Sunday, February 5, 2017

Diving into DNA: Weekly Reflection for the Week of January 30th through February 3rd

Weekly Standard: 4.1

How did you do on the work?
I feel as though it did well on the work this week.  We spent several class periods this week working on an argumentative project in which we were to determine whether or not a man, Jeff, who was claiming to be the long lost child of a family, was actually a part of that family based on what we have learned about the heritability of DNA.  I think I did well in this activity, and my group worked well to discuss the data we were given and reach a conclusion that we could support.  This week we also did Vodcasts 4.1 and 4.2 which went well.  I could answer most of the questions based on the vodcasts, although there were a few that I had to consult outside sources on.

What do you think you understand well?
I think I have a pretty solid grasp on DNA theory and the contents of Vodcast 4.1 discussing the reasoning and experiments that lead to the discovery of DNA and its structure.  I also feel like I understand the process of DNA transcription which made up the second part of Vodcast 4.2 pretty well, as the idea of the DNA being copied into RNA molecules makes sense to me.  I feel like for this function of DNA all of the pieces, such as the promoters and different enzymes make a lot of sense to me.

Where do you think you could improve?
I feel like I need to spend more time on the process of DNA replication, as that has been an area that I have never been super solid on, even way back in sophomore biology.  The two strands thing has always been a bit confusing to me, and although I understand the concept of the leading versus lagging strand and the differences that those cause in the replication process, I have trouble to visualize the process actually happening, and visualization is something that is important for my process of understanding and remembering information.

What strategies will you use to improve?
One thing that I can do to help me better understand the process of DNA replication is finding a video online that shows a simulation of the process. These types of videos are very helpful to me because they take all the words and information that I have in my head right now and give them an image to go along with, one that shows the movement through the cycle.

How does the work we are doing fit into the context/narrative of this course?
Our first unit this year was on evolution and the different mechanisms by which organisms evolve.  DNA is highly tied into the idea of evolution because it is certain genetic qualities that give certain organisms a leg-up over others.  Going deeper into this unit will give us a more in-depth understanding of not only the function of DNA inside ourselves and the life around us, but also in the greater scheme of populations and speciation.

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