Flies! Part deux

[caption id="attachment_1109" align="alignleft" width="300"]By wellcome images By wellcome images[/caption]

Oh, the fruit fly. A much maligned and often hated insect that, nonetheless, has been the subject of intense research for the last 2 centuries. The flies are loved by researchers for the ease with which they are bred, their simple genetic makeup, and their short generation time. AP Bio has gotten to know these little insects well over the last 12 weeks. I'd never dealt with them before, so all of our fly work was as much an experiment for me as it was for them. Though there were some fits and starts, by the end of the project most students had become very handy with the fly nap and a few had moved beyond their fear of insects.

To the great relief of many of the students, we moved beyond fly breeding last week. As you will read in this edition of the week in review (4/1-4/5) the students had the chance to simply observe the flies as they reacted to a series of chemicals. I think the students genuinely enjoyed being able to just see what the flies do and not have to worry about counting, crossing, or breeding. Actually, I think they may have been happier about being able to dispose of the flies for the final time knowing that they will never have to deal with the little critters again.

So, with our week in review, and reflecting on this final round of fly work are Yaa and Suleima:

Yaa Begins:

Monday marked our 2nd week into our last Unit in Lab207: ECOLOGY (hurray! Our trek is almost complete!) Coincidentally, it also marked the beginning of Spirit Week 2.0, a week of dressing up in outrageous and hilarious outfits to show off the Cobra spirit. In class monday, Mr. Kite had us divide ourselves into two sides and we engaged in a [I wouldn't call it heated] debate on the topic of Altruism and its relation to evolution/natural selection. Now if you’ve read my previous post, you’d know that I, like many of my other classmates, am kind of in-the-middle on this topic, but regardless of that, Mr. Kite forced us to pick a side (I chose the side saying altruism had no benefit toward evolution). About that debate; words were said, some explanations made no sense whatsoever while others I would say, were on the level of genius. And for me, it was mostly hard to keep a straight face on while listening to the points made by speakers in the debate. Not because what they said was funny in anyway, but because it’s incredibly hard to take your classmates seriously when he is dressed as a baby. It was a close race, but we naysayers  pulled of the win (with an extremely close margin of only ONE POINT!)  Winners aside, it was all together a successful debate in which we had to face a topic with many gray areas, one that involved aspects of both sides of the debate.

On Tuesday, Mr.Kite had us work with dreaded drosophilla flies for the last time (thank goodness!). In this experiment/lab our objective was to observe the behavior of the fruit flies in relation to different substances. It was hilarious trying to transfer the flies from their files into our self-made fly chamber–especially when a classmate freaked out upon realizing we failed to successfully transfer the flies from, our concocted funnel of paper into the chamber! Props to Mr. Kite for this lab. It was an awesome way to say goodbye and GOOD RIDDANCE to those tiny flies.

During the remainder of the week, we breezed through other ecological topics such as abiotic determinants of biomes, climate change, populations and demographics, and dispersion patterns/population density–topics which Mr Kite claimed should’ve been a “review of your previous AP Environmental Science course”. Unfortunately for me, I remember nothing from that course so I am basically learning everything all over again. On the bright side, learning these topics isn’t so different from my experience with other units we’ve had in biology so far. Hopefully, it won’t get worse!

Suleima Concludes:

Really, flies again? This week we did a mini lab with fruit flies, the usual, in Mr. kite’s class. The good thing about the lab was that we didn’t to deal a lot with offsprings and genes. We just had to take note of the behavior of the flies when wee put them in a soda bottle and put two different substances in the bottles. This lab relates to what we are learning this unit which and Ecology, which includes animal behavior. We hadn’t really done a debate, but this week we did one for the first time and it got competitive. The topic was wether are not evolution is due to altruism or if it plays a role in it. We got started on our last quarter projects. This project we will have to be the teachers for one period. That means we have to cover a whole unit in one period , so we have to decided what are the key points in the unit we are doing. It not as easy as it sounds because of so much planning. I give props to Mr. kite and the rest of the teachers.

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