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Know Learn Apply

I have learned about the carbon cycle in elementary school. I was taught the basics about photosynthesis and respiration. As I got older I would learn a little more about it but my teachers did not spend too much time going over it. For my college biology courses, I learned about photosynthesis and respiration but not about how carbon is cycled through them. Due to the time constraints and pressures of getting through required chapters for the semester, my professors would highlight what they felt was important for us to learn. The carbon cycle was not one of them.

One thing I found out about myself this semester is I love doing research on anything new. I do this in all aspects of my life. Whenever I am buying something, I find myself on the internet for hours making sure I could find it at the best price and quality. Before starting this course, I did a lot of research on what the carbon cycle is. I did not really understand everything but at least having some knowledge wouldn’t hurt. When the course first started, I had no idea how important carbon was to our environment. I’ve taken organic chemistry and learned all about carbon molecules and what other molecules they bind with. Throughout this course I have been able to relate it to my everyday life and I am able to teach family and friends about it. I learned that carbon we use carbon all day every day. I finally understood the meaning of a carbon footprint and I have been more conscious about lowering my carbon footprint. Before calculating my carbon footprint, I would leave a few on my lights on, let my shower water run for at least 3 minutes before I would get in, most of my appliances would stay plugged into the outlet all day. Now I try to remember to turn off any lights or appliances that are not in use. I usually walk to school but now I also walk to and from the supermarket unless I have heavy items.

At first I felt that teaching highschool students about the carbon cycle would be an impossible task because not every students may feel that it is interesting. As I gained more knowledge and started to care more about our carbon output, I realized that it would not be as impossible as I once thought. When you are passionate about a topic, others will see it and will pay attention to you. Using technology as a teaching tool was a great help. Usually when students learn everything is centered around the teacher. The teacher would give a lecture and also give the students the materials needed to learn a topic (Kolikant,2012). I believe that it is important for a student to gain hands-on experience with a topic so that they could have a better understanding of it. When I taught my students, I engaged them throughout my presentation so that I could gauge their understanding. Using my powerpoint presentation, I used some animations and visuals so that the lecture would not be so dry. When teaching the carbon cycle it is important to speak about the basics, such as the carbon reservoirs, the regulating processes and carbon sources. It is also important to speak about why you and other people should care. You can talk about a subject until you are blue in the face but if you do not show that you care about it, others will not care as well.

After this class is done, I plan to use what I have learned on a daily basis. My mother loves hearing about what I learn in this course. I have already taught them about what a carbon footprint is and how they can decrease theirs. Since my career will be in healthcare, I plan to teach my future patients about how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and better eating habits.

I found a video about Chevron dontating over $100 million to schools for science education. This touched me because I remember my love of science started with an elementary school teacher who let my class do really interesting experiments. She taught us to think outside of the box and that there are many ways to get a correct answer. I plan to use that lesson when I become a physician.

Work Cited

Ben-David Kolikant, Yifat. “Using ICT for School Purposes: Is there a Student-School Disconnect?” Computers & Education 59.3 (2012): 907-14.


Super Crabs Could Disrupt Chesapeake Bay’s Ecosystem|main5|dl6|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D296086

Coined super crabs, the ocean dwellers bulking up as a result of the waters’ high levels of carbon pollution have anything but a hero’s story

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Blog Reflection: ReCyCLiNg!!!!


On April 1, 2013 we had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Nancy Drumheller about recycling. She is the Public Information Coordinator. I was interested in listening to her presentation since I usually recycle.  I also took the Environmental Pollution course so I had some idea about what can and cannot be recycled in the Greater Richmond area.  Mrs. Drumheller engaged all of us during her presentation and presented some facts I already knew, for example the different classes of plastic. I was surprised to find out that each person creates 4.43 pounds of garbage every day. I had to think long and hard about what I used over the past few days. I could not believe that every day I threw away 4.43 pounds of cash. The most interesting part of the presentation was learning about what a landfill was, how it operates and what happened when it reached its capacity. I liked that the CVWMA took initiative in getting people more interested in recycling.  I thought that if more people knew the benefits of recycling then more people would not feel that it is a chore.  Many individuals in the 18-25 age bracket  feel that recycling is a chore. Also not everyone knows what you can and cannot recycle. For example the CVWMA does not accept pizza boxes with grease stains on them since they cannot be reused. After learning this fact, I now throw away my pizza box in the regular trash. Another reason why those who are 18-25 may not recycle could be because they would have to drop-off their trash instead of having curbside service due to where they live (BioCycle,1996).

An incentive program may be a great solution to encourage people to participate. However, this would not be enough. We watched an informative video on the types of recycling programs offered by CVWMA. They are curbside recycling, drop-off service, and electronics recycling. It looked so simple and easy and I wondered why more people don’t take more advantage of this? One suggestion could be to make a commercial that shows shock value. When people see the dangers of not recycling and the impact it could have on us and our environment on the long run, then maybe this would encourage people to recycle more.

If we had time in our schedule, we could have a class trip to the landfill to see how it operates.  I’ve always been a little curious to know how out trash gets recycled and what new products they could be made into.

Coca Cola Recycling<—I love Coca Cola so I thought watching a video on what happens to all the cans I drink was insightful.

R.S. Filling the gaps with dropoff recycling. Biocycle [serial online]. September 1996;37(9):36. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed April 9, 2013.





Blog Reflection: Data Analysis/Excel Presentation Follow-Up

Last Friday, Emily and I did the Data Analysis/Excel presentation. To be honest this was not one of my better presentations. I guess the strength of our presentation was the fact that we were able to keep pushing through our presentation regardless of how many mistakes were made throughout our talk. Our weaknesses were we were not as prepared as we thought. Emily and I practiced for a few days prior to our presentation. We divided up the slides we felt that we were most confident on and then reviewed how to do the excel portion. I have used excel before and I thought it would be a piece of cake to be able to walk the rest of the class through it. The reality was I needed to practice how to teach it more. I also need to use the slides since they are a great tool in explaining how to use excel. I know that I need to not assume that my audience knows what I am talking about. Eric gave us a great tip: Pretend that there are 5 students who missed the carbon cycle lecture and try to catch them up to speed in 5 minutes. I know that will be a challenge for me but I am up to the task. I have already done a presentation of the data analysis with my mother and brother and it was much smoother than when I presented on Friday. Another challenge we have is to do the data analysis presentation without a partner. I like the idea of having a partner since there is a lot to do for this presentation. However, we will still have help the day we are teaching the highschool students anyway.

Mariah and Luke did their presentation first and their presentation was not as disastrous as Emily and I. They divided their presentation like we did but theirs was definitely smoother. They were able to explain the slides and walk us through excel without many corrections. We all have improvements to make but I’m confident we will all improve on our excel skills.

Simon Mills article “Who’s A Smartie??” gave me more insight on how to engage the students in using excel.Mills used an interactive white boards which helped him involve his students in making graphs and using excel.  One point that stood out to me was making a connection with the activity and the students. I realized that I have to know the data analysis/excel as thoroughly as possible   and also be interested in what I am presenting. When I show interest then the students will not feel that what I am saying is boring.