Biology Semester 1 Reflection

What did you learn this semester (topics, benchmarks, skills)?

The were two topics that I especially learned a lot about this semester those being ecology and evolution. While I still need to brush up on evolution I do still feel as though I have learned a lot about the topic. I have also learned a bit about magnification and how to accurately use a microscope and how to record the data.

What learning activities worked best for you?

The activities that worked the best for me were when we did the experiments. I feel like I was able to gain a really strong grasp of how ecology worked by observing our Mesocosm and also through the field trip we took as a class. I think that if I could find an activity that involved the adaptations and classifications of species online, I would be able to remember and use the terminology a lot better during my assessment. This is something I will do to make sure to do to make sure I am ready for when I need to take my reassessment.

How did you study for assessments?

I studied by going over the vocabulary we used in class and also by looking at what I answered wrongly on the practice tests. I think what would help me to be more successful on my assessments would be to also look back on what we covered in the chapters of the text book.

Which assessments did you do well in / not do well in?

I felt I did well in the mesocosm experiment, I believe this is because it was something that I found more tangible and I was able to see the process happen. I did not do well in the evolution unit as I feel that it was harder for me to remember the vocabulary when if came to classification.

What was your favorite part of the semester?

My favorite part of the semester was going on the field trip and working on our mesocosms.

Biology: Bottle Mesocosm

Me and Javier were partners for our Mesocosm. We wanted to do a design that was a bit unusual as we thought it would be more challenging and also make the project funner. We stumbled on some designs online of linear mesocosms. These were experiments were people had taken used bottles and instead of throwing them in the trash decided to cut them up and use them as plant pots. We found some really cool concepts on line of people making entire hydroponic systems where they had fed a constant stream of water through the system to tie it all together. We thought this would be a perfect design to try ourselves as it would work as a mesocosm and serve as an interesting alternative to the way we usually grow plants.

Here is an example of what we saw which originally made us inspired.








We set out to create our own design. We decided to have three main chambers. The top being where the water would be filtered and pumped back in to. The second where we would have a plant that had been pulled out of its roots and then just placed on the soil in that bottle. We wanted to see if the plant could still survive in the Bottle even with out having any roots connecting it to the soil. The third bottle had a the same plant as the second one but this time was planted in the soil of the bottle. The fourth bottle had compost from the same plant and also other leafs we had found. What we wanted to see from the fourth bottle was wether or not anything would grow in the space. The fifth and final bottle was where we would catch the remaining water and pump it back up to the top. This was what I thought would be the most beneficial factor of our mesocosm as we would have a constant steam of water running through the mesocosm. Each time the water would cycle through the mesocosm it would pick up more and more nutrients becoming more beneficial to the plants each time it passed through them. In order to let the water run through the bottles we poked holes on the bottom and tops of each of the bottles. By the time we had filled the bottles with soil it took the water about an hour to get from the bottom to the top of our mesocosm. One thing I do have to admit is that making the pump for the mesocosm was a lot more difficult then it had first appeared to be. However, we learned that the mesocosm worked fine with out it and that by simply pouring the water back through the mesocosm our selves supplied more then enough water daily. If we had set up the pump we would have probably over flooded the plants and would have had to eventually use the pump in intervals to water the plants anyways… Although it still would have been pretty awesome to have a pump.

Here is a look at what our  looked like:












You can see the different chambers and how we tapped them together to make sure that no water leaked out. Overall I feel that our mesocosm was pretty successful as all chambers actually ended up growing and sustaining life. Even when the fourth chamber was just compost. We also saw some small white snails live in there which was pretty cool to see. These acted as some of the biotic factors we had in our mesocosm which turned the h2o the plants were producing back in to co2. These snails and some of the micro biotic organisms we had living in our soil were vital to keeping our Mesocosm alive. With out these organisms living in our mesocosm we wouldn’t have been able to keep a constant cycle of carbon in our mesocosm and keep everything alive. I really enjoyed this experiment as it really gave me a sense of how abiotic and biotic organisms live and interact in an enclosed space. I am pretty confident after our mesocosm has survived the winter break that it will be able to continue to grow. If I get time later I probably will try to finish the pump as this will also help immensely to keep the our mesocosm ecosystem alive. This is also the one thing I think we could have done better when making our mesocosm as initially it seemed like an unfinished design and we were not certain if water it ourselves was going to work the same. Luckily for us it did and our mesocom was able to be fairly successful.

Here is a picture of us taking some data:


















Here is the table of all the data we had collected while observing our mesocosm:








“I’m just not a math person”

A. Initial Thoughts:  Agree/Disagree? Why? List various points from both perspectives with specific reasons to back up your claim.

I agree with what the article is saying as I believe anyone can become smarter if they are motivated and dedicate themselves. It is a fact that working hard in school will establish connections in your brain and therefore make you smarter. Ultimately I think it comes down to the students motivation, since if they really want to succeed in the class most of the time they will be able to. All it takes is a lot of practice and a good attitude towards the subject.

B.  IF you forget the language of mathematics and how to apply specific formulas, what does the article suggest happens to your knowledge?

It suggests that once you learn something a bridge has been formed in your brain. This will allow you to easily pick up from where you left off it you were ever to have to use the formulas again.

C.  Answer: “When Will I Ever Use This Again in My Life?” Do you study math just to learn mathematics?  How does math class expand your horizons?  Why would this be important?  What does this mean to you personally and how would it affect your life?

It all depends what career choice you choose. You may actually never use math again in your life if the field does not require it. However, studying mathematics can improve your life immensely as it teaches you to think critically and you can also think out side the box to apply some of the math formulas to your everyday life. Having this knowledge of math will expand your horizons as the connections will stay in your brain, so if you every need to use it again you will have an easier time. To me personally math has sometimes been a challenging subject. However thats why I choose to go with SL math as I believe the best way to truly learn is to challenge yourself and do something you are not comfortable with. As conquering a challenges is what grows you as a learner.

English The Stranger Reflection

1. What are areas of strength that you see in both the group essay and your book review? What do you need to work on to improve as a writer?

I think I am strong in my ideas and my comprehension of the topics we talk about in class. However, I think I need to work on my word choice and grammar so I can really achieve a high sentence fluency.

2. Describe your experience of writing the group essay. What was positive about it? What was negative? What could be changed to make it a more productive experience?

The positive part was that it did not require as much work as real essay. The negative part was that It was hard to establish my ideas as I would normally do with a full essay. I would make it an individual assignment that only required the students to write one or two paragraphs. This why the students grade would be a true representation of their work.
3. Describe the “jigsaw” experience. (breaking off into topic groups to learn about a topic to teach to your reading group). What was positive about it? What was negative? What could be changed to make it a more productive experience?

I liked the jigsaw experience because it meant I could to meet and talk with all of my group members. It was a little confusing at first but eventually I got the hang of it. Im sure with we did another Jigsaw assignment it would go a lot smoother as people would know what to expect.
4. Describe your experience of reading “The Stranger”. What did you like about the book? What did you dislike?

I thought it was interesting to read about concepts that I hadn’t really seen before. I probably disliked Meursault because I don’t believe that someone could be truley emotionless as he was.
5. What would you change about the unit if you were the teacher?

I wouldn’t change a lot, however I do think I would change the group essay assignment in to something thats individual.

English Poetry Reflection

1. Are you glad the poetry unit is over? Why or why not?

At first I was hesitant with the poetry unit, however I was pretty glad with the final poem I was able to come up with. Saying this I am a bit glad the poetry unit is over just because I wouldn’t want to spend an excessive amount of time with the unit. I feel that the amount of time we worked on this unit was just right as I am also excited to learn other units in english and not just stick with poetry.

2. What did you like about the unit? What did you dislike?

I liked learning new ways to express my ideas in literature and how using a constraint can actually benefit my work rather than take away from it. The part of the unit I disliked would probably be the visual representation as I found it hard to translate the poem in that way. To have made it easier for myself I probably should have spent more time on it and used another form of media, such as a video.
3. When reading and watching your peers’ poems and visualizations, what did you learn or appreciate? What didn’t you like?

I really liked some of the drawings that people did as it shows extra effort and they were also pretty creative. I also liked seeing how people interpreted there poems. An example of this would be that me and Andrew both read the same poem but interpreted it in totally different ways. Mine being that the poem was about death and his being the poem was about growing up.

4. Are you planning on attending or submitting to the poetry jam? Why or why not?

I am thinking of submitting to the poetry jam because I feel that I have now found new ways to express my ideas through poetry. I also think it would be an interesting experience.

5. What would you change about this unit if you were the teacher? More of something? Less of something else? Have a think…..

I would maybe make the poem visualization a partner project so that two people could work together and come up with something really interesting. This would also help with making the visualization in  another form of media as there would be more help to make it happen.

P.E. Dance Reflection

1. What were your initial thoughts going into the dance the unit? Explain ( provide a specific example)

It was not what I was originally expecting as I have done dance units in P.E. previously however, instead of being able to create our own dance moves and routine we were given pre-made dance moves. In this unit we were given the style of dance and the dance moves that corresponded with it, we were then given the option of coming up with our own routine. This was something I wasn’t expecting and at first I thought that it was going to be a more open assignment which would require us to make a lot of more stuff on our own.
2. What did you like during the dance unit? Explain ( provide a specific example)

I liked being able to learn how to preform famous dances and am excited to apply this to the real world as I feel I will need to remember how to do this dances in the future.
3. What didn’t you like during the dance unit? What would you suggest to change, modify or make is better?

I wish we could have been given the dance we would have had to preform a bit earlier so that we would have had time to practice and rehearse a set routine for the certain dance.
4. What are you thoughts AFTER finishing the dance unit?
– have you changed in your thoughts, same thoughts (why or why not)

I thought the dance unit was pretty fun overall and I’m looking forward to participating in more physical activity again now that the unit is finished.

Progress report reflection 1

Progress Report Reflection

Progress reports are a mid semester indication of how you are doing both academically and in relation to your ESLRs. Having just read your report please write your thoughts using the following prompts.

What are you most proud of in your report and why?

I am proud of the fact that I a high global citizenship grade in most of my classes. I am proud of this because it shows that I am an active and focused learner.

What would you like to improve?

I want to improve my personal management in life skills and in P.E.

What needs to happen in order for you to achieve the improvements?

I need to stay focused during class and make sure I am will organized so that when I get home I can get my work completed efficiently.

Who might need to help you and how?

The only person I need help from is myself, as it is my responsibility to make sure that all of my work gets completed on time.

What changes might you make to your goals now?

I will not change any of my goals as they all still apply to what I have read from my progress report.

What questions do you have for your teachers – do you need an individual meeting with them or can you ask during conferences with your parents?

I don’t have any major questions for any of my teachers as I understand and agree with everything I have read from my progress report. However, I would like to be given a bit of a better understanding as to what my actual grade is for the course.

Semester 2 Goal

I want to keep the same grades I have for the subjects I did well in and I want to make sure that I don’t get a grade lower then a B- in any of my subjects. My second goal will be to make sure I do not get any concerns on my report card. Last semester my lowest grade was a C+ in math and I received two concerns on my report. In order to achieve my goal I will need to really focus on math and make sure that I spend time on my homework and that it is always completed. I received one concern in independent learning from life skills which I will be able to fix as I am now taking forensics and will be very focused on making sure my work is always completed for the class.  The second concern I received was from a math test, this fits in with my first goal as by focusing on my math work I should not get any concerns on any of the tests. Overall I will try a lot harder in math and by doing this I will raise my math grade and also not get any concerns on my report card. I hope that by raising my grade in math and keeping the same grade I have in other subjects, will allow me to raise my GPA to a 3.5 or higher.

Semester 1 report reflection

Report Card Reflection

Report cards are a semester indication of how you are doing both academically and in relation to your ESLRs. Having just read your report please write your thoughts using the following prompts.

What are you most proud of in your report and why?

I am most proud of my ability to achieve an A in social studies and in english. I am proud of this as I worked very hard in both these classes and I was very happy with what I ultimately improved.

What would you like to improve?

I need to improve my math grade, I will do this by spending more time on my homework and making sure it is done to the best of my abilities every night. If I need help with anything in math I will go talk to my teacher or I can look on youtube for help. I also need to make sure I give every class my best effort as I got a concern in independent learning in Life skills.

What needs to happen in order for you to achieve the improvements?

I need to spend more time on my math homework and I need to make sure I always do all of my homework so that I am always able to turn my work in on time.

Who might need to help you and how?

Mostly my self with a little help from my math teacher if I need it.

What changes might you make to your goals now?

I will keep the same goals I had previously as these two problems should be able to be solved by next semester. It will just take more time and a more efficient work ethic.

What questions do you have for your teachers?

I don’t have any questions for my teachers right now, however I may have some later if I run into trouble when studying for math.


Lit circle reflection

1. Reflect on the experience of literature circles. What was positive? What was not positive?

I thought that the experience of literature circles was very positive as everyday when I came to class I was interested and ready to participate. The good thing about literature circles is that I felt that everyone in my group felt the same way. Everyone was motivated which lead to us always having a good discussion during class.

2. Do you think you understood your novel better as a result of reading it in a lit circle (as opposed to a traditional whole-class reading?) why or why not?

I do think I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the book with a lit circle. I believe this is because since I was in a smaller group everyone was able to voice their own opinions and also consider their fellow group members opinions.

3. Reflect on creating the portfolio and the presentation. What was challenging? What was satisfying? What was frustrating?

When we created the portfolio it was not extremely difficult as a lot of the work had already been completed from our previous lit circle discussions. We also split up the work which meant that my main task was creating the X-factor while my other group mates worked on getting the portfolio together and making sure everything was set up. Because we divided the work this way I feel that our group was able to accomplish a lot and overall come up with a good product.

4. Looking back, what would you change about this unit if you were the teacher?

I would give a bit less time for discussion and I may add another activity for the group to work on. I might also add set discussion questions to prolong the conversation. I overall would just add something to take up a bit more time with the discussion as my group was always left with a little bit of free time during the class.