colored with a dye. When she tipped the bottle, one could see the swirling motions of water and oil, carrying beads along. A "poor man's Lava Lamp" - and showing fluid motions and turbulence - not unlike fluid motions of the atmosphere. A nice set of experiments to show us some atmospheric/weather science!

Chuck Buzek (Spry School) gave us hands-on insight into evolution. He gave 5 jars out, one for each of 5 groups, each jar with 40 white beans and 40 red beans. (The beans represented genes, with red as dominant.) He had us remove two beans at a time from our jar (without looking!), and record the number of times that we got RR, Rw, or ww. We got 9-22-10. Chuck then had us take the 10 ww's and put them into an "eliminate" cup - representing elimination of non-dominant gene combinations. Next, we combined the remaining 9-22 (RR-Rw) and repeated the process. Enlightening! We could "see" evolution happening!

Fascinating stuff! Don't miss the next one! SEE YOU THERE!