Teaching advanced students at a medical magnet school, one could almost take for granted that students have the respiratory and circulatory systems down pat. That they could recite the purposes of arteries, veins, alveoli, bronchi, etc. Much of this is very true. Interesting thing is, knowing how something works is much different from knowing why something works. All year in AP Bio we have been striving to understand WHY things work. A prime example is the link between exercise and increase heart/respiration rates. Reasoning would say that the body is consuming more oxygen, thus we need to breathe more rapidly and more deeply. While this is true, there is another, deeper mechanism at work. Much of our rate of respiration is controlled by the pH of our blood. Funny how carbon dioxide from cellular respiration combines with water in the plasma to form carbonic acid. So, as blood pH goes down, respiration increases so that the body can offload that extra carbon dioxide.
While I had not intended to give a bio lesson as an intro, I think it serves as a nice introduction to a pretty good activity. A couple of years ago free diver Guillame Nery became semi-famous for one of his freediving videos. The video is a very well produced record of one of his dives. As a class, we watched the video then dissected the going ons of his internal environment as he went through the dive. I think the students actually enjoyed the activity. It was at least good enough that Yaa Ofori Marfoh included it in her week in review for the week of 2/18-2/22.
The week of February 18 was a pretty uneventful week for Mr. Kite’s AP Bio class. For majority of the week we focused on the circulatory and respiratory systems. My favorite was Mr. Kite’s lesson on the circulatory system because even it contained a lot of information, we watched a cool video about free falling (I think that’s what its called). Free Falling is basically like deep sea diving…except its done without oxygen tanks or any form of breathing support. So these professionals dive deep into huge crevasses under water and just keep going as deep as they can while holding their breath and then, when they’ve had enough, they come back up for air. Before watching the video, I had never even heard of this sport (I’m guessing mortality rate is pretty high–maybe some never make it back up for air?) Even though I think its a really interesting sport, I don’t plan on ever trying it…and neither should you!
Anyways, apart from our lessons on respiration and circulation, we caught up with our flies for our labs (due date is approaching!) and to wrap up the week we had a “Quest”. As Mr. Kite would tell you, it’s not exactly a test but a bit too long to be a quiz. Its mix between the two therefore, it is a quest. And boy what a hard quest it was. Thankfully, we have test corrections (well, I should say quest corrections) to look forward to this week.