KS4 (14-16)

Rare Disease Day 2012

Raise and hold hands at 12 noon today and show your Solidarity with rare disease patients around the world.

The main purpose of Rare Disease Day is to make more people aware of the 6000 – 8000 rare diseases that affect people around the world. A rare disease is one that affects less than 1 in 2000 people; most are life threatening and the majority have no cure. More

Chemistry speed dating

Using anthropomorphism is a really useful technique when it comes to teaching the more challenging concepts in chemistry.

After all, atoms behave just like people in a lot of ways, including matters of love.

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Cell alchemy

Credit: Karin Pierre, Institut de Physiologie, UNIL, Lausanne.

The story

Researchers in California have successfully converted mouse skin cells into brain cells, eliminating the need for stem cells.

It is hoped that the same procedure could be carried out on human cells, bringing the possibility of stem cell therapy for conditions such as Alzheimer’s closer to reality.

This is a great story to use in a GCSE lesson on stem cells. Students could discuss why this is a better alternative to using those from embryos.

Weblinks

BBC news story

Great stem cell teaching resources from the Learn Genetics website.

 

Global warming in fast-forward

This video comes courtesy of NASA and shows how global temperatures have changed over the last 131 years.  It would make a great starter to any lesson on climate change.  You can clearly see that temperatures started to showed a significance increase from the 1970s due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, industry and vehicles. Students could be asked to spot this trend and come up with an explanation for it.

Spider-goat, spider-goat…

Credit: the prodigal untitled13 @ Flickr

…does whatever a spider-goat does.

Can she swing

from a web?

No she can’t

she’s a goat…

…however, she can produce spider silk proteins in her milk.

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The father of genetics

This is a great video about Gregor Mendel and his work – a topic found in most GCSE science specifications.

It was produced by Nottingham Trent University for their ‘My favourite scientist’ project.  You can find videos about other scientists on their website.

Hamster Power

Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

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Counting the animals

Credit: Shopping Diva at Flickr

The story

Today sees the start of London zoo’s annual stock-take where the numbers of each species are counted. This task maybe a quick job for the keepers of the big cats or large reptiles but spare a thought for the invertebrate keepers, counting every butterfly could keep them occupied for up to 4 weeks.

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Mega-crabs

 

This spooky video shows the giant red crab which have invaded Antarctic waters due to increased water temperatures: an example of how changes in non-living factors can alter the distribution of organisms.  This invasive species has the potential to destroy the delicately balanced food webs in this ecosystem.

Snakes Alive!

The story

Remember, remember the 5th of November…

But does anyone remember the indoor fireworks that were so popular when I was growing up? More

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