Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Welcome to Science 7!

This is going to be a fantastic year!  All the information for the course appears on this site.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Strawberry DNA

Today's the last lesson of Science 7!

Next year you will study genetics.  To introduce the topic, we have a special guest speaker today.  Mr. Ralston will share a bit about his work in plant genetics and then we will extract DNA.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Santos vs Pinheiros

Research Question: How do the properties and characteristics of a certain body of water impact the ecosystems and the humans?

In Santos, 90% of the sewage is treated before being released into the environment. There are enormous water treatment stations in the city. In São Paulo, however, only 26% of the sewage is treated, the rest being dumped into the river Tiete and Pinheiros. This is one of the main causes as to why the rivers are so polluted. The rivers in Santos, on the other hand, is very clean, thanks to the city’s efforts in cleaning it up.
The city of Santos was one of the worst cities in the world concerning water treatment. It’s condition has drastically changed since the beginning of the project in 1920s when they first started to lessen the pollution and the stagnancy of the water.
Chemicals found in water:
Dissolved Oxygen: The low amount of dissolved oxygen in the river Pinheiros is due mostly to the algae. The algae absorb most of the dissolved oxygen in the river as soon as it goes into the water. The dissolved oxygen level is 2.4 ppm. That is next to nothing compared to the Santos river water, with a dissolved oxygen level of 6.1 ppm. That is roughly the amount that fawn and flora need to survive in the water.
Ammonium Nitrogen: There is a low level of Nitrogen Ammonium in both these bodies of water. Nitrogen Ammonium is an inorganic, dissolved form of Nitrogen and is bad for any living thing.  
Nitrogen Nitrate: Nitrate is another form of Nitrogen. It is Ammonium that has gone through the process of oxidation. It is one of the chemicals that is found in fertilizer. Nitrogen itself is an element that all living things need and have in their bodies. Nitrogen is mostly found in protein.  Concerning the diagram: The blue boxes represent stores of nitrogen, the green writing is for processes that occur to move the nitrogen from one place to another and the red writing are all the bacteria involved.
Phosphate: A phosphate (PO43−) as an inorganic chemical and a salt of phosphoric acid. It is mainly mined for fertilizer.
These are the test that have been recently completed in class. As you can see, there are drastic differences. This has a lot to do with the fact that Santos actually cleans most of it’s sewage water.
Dissolved Oxygen
2.4 ppm
6.1 ppm
0.2 ppm
0.1 ppm
Nitrogen Nitrate
0.2 ppm
0.6 ppm
60 ppm
1.0 ppm
140 ppm
1500 ppm
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6.0 ppt

The impact on the ecosystem is tremendous. The river Pinheiros is considered a virtually dead river. There  are not many creatures able to survive. With it’s low amount of dissolved oxygen, no plants or fish can survive. Algae is one of the only organisms that can truly flourish in the river. It is also the main cause of low dissolved oxygen. Because of this there is a lot of Ammonium Nitrogen in the water. Ammonium Nitrogen is an inorganic, dissolved form of Nitrogen which is found where dissolved oxygen is lacking. If we look at the test results though it is noticeable that the Ammonium Nitrogen level is very low. Yet we think this is an effect of the algae. Even though Ammonium is bad for animals and plants there is a process it can go through that turns it into Nitrate. This process is called oxidation. The algae absorb so much of the oxygen that not much, if any, of it can get into the water. Also, because of the Nitrate in the water the algae grows faster and the problem just keeps on escalating. With the excessive amount of sewage, trash, and the slow movement of the water, one rarely finds fish, mammals or reptiles nearby. Sometimes, a capybara is seen, or another similar creature.
The same happened to Santos in the 1920s. Because of recent dams, the water became stagnant. Santos was considered a deadly place, because of the diseases that could be caught there because of deadly insects, such as Malaria or Dengue. These such insects reproduce in stagnant waters, and because of the excessive amount of stagnant water (the whole part of the river that ran through Santos) there was an enormous quantity of breeding among those insects. With the dams destroyed, the currents came back, reducing greatly this issue. This is not a problem with the rio Pinheiros, since the water is so contaminated and polluted that even insects can’t, for the most part, reproduce in it.
In Santos the problem of water treatment has mostly been solved. 90% of the sewage is being treated. Also, to make sure the salinity (salt concentration) in the bay stays almost the same by pumping it through huge pipes out of the bay and into deeper waters. In order to improve this process, though, they can aim to treat 100% of the sewage, and reuse it. Also, there are better ways to treat water to drink. One example of this is using ozone. Yes, using ozone would be more expensive, but on the other hand, the taste of the water would be better, and this would show better advancement for Brazil.
In São Paulo, though, there is much that still has to be done in order to make the rivers acceptable. Firstly, the percentage of the sewage treatment has to rise drastically. In order to do so, more sewage treatment facilities can be built. Another possible way to help solve the problem is to place more trash cans around the city, and motivate the citizens to use them instead of throwing their trash on the ground. The trash will end up at the river eventually, and so polluting it even more.
In conclusion, the sewage treatment helped Santos greatly, and would have the same effect on São Paulo, if there were more treatment facilities. Santos was an example of humans not giving up on their ecosystem and fixing a problem they themselves created. The same thing can be done for São Paulo, by taking Santos’ example and making it even better to renew the river Tiete and Pinheiros.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Sea Bird Problem Science Story

In 1992 Teresa, a seabird rescuer was born in an island surrounded by oceans. She loved playing with her friends until she turned 7. When she made a new discovery. One day when she was walking on the beach she saw a seabird surrounded by plastic and he couldn't fly anymore because his wing were also with plastic. Teresa decided to help him. She took the seabird to her house and asked her parents what  she could do to help him. They told her that she would have to take it to a vet, but she really liked the seabird so she decided to keep it. She hid the seabird in her little garden and she gave it fish and water for 2 week unfortunately the seabird died and she got so mad she ran to the beach and saw another seabird with plastic on his beak so she ran back to her house with the seabird and told her parents that they had to do something about it but they would always regret saying:
-Darling, this job is not for us the vets are already taking care of them. You don't have to worry. Now you have to study to be a great person when you grow up.
She would just study and study only about seabirds until she turned 13 and it all changed. Her teachers called her parents saying that she couldn't keep up with the class and she had low grades because she was only interested in studying about seabirds. So her parents turned to her and asked her what she was thinking that she was doing about her life and what college did she expect to go to in the future with low grades. She got so angry that she started to print papers saying "Please help the seabirds by not throwing plastic or other used materials on the beach!" Then she built a plastic seabird and left it as a monument on the beach. When she turned 17 a researcher called Dr.Williams Smith was on a holiday on the beach and saw her great monument. He asked her if she wanted to do a research about the seabirds so she accepted and she started to research more about the seabirds but now with actual tools.
She was so into the project that she worked about 8 years with it and Dr.Williams Smith put her in charge of the company so she worked and made a lot of people change the way they think about throwing plastic on the beach. She became so important and respected in her field that she helped the government create a new law and she raised money for a seabird care.

Science Story


There was once a girl named Lucy, she was very intelligent and hard working. Her favorite class was science because she was learning astronomy, her best-loved subject on earth. One day Lucy was looking through her telescope when she saw something odd. The girl had recently studied asteroids, and easily found out that the weird fire red colored ball was actually an asteroid. She analyzed the asteroid DA14, which as far as she knew was the one who could possibly hit the earth in 2028. She easily identified the asteroid and thought it could be DA14. But she wasn’t sure. Lucy went to bed that night thinking about what that asteroid could be.
The next morning, Lucy made the decision of telling her science teacher about the asteroid during class so her classmates could be open to suggestions. Lucy couldn’t help herself during the break; instead of waiting for her class to start, she asked Mr. Stevenson’s what his opinion was .
- Well, Lucy... by the way you are telling me it does sound like you saw an asteroid, DA14. However, it should only be visible around the end of 2017, which is very odd. We should go to the city hall report, as usual, so don’t worry, maybe it’s nothing.
Unfortunately, Mr. Stevenson was wrong. It was the asteroid DA14, and it was coming to earth before it should. The Earth was in state of emergency. If that meteor hit Earth, most of the life would be gone. What was expected was that the asteroid would go around Earth, but the calculations were wrong after all. The people had around ten years to find a solution to the problem. Lucy studied asteroids like she never thought she could.
Around five years later, Lucy found the solution to make the asteroid go away from Earth. The asteroid was around 100 million miles from Earth, which was an advantage in Lucy’s solution. Lucy’s solution was actually simpler than expected. A small spaceship would be sent to the gap between the asteroid and the Earth. The spaceship would contain a powerful bomb, which wouldn’t completely destroy the asteroid or damage Earth, but it would make the asteroid crack into little pieces. Consequently, it would melt when in contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, thanks to the heat and speed.
Months later, the spaceship was launched at top speed into the space. It happened exacly like planned. When the asteroid went towards the spaceship, the bomb exploded the asteroid. The Earth was saved.
Later on, Lucy was nominated the youngest person to get the Nobel Prize since she had saved planet Earth. Lucy helped with many other conflicts related to space, but she will always remember when she saved humankind.

Science Story

Charles Darwin's Story
                                                                  By: Mai Osawa
    Charles Darwin a scientist was born in 1809. He was always surrounded by the history family that had very strong interests in Science. In his family, there had been a successful physician and naturalist, Erasmus Darwin. His grandfather. As well as his father, Robert Darwin who has also been a successful physician. Since his mother died, he remembered his father most fondly. Following in his fathers footsteps, Charles Darwin decided to become a Physician.

In 1825, he became a medical doctor, but he found this job boring just like any other students around him. So he quickly decided to quit this job and find another one. Lanter on, he became a professional naturalist and dissector of animals. However, he found that a career as a physician was not for him.

That evening at the dining table, he and his father had a long serious talk. Charles was frustrated and disappointed because he couldn't find the job he wanted. But at the end of the discussion he and his father decided that he should pursue the life of a clergyman. A clergyman is a male priest or minister in the Christian Church, which has nothing to do with a physician. His days at Cambridge university was all about taking the same challenging classes with those who were aspiring to become a clergyman. But again, it wasn't the right career for him. After he had thrown away his dream of becoming an clergyman, Darwin became a keen observer and critical investigator in geology.

Nothing really happened until one day, he found  an irresistible job waiting for him. A couple of scientists was about to set sail in order to survey territory in South America, and conduct scientific experiments along the way. And they were looking for someone to come with them. At that moment, Darwin was desperate to get the job. He had finally found the perfect job that he was searching for his entire life. Before anyone knew, Darwin was accepted and set sail on December 27 in 1831. Darwin collected and categorized insects, flowers, and made observations on larger mammals. He came back from the trip in 1835. Even after he came back, Darwin kept on investigating and researching on transmutation. Which became a staple of Darwin's evolutionary theory. he raced to his pen and paper and wrote on his book, The Origin of Species , particularly from his memory. Many scientists and even public officials, gradually accepted Darwin's ideas on evolution.

In addition, Darwin's work was rewarded with a first day sell - out of 1250 copies. Which was a very large printing at that time. At that moment, Darsin knew he had officially accomplished his dream of becoming an scientists. However, as that time  Darwin was very, very old. And was soon buried next to another famous scientist name Isaac Newton. Until this day, Darwin has been an honored scientist that no one would ever forget.

Science Story

Jeffrey was sitting in his classroom, learning about how infections can spread, and that ‘’zombies’’ are actually possible. Next period, an announcement came on the speakers:
‘’Would everybody please evacuate the school and go home immediately. Please inform your parents that school won't be starting until everything is safe’’
What is happening? Thought Jeffery.
When he got home, he saw the news. A scientist had eaten a carrot that had been tested, and was not yet safe. As the scientist carelessly shook his unwashed hands with many people, the disease spread.

The radio was still a little broken, but that was the only way that Jeffrey and his sisters would know...''There are three types of infections for different blood types. Stated the news anchor. ''For people with blood type A, the early signs were twitching. We believe symptoms that people had become zombies.” said the scientist ” The first symptom is twitching, if you are blood type A either positive or negative, be cautious. Any signs of unusual nerve attacks might be a sign that you are chang-.” His voice died. In a few moments someone else continued. “ We call these twitchers. The second change is for blood type O. We have identified that your skin will go unusually dry. You will start feeling dehydrated and your nails will start turning black. Some of our military forces has concluded that these are the so called lizards. They can regrow body parts that are cut off. The only way to disintegrate these creatures is to throw sugar on them.” Jeffrey heard a shifting of pages “ The last creature we have encountered are the fleshers. These ones are the most horrifying. For blood type B, negative or positive, Yours nail will grow long at pointy, so that you start ripping your own skin off.” he continued. “ For the blood type AB, we have not concluded anything. No disease was able to shift this blood type. As soon as we gather more information we will announce it. ” at the very last word the radio went off…
Jeffery was a small kid, he wasn't capable of going out for food. He mourned over his parents, a few weeks ago his father went for food and never returned. As much as he resisted, his mother also went looking. She came back with piles of canned peaches and soup but no news. His mother hid in her room for a few days. That was the last memory he had. His mother left a note for everyone. She had been bitten by a twitcher and refused to hurt her children.
Kevin, the eldest son disappeared just like his father. So Jeffrey, was left with his 9 year old sisters Susie and 17 year old sister Paisley. Not only did he already know they were running out of food, but she had to complain how hungry she was. He used to like Paisley, but now she just sounded like a brat. He tried to save every bit of food they had, but that wouldn’t do much. He would have to go looking. So he packed a bat that had nails stuck to the end. He wrapped some thick cardboard around his forearm to use it as a shield.
He didnt even dare to step out of his house for a second. But what he found wasn’t that bad. The people build a community, a new one. There were no supermarkets or stores. But they built fences. The people were allowed to leave through one door. One tall lady came in with a rabit slung over her shoulder, what Jeffery was guessing where the inspectors they put a scanner right in her neck. Red light flashed until it turned green. This wasn't’’ the time to admire people’s work so he lined up on the exit line. His plan was to make a friend, someone tough that would likely be more able to catch anything. In his surprise he found more women than men. He thought in agony, probably all of the men disappeared like his father and brother. Since jobs werent really divided equally there were piles of snow everywhere. As clumsy as Jeffery was he tripped over one and fell on someone foot. with everything going on people started being more active. In extinc the girl kicked jeffery right in the stomach. He would have puked but there was nothing that could come out.
“ Im so sorry!” the small girl shrieked.
“ Im fine,” he said getting up. In his surprise she offered a hand. He thought since everything was getting more violent all the people would be too. But not to be rude he took the girls hand. He was still a little bit queasy but what distracted him was how the girl was dressed. she was small and tender, but wore black and green army style pant. Which were torn a too much to be on purpose. She had a thin black hoodie over her head despite the weather. But under that he could see knives, and a sling shot was hanging in her belt. Her brown hair was tangled in a pieces that were filled with dirt and a few leaves.
“ uh.. thanks” he studdard. The girl gave him a uncertain face, and gave him a small you're welcome under her breathe.
“Hey, keep moving” a bearded man complained. The girl rolled her eyes and moved on.
“So how long?” She asked. as awkward as he was he grunted.”how long have you been inside? You look very oily” she said. He remembered his plan to make friends but wasn't sure if this small girl could help much.
“first time out actually” he quickly added “Do you already have experience hunting?”
“Yeah, before the change I used to play around with this slingshot. Im pretty good at aiming so I started going with small knives too” she mumbled. Jeffery was good at observing feeling he could see that she didn’t like fighting. And that something happened to her family, taking out the fact that she was alone. she looked like someone who would wear puffy little dresses that had daisy prints on them.
“Could you teach me how to hunt, the only thing i have is this,” he lifted his nailed bat in shame. She was going to say something but they realized they were at the door. The expressionless guard said “please, do not return with items that might be infected. If you happen to be bitten do not return or you will be shot at the spot” he said. “move on”
Jeff later found out the girl’s name is Clarissa but she was better known as Chris. She had and older brother. In the beginning her parents tried to escape but couldn’t. She was left with her brother. But he grew ill. She said he was still alive but everyday he looked more like a ghost. This was horrible to feel but he couldn’t help to be a little more relieved. He wasn’t the only one who lost a relative. Cris taught him to aim first by throwing sticks. He tried the slingshot but ended up with a scar in his face. His bat wasn't much use unless a twitcher came. He used to hate the fact that he lived next to a forest, but now it seems like the best thing ever. Chris was able to kill a turkey. While she was aiming with her slingshot Jeff realized that she was way older than she looked. If her body grew according to her mind she would be about 19. But instead she was a babyfaced 13 year old just like Jeff.
Jeffery was kind of glad that he found a hunting partner. There was one time they just practiced climbing trees as fast as they could just in case of emergencies. But nothing appeared ever since Jeff stepped out. He never saw an infected. Until that day he came back with Chris. He heard screams from far ahead. It was inside the fence.
“climb one of the tree…” before he could finish he saw his small friend running in front of him.
“JORDAN!” she hollered. He thought of Susie and Paisley. How could he forget. He caught up to Chris.
“meet me in the main street with your brother in two minutes” Jeff was pretty sure she heard him because she ran faster. He saw his house around the block. He got his new made weapon. A pipe with scissors duct taped to the ends. And ran in that direction. The door was missing, he felt a wave of fear he might have fainted. Before he said anythign his nine year old sister ran down the stairs.
“run, Jeffy!!” she yelled.
he flung his sister in his back and did what he was told to do. But where was Paisley? did she manage to escape, she started meeting this guy a few times. Was she with him right now?

Chris didn’t come back with her brother but instead a backpack. Jeff already knew what happened, so he didn’t ask. They both ran into the forest.
“climb” she ordered. Chris had a small cut on the upper left side of her eyebrow. He dropped is sister on the snow.
“Susie, you're going to have to climb that tree, okay? Trust m...’
“LOOK OUT!!!” Chris yelled. She got Jeffery's bat and swung it on the fleshers face.
“What are you waiting for? GO” she smacked another one in the neck. Jeff made a quick belt around him and his sister, so that in case she slipped he would catch her. He started climbing the tree as quickly as possible with susie half hanging. When he looked down Chris was supporting his sister. At the top where everything was safe they stopped. He could hear lots of disturbing sound like yelling, whimpering, begging, groaning. So he tried to concentrate on Chris’s breathing. Susie hadn’t moved by the time they got up there. Dark circles were forming not only around her eyes but somewhere inside. She didn’t look sweet anymore. It’s like she put on a new mask that Jeff didn’t know about. He got her and rested her head on his chest. By the time she fell asleep Jeff did too.
He woke up with his sisters shifting. There were infected people everywhere. All of a sudden,  he heard guns and then zombies groaning and falling on the floor. There was what seemed to be a scientist and a few other people carrying big guns.
''Come with me!''the scientist said, and they ran with him to the nearest shelter.
''My name is Dr.Evans, and I accidentally caused all this'' he explained what happened at the lab.
''When this is over, i'm always going to remind myself to wash my hands and wear lab equipment. Anyway, I found a solution. There is a way to cure all the infected. I extracted some DNA from 3 of them, one for each infection, and I was able to make a cure. That's what I put in the gun.''  Jeffrey noticed that it wasn't really a gun, but it shot little viles of blue liquid.

''Well, actually I can't cure all  of them, only the ones who haven't been injured, but there are still many people that can be saved. Jeffrey thought of Paisley, and Chris' brother. ''Well then, '' said Dr.Evans, as he passed a gun to each of the kids. ''Let's cure the zombies.'