Friday, May 12, 2017

A Little Evaluation of the Lifestyle of Learning Revisited

We are just weeks away from the end of another academic year.
We are weeks away from Maceo having completed his junior year and Bishop having completed his sophomore year.  Another year nearly done.  It is time to evaluate what we have done and map where we are going.  I have been spending a considerable amount of time working on their records so as to develop transcripts.  During the course of this process my attention has been drawn to an entry made a couple of years ago, A Little Evaluation of the Lifestyle of Learning.  In this post I admitted our failure at getting through a Biology textbook that Bishop had determined to complete during his eighth grade year.  However, I also shared that I had found that he had made significant progress in attaining knowledge that was in line with that offered up in the textbook by simply pursuing things that interested him.  I now, two years later, want to revisit that subject matter; I want to revise, update that post.  
The text in white is the original text noting what he had accomplished during his eighth grade year as he was intentionally pursuing the study of biology.  His accomplishments during the last two years, his freshman and sophomore years, are indicated in green.  One caveat:  Bishop does a considerable amount of independent study and I do not know everything he has studied.  I oftentimes get an indication during the course of a conversation; however, I do not know all that he has learned and, therefore, have to admit that this list is not comprehensive.

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Biology, related terms, the use of the microscope, the scientific method and the classification system:  
He read this chapter of the textbook.  He studied the classification system at a science center.  He read the chapter on Leeuwenhoek in Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif.  He learned how to use the microscope and make slides and proceeded to examine a host of items from around the house.  He read the chapter on Spallananzi in Microbe Hunters.
He gained more experience using the microscope as he routinely examined slides during his course of study.

Chapter 2 - Kingdom Monera: 
He read this chapter in the textbook.  He collected samples of pond water, made cultures then examined them under the microscope.
We discussed why viruses aren't in Kingdom Monera.  We looked at a variety of diseases caused by pathogen bacteria, and, yes, viruses.  We studied epidemiology and watched the movie Outbreak.

Chapter 3 - Kingdom Protista:
He read this chapter in the textbook.
He experimented with yeast and the fermentation process.

Chapter 4 - Kingdom Fungi:
He participated in a lichen survey sponsored by our city.  He did a mushroom walk.
He attended a 2 1/2 hour presentation on fungus at the nature center.

Chapter 5 - The Chemistry of Life: Atoms, Matter, Molecules, DNA:
He was given an introduction of DNA at a local science center.  He extracted DNA from an onion.  He made a model of a DNA strand.
He toured a DNA lab.  He has researched atoms, matter and molecules.

Chapter 6 - The Cell:
He learned the anatomy of the cell, diagrammed a cell illustration and made a model.

Chapter 7 - Cellular Reproduction:
He read about mitosis and meiosis.  He researched the question "Are viruses alive?"

Chapter 8 - Genetics:
He researched and we discussed genetics.  We sought to answer questions such as, "Can mixed race twins have different skin colors?  Yes.  Seven different genes determine skin color.  He researched albinism and melanism in both humans and animals.

Chapter 9 - Evolution:
This is one of those subjects that are presented consistently in our culture.  Bishop has watched countless biology related shows and they all speak of evolution.  We have had numerous discussions about the distinction between microevolution and macroevolution.
He viewed the evolution/human origins exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and another exhibit at our library which was a touring exhibit by the Smithsonian.  He further researched and we discussed evolution, microevolution and adaptation.  He attended a really dynamic presentation on evolution at an Audubon Society meeting.

Chapter 10 - Ecosystems:
He researched ecosystems/biomes with his nature study group.  He used a pin map to identify the various biomes of the world.  He did an ecosystem project with his nature study group that involved attempting to create self-sustaining mini-ecosystems.  He attended a lecture on endangered species.  He earned the environmental science merit badge.  He took a class regarding ecosystems at a local science center.  He made a terrarium.  He researched products of the rainforest.  He took a field trip to to the St. Louis zoo and identified the biomes that the animals live in naturally.  He took a field trip to our local zoo and sought out every endangered species and identified the biomes that the animals naturally reside in.
He listened to a recorded ecology lecture.  He participated in a macroinvertebrate study intended to help determine water quality.  He toured our watershed and saw a watershed exhibit at a local science center.

Chapter 11 - The Invertebrates of the Kingdom Animalia:
Twice he dissected a squid at a local science center.  He took a field trip to an aquarium and observed jellyfish and other invertebrates.
He visited and made observations at the Tulsa Aquarium, Albuquerque Aquarium and Kansas City Aquarium.

Chapter 12 - Phylum Arthropoda to include Class Insecta:
He earned the insect studies merit badge.  He took a field trip to The Butterfly Palace.  He identified and observed Carpenter Bees.
He tagged Monarch butterflies.  He watched Flight of the Butterflies at the IMAX.  He has watched many shows and has observed spiders and insects.  He has observed termites at work at a local science center.  He visited the insect zoo at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  He visited the Ralph Foster Museum and observed their collection of pinned insects.

Chapter 13 - Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebra:
He dissected a fish and a frog at a local science center.  He can distinguish between exoskeleton and endoskeleton.  He studied the composition of bone and made a model.  He studied the closed circulatory system.  He has observed sharks, rays, and skates, among other marine vertebrates at an aquarium.
He visited and made observations at the Tulsa Aquarium, Albuquerque Aquarium and Kansas City Aquarium.  He visited the Ocean Hall in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  He toured the fish holding tanks at Wonders of Wildlife and attended a special class at this science center on fish.  Using a CD, he tried to learn some frog and toad calls.

Chapter 14 - Kingdom Plantae Anatomy and Classification:
He earned the forestry merit badge.
He visited the Tulsa Garden Center and our local botanical garden and demonstration gardens; we took particular note of the scented geraniums.  He has learned about perennial, annual and biennial plants.  He has learned about the process of photosynthesis and has explored why most leaves are green.  He has demonstrated understanding of the anatomy of a plant.  He examined the botany related exhibits at the George Washington Carver National Monument.  He has read books about George Washington Carver and his impact on farming and uses for plants.

Chapter 15 - Kingdom Plantae Physiology and Reproduction:
He has demonstrated understanding of the variety of ways that plants can reproduce, both sexually and asexually.

Chapter 16 - Reptiles, Birds and Mammals:
He dissected a rat at a local science center.  He took a class on comparative anatomy and dissected a pig at a local science center.  He earned the mammal study merit badge.  He took a field trip to a local museum that had an exhibition of Audubon's depictions of mammals.  He took a field trip to a tiger sanctuary.  He took a field trip to Exotic Animal Paradise where he actually got to feed the tigers.  He attended programs offering introductory information on birds and bird identification.  He attended a warbler walk in which an ornithologist presented information about warblers that might be in our area then led us on a walk helping us identify a variety of birds.  He has researched birds in hopes that he will own one as a pet one day.  He has helped care for the chicks and hens.  He has read countless books and has seen countless movies and shows on reptiles, birds and mammals.  He has identified a number of snakes.  He has handled snakes and has researched what it would be required of him to own snakes.  As part of his research on snake ownership he watched many videos produced by snake breeders.
He researched and compared human brains, orca brains, rat brains, bird brains, etc.  He researched albinism and melanism in humans and animals.  He visited the bones and mammal galleries at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  He studied the various systems of the human body, making models of most of them.  He dissected a sheep's heart and examined a sheep pluck.  He dissected a cow's eye.  He studied the composition of blood, did his blood typing, and did a blood compatibility activity.  He examined lung tissue, striated muscle tissue, smooth muscle tissue, etc with the microscope.  he observed and counted swifts with the Audubon Society.  With the Audubon Society he went on a warbler walk at the watershed looking for fall migrating warblers.  He had the opportunity to observe a opossum up close and personal.  Using a large skeleton collection he participated in comparative anatomy studies.  At a local science center he studied nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular animals.  He took a class on animal senses at a local science center.  He attended a presentation on the wildlife of Yellowstone sponsored by the Audubon Society.  He has acquired extensive knowledge on dogs and their history of domestication and breeding.  He examined a slide of a chick embryo.  At a local science center he examined an amazing exhibit on bird embryology.  He has examined the skeletal structure of birds and their bone construction and compared to other creatures.  He can identify a variety of snakes and can identify whether they are venomous or nonvenomous.  He has been to several different zoo's many times to identify and observe animals.  He participated in a program at our zoo that allowed him to be a zookeeper for a day and he fed the warthogs.  He examined the skull collection and the collection of taxidermied animals at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  He visited the Ralph Foster Museum and viewed their extensive collection of taxidermied animals; the birds were an amazing collection.  He earned the mammal study merit badge.

Not bad for just living an interesting life, is it?

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