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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.


Blog Reflection: Future Healthcare Provider

So far I have learned a lot about myself while attending the CAP course. When I first came in I was apprehensive about what I had to learn and the fact that I would be giving presentations throughout the course. I approached the course with a positive attitude and was put at ease by the few instructors that we have. I know that with my goal of working in the healthcare field that I would constantly be talking to a room of my peers and/or patients. My goal is to become a physician. I’ve known I wanted to become one since I was four years old. I love science and I love problem solving but I detested public speaking. This class has helped me to approach speaking in public not as a burden but as an interesting exercise. Our instructors gave us students tools on how to make an interesting and interactive presentation. When I had to give a mock presentation to my class, I was given critical feedback on how to make my presentation better. I have learned that the best way to make sure I know a topic is to be able to teach it to someone else who has no clue as to what you are speaking of. I learned that I am good at articulating my point. By relaxing more, I am able to let my personality shine through and in turn this makes others more comfortable around me and listen to what I have to say. I’ve also learned not to talk at someone but to relate something to them so that they have a better understanding of what I am speaking of.

Over the next few months I will be preparing to take the MCATs, finish up my medical school applications, and going on interviews. The interview process is very important because this is where admissions officers get to know who I am as a person and not just what I put on paper. With what I have learned in this class, I feel more confident with marketing myself and showing the admissions officer that I belong at their school.

After graduating medical school I want to be a family doctor. I would like to implement a healthy living program for families in my hometown that would be simple and fun to follow. Learning about the carbon cycle and the simple steps we can take to decrease our carbon output, I would like to teach others that they do not have to give up their material possessions but that they can use it in more energy efficient ways. I believe that it is important for children to learn at an early age how they can not only live a healthy life but help to maintain their environment. Once it is instilled in them, then it would be second nature to them.


I found an article by Demark and Becker called “The doctor-patient relationshipand counseling for preventative care” that spoke on the emphasis of having a good rapport between a doctor an patient. This article encourages doctors to be able to provide better counseling on a disease a patient has and to find ways to help the patient cope and live a healthier lifestyle. I believe it is very important for a doctor to be able to relate to their patients. You do not necessarily need to have a similiar background but at least show that you do care no matter how outlandish the situation is. I hope to demonstrate this when I finally become a physician.

Here is a link to the article: The doctor-patient relationship and counseling for preventive care





Carbon Cycling in the News

Most recently I learned about the Forward on Climate Rally in Washington,D.C. I was made aware of this on the news and by Mariah as well. I thought this was pretty interesting because I did not know so much about the pipeline. I was under the impression that it would be built in Canada and run up to Nebraska and it would be a safe and beneficial way to transport oil. This coming from TransCanada. The State Department supports TransCanada by saying that there is no major danger with the pipeline being built. However, after I read about both sides of the argument, I realized that this pipeline is not safe and would cause major damage. Also this would cause people along the pipeline route to lose their homes and farmers could lose their crops. Bill McKibben of used an interesting term to describe the pipeline as “one of the planet’s biggest carbon bombs”. Now that was a really intense way to describe it but I agree. If this pipeline were to break, this could cause an abundant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and pose more threats to our environment. This actually would be a great addition to my presentation because since this is an ongoing issue, the highschool students are more likely to care about it and do their own research about it.

Jamie Henn, the Co-Founder and Communications Director of, wrote a blog about the rally and he had an interesting perspective on it. Reading his blog made me wish that I attended the rally. He described that the rally was able to unite most of the environmental organizations all over the nation. It’s amazing to see children are able to understand what is going on and take a stand on climate change. People of different races and ethnic backgrounds are able to come together peacefully and urge the President to uphold his promises to decrease climate change and endorse green energy.

Here is the link to the Forward on Climate Rally:

‘Forward On Climate’ Rally Brings Climate Change Activists To National Mall In Washington, D.C.

Here is the Link to Jamie Henn’s Blog:

40,000+ Join ‘Forward on Climate’ Rally in Washington, DC

Here is a link to TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline project:

Keystone XL Pipeline Progect

Forward on Climate Rally

Forward on Climate Rally


Blog Reflection: Misconceptions in Science

Last Friday we heard a presentation from Dr. Edmondson about Misconceptions in Science. I actually enjoyed her presentation because I never realized how many misconceptions there are in science. There was an exercise that was done at the beginning which tested our knowledge on basic science questions. My partner, Emily and I only got 1 question wrong! The point of the exercise was to recognize that we must be careful in the way we state facts. Since us undergraduate students will be teaching the Carbon Cycle to highschool students, it is imperative that we properly communicate the information with them. The video about the Harvard University graduates who could not answer a simple question about how an acorn becomes a log was very interesting. Harvard is an institution that has mainly the best and the brightest students. To see that these intellectuals were unable to answer the question was very shocking and puzzling. The video also had professors from various universities who all agreed that our misconception about scientific facts starts as early as elementary school. If we are not able to grasp the information at an early age, then it will be difficult to understand the proper information as we get older.

I was not too surprised about the misconceptions because I realized that I had some before I started Carbon Capstone. I have found that I am getting better at using the proper phrases on explaining the Carbon Cycle. Now I know that in order to have a great presentation I need to engage the class in conversation. Dr. Edmondson gave out a checklist which I deemed to be very helpful. The checklist is called Goals for Productive Discussions and Nine Talk Moves. This is very helpful for me to be able to get the students thinking and challenge them to form their own ideas about the concepts. Another helpful tip was to ask students at the beginning of my presentation about their ideas on the Carbon Cycle so that I could gauge their level of understanding. One question I had was what should I do in case a student asked me a question that I did not know the answer to. Dr. Edmondson gave a great tip which I would definitely use. Her tip was to put the question back on to the students and not to admit that I do not know the answer. This was a very clever idea. One part of the presentation of the that would help the highschool students would be the using the chemical kits on the mesocosms at the Rice Center.

There is an interesting article about misconceptions of biology concepts called “Determination of student misconceptions in “photosynthesis and respiration” unit and correcting them with the help of cai material” by by Esra Keles and Pinar Kefeli (2010). Keles and Kefeli state that using computer assisted instruction would decrease misconceptions on photosynthesis and respiration. It was very similar to Dr. Edmondson’s presentation. However, the only difference was using computer animations and on-screen tutors to capture the students’ attention. This could be a helpful solution, however, it could cause teachers to fully rely on the computer and not their own knowledge about the topic.

Here’s the link to this article

Photosynthesis cartoon

Photosynthesis cartoon 2


Blog Reflection: Plumbing the Global Carbon Cycle

This week’s article reflection is on “Plumbing the Global Carbon Cycle” by Cole et al. The main point of the article is to present a budget on the net impact inland waters have on the world’s carbon cycle. For years, carbon measurements were taken from the atmosphere, land and ocean. The only time inland waters were measured, it would be to track the amount of carbon flowing through a riverine pipe. Inland waters have been neglected until now. Inland waters have had double the amount of carbon that was found in ocean and land combined (Cole et al, 2007).

So what does an inland water if it is not the ocean? Well let’s re-cap. Inland waters include lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater.  So why haven’t these waters been addressed? Well it has been difficult to measure carbon due to some river, streams and reservoirs are too small to measure, lack of materials and insufficient funding. Globally only carbon from large rivers, lakes reservoirs, etc., have been calculated.

I found it interesting that methane was included in this article. I did not realize that there are lakes and wetlands that emit methane. Methane has been a major cause of global warming. Cole et al suggest that methane be included in this article since there are low amounts of oxygen in aquatic ecosystems. My question was why include methane when this article should primarily focus on why inland waters should be accounted for in the global carbon cycle. Another question is have is how soon can we find out the major impacts inland ecosystem estimations could be made?

Now Figure 1a,b show how the global carbon cycle is viewed (Cole et al, 2007). 1a shows inland ecosystems as a connection between land and ocean with no major influence. 1b shows inland ecosystems as a functional component of the carbon cycle. Inland waters in this picture would store sediment flowing from the land and emit CO2 into the atmosphere. I liked the depiction of inland waters because when I started this class, this was exactly what my view was.

So why should you care? Well first let’s start with what the carbon cycle is. The carbon cycle involves two processes: photosynthesis and respiration. In photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 into their cells, along with light and energy and break it down (oxidize) the molecules to make sugar, energy and oxygen. This oxygen is released into the atmosphere. We breathe O2 in and oxidize this along with sugar to make CO2 and water. This process is called cellular respiration. After we exhale CO2 then the carbon cycle begins again. Now when carbon levels are able to be measured properly from not only land, ocean and the atmosphere but inlands as well, then we would be able to find ways to better preserve them. Inland ecosystems are able to contribute a lot to the carbon cycle if we gave them a chance.

Some terms that I needed to look up were:
Riverine-adj- of or pertaining to a river; situated or dwelling beside a river (
Peatland-wetlands with a thick water-logged organic soil layer (peat) made up of dead and decaying plant material. Examples: moors, boogs or mires. (
Fluvial-produced by or found in a river (

I found an interesting article called “Review: From multi-scale conceptualization to a classification system” by Bertrand et al. This article was about the need for groundwater-dependant ecosystems. GDEs are important for species that need seasonal or continuous water flow for survival. This article could be linked to the Plumbing global carbon cycle article because there has been insufficient estimations of the amount of carbon there is in groundwater ecosystems.

Here is the link to the article From multi-scale conceptualization to a classification system

Carbon Cartoon

for inland groundwater-dependent ecosystems


Boundless Carbon Cycle: Reflection

This weeks article talks about where carbon is found most abundant. Now we all know that carbon can be found in bodies of water, on land or in the air that we breath.  However, the authors of this article seek to bring attention to that fact that inland waters, such as wetlands, ponds,or lakes, carry a great amount of carbon. One of the major contributors of this is climate change. One example the article gives is a storm. A rain storm will wash away soil from the land, which has carbon in it, and carry it to inland waters. These carbon deposits will build up over time and cause the carbon sinks in inland waters to increase. Two approaches to this explanation are the top down and bottom up estimation. The top down estimation describes the balance of carbon in our atmosphere. The inverse model is used to calculate past carbon deposits on land and oceans. It is also used to determine the amount of carbon dioxide is in the air. The downside to this method is that the inverse model is unable to calculate the amount of carbon is in inland waters. The bottom up method calculates carbon deposits only on land. Inland waters are again neglected except for reservoirs. Since both estimations neglect to take into account the amount of carbon sinks in inland waters, there is no definitive calculation of carbon on land, in water or in the air. More attention should be focused on using updated methods to calculating carbon sinks in inland waters as well as extreme areas of climate, like Antarctica.

Carbon Cycle in Arctic Tundra

Carbon Cycle in Arctic Tundra

Ozzy Ozone <–Cool Bonus Video


CAP Beginnings

Hello Everyone& Welcome to my new blog!

I have recently joined a course called Carbon Capstone. This course is about learning more about what carbon is and how it affects our environment. I’ve never had to blog for a class before so this is a new and interesting experience for me. I’ve learned about carbon before since I am majoring in Biology. I’ve learned the basics about it. I would like to learn more about why we need it so much and if there is a way we can preserve it. I’m most nervous about teaching a highschool students about it. Why? Speaking in public has always made me a little nervous but I’m sure with a lot of practice it will be more natural for me.

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