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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2008,20:11   

Steve suggested over on the BW that I open a thread to blog about the Biology course I'm taking in my first semester in college.  Here it is.

A little about the course:

It's Bio 111, with a lab, and it's the first course along my way to a Biology Education degree.  

The instructor, who I'll just name "Doc" for now, earned his bachelor's at Ohio State, his master's at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his PhD at North Carolina State.  Along the way, he taught various places, including at Coastal.  He's been teaching there for (if I recall correctly) 22 years or so.

The text we're using is Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reese et al, and the lab manual is Biology, Ninth Edition, by Sylvia S. Mader.

I have the lecture at 8:00 AM on MWF, and the lab is Mondays from 11:00 to 2:00.

Monday's lecture was mostly course introduction, reviewing the syllabus, that sort of thing.  With a bit of time left in the class period, Doc opened the floor to questions.  I asked him about his background, and hence the biographical content above.

Monday's lab consisted of some discussion of the Scientific Method, evidence, and making observations, creating hypotheses, predictions, and testing, and making conclusions.  There was more than a little stress placed on the idea that in Science, we don't prove things, we disprove them or we say that evidence supports our conclusions.  A lot of that discussion can be found in various forms all over this board, or at your friendly neighborhood Science blog or ScienceBlog.

We then played some cards.  Specifically, we did a class demonstration of a game called Eleusis.

The idea of the game is to demonstrate the Scientific Method in a way that students can relate to it.

One person is designated "Nature".  Nature draws a small envelope from a larger one, and inside the smaller envelope there is a rule for a sequence of cards.  The rule might be "Black Red Black Red" or "2,4,6,8" or something having to do with the four suits of cards.  Each of the smaller envelopes contains a different rule, and each is numbered (ie. Rule #6)

Nature picks two cards out of the deck and lays them on the desk to begin the sequence.

The other members of the group then make their initial observation of the first two cards and form a joint hypothesis about the rule (writing it down of course).  They then find a card in the deck to test their hypothesis, and hand the card to Nature, who places is either next in the sequence if it fits the rule, or perpendicular to the last card that fit the sequence if it does not.  The group then observes the "test result" and progresses from there until they are confident they have figured out the rule.

One thing Doc really stressed was that Nature was to remain absolutely silent, never ever giving the rule.  Not during the process, not when the group is sure they have it, not during the comparisons later, not ever.  The idea being of course, that Nature really doesn't ever tell us if we're right.  There is no right.  There is only supported or not supported by the evidence.

After the class demonstration, the class broke into three or four smaller groups and each group played this game for some time.

Afterwards, each group sent a representative up to the board to write down their theories about the rules.  It sort of mimicked a portion of the post-peer review experiment replication process, in that each group was repeating the exact same experiments and then comparing results.

None of the groups finished all ten rules.  There was overlap on many of the rules that were completed, and in some, all the groups got the same answer.  In others, there were two or three groups that had different answers for the same rule.

We then discussed what happens in Science when one group of scientists does an experiment, but other scientists get differing results from the same experiment.  It seemed to be very instructive to the class.  They got it.

Moving on, cross posting from the BW, here are my notes and thoughts from this morning's lecture:

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 20 2008,11:24)
Great introductory bio lecture this morning.  Living vs. nonliving stuff, hierarchies, stressing on evidence, that sort of thing.

One thing Doc really spent some time on was the difficulty in defining life, and how any definition of life has to encompass so much.

Some notes:

Over the thin skin of the earth, the only place we know for sure that life exists, we've documented and catalogued:

over 350,000 species of plants, over a million species of animals (BEETLES!!!), and thousands upon thousands of fungi, protists, bacteria.  Given that we have documented about 1.8 million species of life, here's some context:

That's life on earth now.
Water covers 70+% of the surface area and 99% of the volume of the known biosphere.  We've explored perhaps 5% of that.
Over 95%, and perhaps as much as 99% of all species ever are now extinct.
Earth is a dust mote in the context of the cosmos

Any definition of life would have to cover the species we know, the species that are extinct, the species that live in the vast majority of the Earth we haven't even been to, and then still cover any life we might find elsewhere.

Holy crap, that really is overwhelming in that context.

He also mentioned Justice Potter Stewart's famous quote about pornography from the 1964 Jacobellis v. Ohio case, "I know it when I see it".  It was an interesting aside.

Another interesting note from today's lecture:

Discussing the definition of Science, our working definition is 'an evidence-based way of learning about the natural world'.

and allow me this little quote on the subject of evidence, from my prof:

"...not just because it's written in a book somewhere."

Dogs and cats came up in the context of heredity, and I imagine that it wasn't accidental.  Sort of the wind up for the pitch to follow later, I think.

I'm loving my Biology class, in case anyone couldn't tell.


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Timothy McDougald



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 20 2008,22:03   

Brilliant! I'm going to have to see if I can find that game.

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,05:07   

Quote (afarensis @ Aug. 20 2008,23:03)
Brilliant! I'm going to have to see if I can find that game.

The only thing you really need are several decks of regular playing cards, a large manila envelope, several small manila envelopes, and little strips of paper for the rules. Just print them out and cut them up.

Doc had a really big set of cards for the class demonstration to make it easy for everyone to see.  They were probably about 12" X 18" or something.  Instead of placing them on the desk, he used magnets to put them up on the white board.

Also, it works best if there is a minimum group size of four.  Then each person takes a turn at being Nature.

I have to wonder if there might even be an electronic version.

Hey, there's a Wikipedia entry, even.

ETA:More info about the game, and a page with the rules

ETAA: Also, when writing the rules remember to keep it simple.  Each rule should only play on one variable, and the variables were restricted to suit, value, and color.  So


Quote
Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, Clubs, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, Hearts


or

Quote
Each card increases by two: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Q, A, 3, 5, 7,...


or

Quote
Red, Red, Black, Black, Red, Red, Black, Black


would be good rules for the demonstration.

ETAAA: We just let the group pick the card out from the deck and hand it to Nature, who did the placing of the card, rather than the way the rules on that page state.

Also there was no hint from Nature.  Nature was not to speak at all (mimicking real Nature, who NEVER gives hints), not even saying "correct" or "incorrect".  Even after the lab was over, we didn't know which rules the different groups got right or wrong.

Edited by Lou FCD on Aug. 21 2008,06:23

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Reciprocating Bill



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,07:45   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 21 2008,06:07)
   
Quote (afarensis @ Aug. 20 2008,23:03)
Brilliant! I'm going to have to see if I can find that game.

The only thing you really need are several decks of regular playing cards, a large manila envelope, several small manila envelopes, and little strips of paper for the rules. Just print them out and cut them up...

Reminiscent of the Wisconsin card sort, used in neuropsychological testing. A task very sensitive to particular forms of brain damage, esp. to the frontal lobes, which mediate executive functioning.

The subject is presented cards (created for the purpose) and required to deduce a rule governing their classification, which is indicated by which of two piles each card is placed in. The rule is generally quite simple.

Once the subject is consistently employing the rule to predict where each card will be placed, the rule changes. Suddenly, some of their answers are wrong.  

The measure is how long the subject persists in applying the old rule, which no longer works, before deducing the new one. Persons with frontal brain damage often deduce the original rule quickly, but persist in applying it long after it has ceased to be appropriate.

(WAD? Behe? Meyers? Step over here...)

ETA: You go, Lou.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

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J-Dog



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,08:07   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Aug. 21 2008,07:45)
The measure is how long the subject persists in applying the old rule, which no longer works, before deducing the new one. Persons with frontal brain damage often deduce the original rule quickly, but persist in applying it long after it has ceased to be appropriate.

(WAD? Behe? Meyers? Step over here...)

ETA: You go, Lou.

How embarrassing for them - and perceptive of you to notice this!

The entire ID charade, and their entire careers and lives summed up as a footnote about an error in thinking.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

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Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,11:18   

Oh, I almost forgot.  During the first lecture, I totally stole a line from David Heddle.  It was perfect, and classic.

Doc asked, "Anybody know what the difference is between this class, Bio 111, and the other Biology class, Bio 110?"

To which I shamelessly replied, "That other class is 'Biology for Poets'."*

Big laughs from the class, and a valiant effort at repressing a smirk from Doc.  He nearly succeeded.

*A similar line about Physics classes appears in Heddle's novel, Here, Eyeball This!, which I am currently reading in my "spare" time.  Here's a hat tip, Heddle!

Edited by Lou FCD on Aug. 21 2008,12:19

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JonF



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,11:35   

Quote (afarensis @ Aug. 20 2008,23:03)
Brilliant! I'm going to have to see if I can find that game.

Invented by Robert Abbott in 1956. Martin Gardner wrote about it in Scientific American in 1959. Abbott updated it in the 70's.

Eleusis and Eleusis Express

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,11:54   

Quote (JonF @ Aug. 21 2008,12:35)
 
Quote (afarensis @ Aug. 20 2008,23:03)
Brilliant! I'm going to have to see if I can find that game.

Invented by Robert Abbott in 1956. Martin Gardner wrote about it in Scientific American in 1959. Abbott updated it in the 70's.

Eleusis and Eleusis Express

hmph.  Not paying attention in class, Jon?

*ahem*

 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 21 2008,06:07)
Hey, there's a Wikipedia entry, even.

ETA:More info about the game, and a page with the rules


Edited by Lou FCD on Aug. 21 2008,12:54

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Albatrossity2



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,12:05   

Lou

Thanks for starting this thread. Our classes start on Monday, and I am up to my eyeballs in things that I need to do before then, but I will follow with interest your exploits at Coastal Carolina. Our class here is not a traditional lecture/lab course like yours; it is in the studio format and thus is sorta experimental. But lots of things that are done in the traditional formats are still adaptable for us, so keep posting!

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
Venus Mousetrap



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,12:13   

I play a card game called Mao, which sounds like this only less useful. One of the rules is that you can't be told the rules, and that you have to deduce them as people play. The core rules are simple (lay cards of like suit, or like value, some cards have special effects like the 8 reversing direction of play, etc.) but the reward for winning (by losing all your cards) is that you get to add a new rule of your own invention, which must then be deduced by the other players.

This eventually results in lots of rules acting at once, which is why the game has an explicit Point of Order which can be called if two players need to decide if their rules are clashing and which takes priority, etc.) It's neat. Unless, in my case, you utterly wreck the game by suddenly doubling the number of suits to 8 and making it near impossible to win, and they wouldn't let me cancel my rule *grumble grumble*

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,12:35   

Venus,

Yeah, I think I read something about the similarity to Mao on the Wiki page or something, though I've never played Mao.

Bill and Alby,

Thanks, I hope you guys enjoy reading about the class, and maybe find something useful.  I'm certainly enjoying the class thus far, both the lecture and the lab.*

*disclaimer:  I was just thinking about sending Doc an email with a link to this thread, and my opinion of the class as stated in this thread is in no way affected by my desire to suck up for an A.  :)

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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Wesley R. Elsberry



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,12:56   

Quote

The measure is how long the subject persists in applying the old rule, which no longer works, before deducing the new one. Persons with frontal brain damage often deduce the original rule quickly, but persist in applying it long after it has ceased to be appropriate.


People with perseverative frontal lobe damage never switch rules in the Wisconsin card sort. This is despite the fact that such patients may be able to describe the WCS procedure, plan a strategy for changing rules, and express an expectation that they will, this next time, manage to switch rules.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Assassinator



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,13:03   

Nice thread Lou, the course sounds really good. As you might now I spent 1 year doing a Bio-Informatics Bachelor, ofcourse with a biology class. But what shocked me is that we spend almost no time on the scientific method, how science works etc. How can you ever properly work with science if you don't know the basics?
Anyway, I'de love to do a similair biology course some day, but I don't think I can do that here in the Netherlands. I wonder how that works at your place Lou, how can someone at your age and no proper biology history (wich would be the case with me) end up in a university biology class. What kind of biology course is it anyway? Can you get a Master with it, or is it just for 1 year?
I bet it works very different over there in the US.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,13:12   

Quote (Assassinator @ Aug. 21 2008,14:03)
Nice thread Lou, the course sounds really good. As you might now I spent 1 year doing a Bio-Informatics Bachelor, ofcourse with a biology class. But what shocked me is that we spend almost no time on the scientific method, how science works etc. How can you ever properly work with science if you don't know the basics?
Anyway, I'de love to do a similair biology course some day, but I don't think I can do that here in the Netherlands. I wonder how that works at your place Lou, how can someone at your age and no proper biology history (wich would be the case with me) end up in a university biology class. What kind of biology course is it anyway? Can you get a Master with it, or is it just for 1 year?
I bet it works very different over there in the US.

Assassinator,

This is just the first semester of my very first year.  I'm just like a kid who just graduated secondary school.  In fact, most of the students (though not all) in all of my classes are exactly that.  I'm "The Old Man" in a classroom mostly full of kids.  (In fact, I've been given that exact nickname in my English class...)

It's a lot of fun, but it'll be two years at Coastal for me to get an Associate's degree in Biology Ed., then I'll have to transfer to the University of North Carolina - Wilmington to finish my Bachelor's degree (another two years, if all goes well).  Then I can get certified to teach in a secondary school.

Until then, I'm just another poor Uni student making his way, just older and with a messed up neck and back.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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Assassinator



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 21 2008,13:51   

Aaa, I thought you were just doing a loose biology course for 'shits & giggles'. But you're actually wanting to become a biology teacher, I wish you good luck with that ;) My mom (snicker) did something similair, but she got a much lower degree for a primaire school teacher assistant. I'm still very proud of her, that she managed to do that while also having to run a family.

I don't think I'll ever do something similair, but I still would like to experience biology in a true educational setting. I hope that's possible, first I'll have to focus myself on my Journalism Bachelor. There are still some scientific opportunities with that, I can alwayse dive into science journalism. In the meantime I'll just follow this thread about your educational adventures.

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,10:53   

This morning's lecture was teh awesome.

Doc started with some announcements, a reminder to get a composition book and a folder for lab, and a reminder about the Science Club.  There is a 2hr canoe paddle on the New River and a shore clean up thing on September the 6th.  After my English class I stopped by the Doc's office and gave him the $2 for membership, though obviously I can't do the canoe thing, for physical reasons.  If I'm free that day, I may see if I can just meet the club at the clean-up site.

Does membership in the Science Club make me an official Science Geek now?  I mean, I've even paid the dues and all! I'd like to be part of the Official Science Geek Club.  I mean, that's part of the benefits package, right?  Plus, Science Geeks have the hottest chic ... uh... I mean that means nothing to me because I'm married.

Ok, on to the lecture, y'all quit distracting me with the pleasures and temptations of the flesh:

Doc started out by going over the levels of biological organization that we ended with on Wednesday, and laid out that we'd be covering the bottom levels mostly in Bio 111, and why.  Seeing as how you have to understand the basics of the building blocks before you can really start to understand the higher levels, it makes sense that we're going to be spending our time at the levels of cells and their constituent parts (molecules, atoms, subatomic particles).  We'll be skipping up to the Population level in the last unit of the course.

Bio 112 will focus on the upper levels.

For anyone not familiar who might be reading this, here's what we're talking about, from the top level down.  Each level consists of members of the next lower level.  It's pretty straightforward.

 
Quote
Biosphere
  Ecosystems
     Communities
        Populations
           Organisms
              Organ Systems
                 Organs
                    Tissues
                       Cells
----------------------------------------------
                          Molecules
                             Atoms
                                Subatomic Particles


So doc drew a analogy between Bio 111 and the foundation of a house.  It takes months to put in the foundation, and it's critical to get it right, because the rest of the house, while quick and easy to put up in comparison, requires a good foundation.

So, why are we dealing with cells?  Cells are the basic structural and functional units of life.

Structural ----> All living things are made up of cells
Functional ---> All the Unity of Life functions occur at the cellular level

So then he posed the question of why are cells alive and why are their constituent parts (molecules) not alive?  (Hence the line in the organization level diagram above.)

Emergent Properties

The properties of a level of biological organization not present in lower levels, resulting from the interactions of their constituent parts.  Emergent Properties are in most cases unexpected, and not predicted from knowledge of the properties of the lower level parts.

EX 1: Water
Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, two flammable gases
But water, as a result of the interaction of hydrogen and oxygen is a non-flammable liquid (at room temperatures)

EX 2: Sodium Chloride
Sodium is a highly reactive explosive silvery metal
Chlorine is a toxic gas
Table salt is vitally necessary for life

EX 3: Tree
Carbon Dioxide gas and liquid water interact to form a 500 kilo tree.

(Note: The question was posed by Doc: "Where does a seed get all the stuff to make a tree?"  I was surprised that I'd never really thought about where the wood comes from.  Obviously not the soil, as Doc pointed out, or the tree would be in the middle of a big hole.  Where does all that stuff come from?  CO2 and water.)

So then we came back to The Diversity and Unity of Life

1859 (I wanted to yell out the significance of this date when he wrote it on the board and left it hanging there all alone.)

"On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin

Doc talked about Darwin's voyage on the Beagle briefly, then dove in head first.  (As an aside, I kept an ear out for groans or clucking tongues, but didn't notice anything untoward.)

Descent with Modification

--All organisms are related by descent from a common ancestor ---> explains the unity of life.

--Populations change over time as they adapt to new or changing environments through the process of Natural Selection ---> explains the diversity of life.

 
Quote
"Descent with Modification is the only idea that explains both of these characteristics of life."


Doc then put up a table regarding generations of our ancestries:

 
Quote
Generation - Ancestors
1                  2  <----- 6,000,000,000 people on earth now
2                  4
3                  8
4                16
5                 32
6                 64
7                128
8                256
9                512
10             1024


So the question was, "why were there fewer people on earth two hundred years ago (about generation 10) than there are now? Why weren't there 1024 * 6B?"

The answer of course is that we share ancestors.  There were some ooos and aaaas at the impact of the numbers when it dawned on people that 1024 people were in their family tree in one generation just 200 years ago.  I'm the family armchair genealogist, so I had that moment years ago, but I remember it well.

To illustrate Descent with Modification, Doc drew a graph similar to the following:



and explained that each red dot was a species.

Then he filled in the ancestry tree thus:



Then he boxed in all the extant species, and explained that the reason that all life have cells and DNA and metabolism is because of heredity from the common ancestor.



And then explained that DNA replication is not perfect, and that errors occur and adaptation to the environment takes advantage of that to produce speciation:



So if a line of heredity develops trait X, its descendants will have trait X, and if another line develops trait Q, its descendants will have trait Q.

The lecture was straightforward and easy to follow, I imagine even for someone who doesn't hang around a bunch of Science Geeks.  Good day, for sure.

Quote
All images are clickable for larger versions at my Flickr page.  Created by me, and licensed for use as you see fit.


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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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dogdidit



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,11:43   

Years ago (more years ago than I care to calculate just now) I took a college class in (classical) quantum mechanics. The professor didn't assign a text, but instead explained that all the material for the class would be presented on the blackboard during his lectures. Therefore (1) it was important to attend every lecture, or at least get notes from a buddy, and (2) it was important to take comprehensive notes! But the professor made it abundantly clear that good note-taking alone was insufficient; he strongly recommended that we re-copy our notes after class. His theory was that when we re-copied the notes, the study material would have to pass from our eyes to our hands, and would therefore have a good chance of encountering our brains along the way, where some of it might stick.

I took his advice. It was very effective.

Dude, keep up this blog and you are going to be a serious biology-knowing science geek fer sure.

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"Humans carry plants and animals all over the globe, thus introducing them to places they could never have reached on their own. That certainly increases biodiversity." - D'OL

  
Lou FCD



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,11:59   

Quote (dogdidit @ Aug. 22 2008,12:43)
Years ago (more years ago than I care to calculate just now) I took a college class in (classical) quantum mechanics. The professor didn't assign a text, but instead explained that all the material for the class would be presented on the blackboard during his lectures. Therefore (1) it was important to attend every lecture, or at least get notes from a buddy, and (2) it was important to take comprehensive notes! But the professor made it abundantly clear that good note-taking alone was insufficient; he strongly recommended that we re-copy our notes after class. His theory was that when we re-copied the notes, the study material would have to pass from our eyes to our hands, and would therefore have a good chance of encountering our brains along the way, where some of it might stick.

I took his advice. It was very effective.

Dude, keep up this blog and you are going to be a serious biology-knowing science geek fer sure.

Love the thought.  If it works as well as it should, I'll have to keep that in mind for when I start teaching.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
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Henry J



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,12:08   

Quote
(Note: The question was posed by Doc: "Where does a seed get all the stuff to make a tree?"  I was surprised that I'd never really thought about where the wood comes from.  Obviously not the soil, as Doc pointed out, or the tree would be in the middle of a big hole.  Where does all that stuff come from?  CO2 and water.)


That's sort of like when somebody puts a clipping from a flower in a pot with only water in it, and it somehow grows - without even any access to any dirt. :p

  
cogzoid



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(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,12:10   

I wish I did the same thing.  A physics prof I had in college described his method when he was a student.  He would recopy the entire lecture in pen in a new notebook every night, correcting mistakes and carefully redrawing diagrams, etc.  He still has those notebooks and uses them to construct his own lectures.  Most undergrad physics hasn't budged in a hundred years, so they work just fine.  Of course, I didn't hear the story until I was done with classes in grad school.  By then it was too late!

  
Spottedwind



Posts: 83
Joined: Aug. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,15:51   

I wanted to quickly throw out a word of thanks and support for this thread.  Not only is it great that you are going back to college, but I love hearing about it.

I received my BS in Wildlife Biology 7 years ago but am not yet in my field; heck, I'm not even in biology right now.  I've got a simple state job that pays the bills, but it leaves me missing science to no end.  For the past few months, I've been lurking here, PT, and many other places (when our internet filters let them through) to try to get a fix when I can.  I'm still applying for jobs, volunteering at a zoo, and trying to remember that I'm still young and that there is no maximum age to begin an entry level position.  Still, I get discouraged sometimes and it seems like a cubicle farm is all I'll ever see.

You posting about the classes kind of helps me to re-energize.  Coming here in general does that, but to see your excitement about learning is kind of contagious.  I feel like I haven't used much of my knowledge in the past few years and reading over this thread is a great mental exercise.  How much do I remember?  Did I ever learn that?  It helps me to gain a bit more confidence to get up, dust off, and keep trying.

But I digress.  I wish you the best of luck on the entire endeavor and thanks again for posting about it!

(This post ended up longer than planned...I've been meaning to de-lurk for sometime...guess I waited too long  :D )

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,16:28   

Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 22 2008,13:08)
That's sort of like when somebody puts a clipping from a flower in a pot with only water in it, and it somehow grows - without even any access to any dirt. :p

Yeah, exactly!  I just never really thought about it.  It's magic!!!!  :)  (No son, it's science.)

 
Quote (cogzoid @ Aug. 22 2008,13:10)
I wish I did the same thing.  A physics prof I had in college described his method when he was a student.  He would recopy the entire lecture in pen in a new notebook every night, correcting mistakes and carefully redrawing diagrams, etc.  He still has those notebooks and uses them to construct his own lectures.  Most undergrad physics hasn't budged in a hundred years, so they work just fine.  Of course, I didn't hear the story until I was done with classes in grad school.  By then it was too late!


I think I might apply the same technique to my precalc class, especially since between the notes and the homework, I'm about halfway through my notebook already anyway!

 
Quote (Spottedwind @ Aug. 22 2008,16:51)
I wanted to quickly throw out a word of thanks and support for this thread.  Not only is it great that you are going back to college, but I love hearing about it.

I received my BS in Wildlife Biology 7 years ago but am not yet in my field; heck, I'm not even in biology right now.  I've got a simple state job that pays the bills, but it leaves me missing science to no end.  For the past few months, I've been lurking here, PT, and many other places (when our internet filters let them through) to try to get a fix when I can.  I'm still applying for jobs, volunteering at a zoo, and trying to remember that I'm still young and that there is no maximum age to begin an entry level position.  Still, I get discouraged sometimes and it seems like a cubicle farm is all I'll ever see.

You posting about the classes kind of helps me to re-energize.  Coming here in general does that, but to see your excitement about learning is kind of contagious.  I feel like I haven't used much of my knowledge in the past few years and reading over this thread is a great mental exercise.  How much do I remember?  Did I ever learn that?  It helps me to gain a bit more confidence to get up, dust off, and keep trying.

But I digress.  I wish you the best of luck on the entire endeavor and thanks again for posting about it!

(This post ended up longer than planned...I've been meaning to de-lurk for sometime...guess I waited too long  :D )


Thanks for joining the conversation, Spottedwind.  I'm glad this thread helps you to pick yourself up, and also that it moved you to delurk.  

Besides being the one productive job that I might be able to do with my screwed up spine, part of the impetus for me doing this is the desperate need for teachers in our area.  Here in Onslow County, NC, we're expecting an influx of about 11,000 Marines (or maybe more) in the next few years, plus their families, plus civilian support staff, plus their families.  All totaled, we're expecting 40k to 200k people (depends on exactly what the Corps does, and whose figures you're looking at).  That means there are going to be a boatload of kids needing teachers in the not too distant future.  And some of those teachers will need to be Science teachers.

It's not a bad place to live if you can deal with the ultra-right-wing nationalism that runs a little rampant in a military town.  Just something for you to consider.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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deadman_932



Posts: 3094
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,17:01   

Dear Mrs. Lou,

       I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings -- but this drawing by one of Lou's classmates has come to my attention:


       Your friend, deadman_932

P.S. Notice how your husband is altering his appearance to seem younger and Spicoli-like in class. Possibly just for his nefarious purposes.



Edited by Lou FCD on Aug. 22 2008,19:10

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AtBC Award for Thoroughness in the Face of Creationism

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,17:47   

LOL

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

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Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,17:56   

I actually had something like that back in my early high-school years. The only difference was that the uber cute/hot biology teacher was really short, and I already was friggin huge. That switch of positions also gives an...interesting perspective, from my point of view ;)

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,17:59   

Quote (deadman_932 @ Aug. 22 2008,15:01)
Dear Mrs. Lou,

       I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings -- but this drawing by one of Lou's classmates has come to my attention:


       Your friend, deadman_932

P.S. Notice how your husband is altering his appearance to seem younger and Spicoli-like in class. Possibly just for his nefarious purposes.

If Lou doesn't give you Post of the Month for that, he needs to be fired.

PS: The scare quotes around 'Doc'? The perfect touch!

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,18:11   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 22 2008,18:59)
If Lou doesn't give you Post of the Month for that, he needs to be fired.

PS: The scare quotes around 'Doc'? The perfect touch!

I haven't made a POTM graphic.  Will that hold you over?

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,18:13   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 22 2008,16:11)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 22 2008,18:59)
If Lou doesn't give you Post of the Month for that, he needs to be fired.

PS: The scare quotes around 'Doc'? The perfect touch!

I haven't made a POTM graphic.  Will that hold you over?

I guess it will have to do.  :angry:

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,18:17   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Aug. 22 2008,14:28)
Besides being the one productive job that I might be able to do with my screwed up spine, part of the impetus for me doing this is the desperate need for teachers in our area.  Here in Onslow County, NC, we're expecting an influx of about 11,000 Marines (or maybe more) in the next few years, plus their families, plus civilian support staff, plus their families.  All totaled, we're expecting 40k to 200k people (depends on exactly what the Corps does, and whose figures you're looking at).

Perhaps I'm being a bit obtuse, but what's this about? I mean, I assume this is all a result of our killing uppity Muslims for their oil defending democracy in the Middle East, but why all those people in the next few years? Is that Marines returning, or some new massive buildup for an invasion of Iran that no one's told me about?

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 22 2008,18:44   

Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 22 2008,19:17)
Perhaps I'm being a bit obtuse, but what's this about? I mean, I assume this is all a result of our killing uppity Muslims for their oil defending democracy in the Middle East, but why all those people in the next few years? Is that Marines returning, or some new massive buildup for an invasion of Iran that no one's told me about?

No, that's a base-reorganization thing (read: base closures), where the Marines displaced from other locations will be transferred to Camp Lejeune.

Those figures don't include Marines that would return from abroad should the next PotUS pull our collective asses out of the fire.  So add lots of baby making to that, for several years down the road.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
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