During Season 6, Team AP Bio learned many fascinating things about about Cell Signaling, Mitosis, and Meiosis! We also had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Face the Future game.
To start this season off, we investigated and solved the mystery of Tessa Wright’s dog in “My Dog is Broken: A Case Study in Cell Signaling.” During this, we studied the steps of signal transduction pathways and Vasodilation in order to find out why a dog was having trouble — as Tessa put it — “preforming” sexually. We investigated the workings of cell signaling, what was wrong with the dog, and also learned about how some possible cures (Viagra, which deactivates PDE5 — an inhibitor that prevents the proper sequestering of Ca+ ions and therefore induces Vasoconstriction; and Ginseng, which increases NO produced in local area) could help the dog. This was a very interactive and motivating way to learn about cell signaling — after all, who wouldn’t want to help a cute little puppy?
We also played the Face the Future game! For an additional reflection on this game, feel free to look at my other blog post about Face the Future. Face the Future is a game in which players must critically think about a future where people can feel the emotions of other people. Using this mass-participation online game, we were able to communicate ideas and thoughts with people from all over the world and actively prepare ourselves for a possible future! I think that this was an amazing game to play because it gave us the opportunity to think outside of the box and look at both positive and negative effects of something that could happen very soon. In the words of Jane McGonigal, a creator of this game, “Thinking about the future today prepares us to make history tomorrow.”
Next up in Season 6, we did some observational sketching to get us used to microscopes and observing cells! This prepared us for our next activity — the Observing Mitosis Lab. You can look at my lab write-up here. During this, we counted how many cells were in each stage of the cell cycle so that we could determine how much average time cells spend in each stage. This not only helped us better learn the stages of mitosis, but it also got us familiar with using microscopes and identifying what stages of the cell cycle look like in real cells!
Lastly, we made videos about meiosis! You can check out my video here. In these videos, we had to make diagrams of cells that showed movement. To do this, many of us made stop-motion films. I think this was an amazing project to do because making stop-motion videos means that you have to move every
single thing and pay attention to the step-by-step details of the process. I think I can speak for the whole class when I say that this certainly made sure that we will never ever forget the stages of meiosis!
Overall, this season was about cell signaling, mitosis, and meiosis. Throw in a cute dog and a game about empathy and you have the recipe for another season of AP Bio full of learning and creating!