Tag Archives: Grade 9

Welcome back! Happy 2014! The Octet Rule!

Welcome back to IST and our soon-to-be fun-filled chemistry unit! In this post, I’ve linked to several helpful tools for understanding the way electrons are arranged around the nuclei of atoms, and how those arrangements impact ionic charges as well as bonding patterns among elements.

This PDF presentation from DentonISD.org explains the use of Lewis-dot diagrams to show valence electrons. It’s simple, clear, and easy to follow.

The video tutorial below clearly explains how valence electrons determine ionic charges and, therefore, bonding patterns. It’s based on the Octet rule, which is one of the most important concepts you’ll need to know from this unit.

This interactive animation from Oklahoma State University builds on the previous video to show the relative energies of electron shells around atomic nuclei. If you play around with it for a little while, you should start to see some pretty clear patterns emerge.

The Crash Course Science video below explains a lot about the movement and arrangement of electrons in atoms. Most of the video is relevant to our unit, but some of it won’t be covered until next year’s chemistry sequence. Nevertheless, it’s worth a watch and quite entertaining.

One last video. This one’s mostly for entertainment value, but it is in fact scientifically accurate.

What’s on the 9th-Grade Biology Test?

We are 1 week from the summative unit test in grade 9 science, which means it’s time to start revising. Here’s a list of the major topics you’re likely to find on the test.

  • Cell structure and function
  • Plant vs animal
  • Biological molecules
  • Energy flow through ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles within ecosystems
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Food webs
  • Levels of organization
  • Trophic levels

There will be several skills assessed on the test: recalling scientific facts (vocabulary and definitions, labeling diagrams), explaining scientific concepts, analyzing results, and evaluating trends in experimental data. Make sure you know this stuff well!

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The Ivory Trade, Organized Crime, and Questions About the Effectiveness of CITES

I’ve posted this first article before – from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime – which outlines the links between ivory from east Africa and narcotics in Asia. The embedded version is the short one, and the full version is available to download here: Ivory and Organized Crime in East Africa.PDF

The following item is a dissertation research paper by Justine Braby, an Environmental Law Postgraduate candidate at the University of Cape Town. In it, she examines how effective the CITES ban on ivory has been since implemented. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, a global framework for reducing and/or eliminating the trade in all endangered organisms for commercial gain. The CITES website has a lot of very specific information directly relating to the ESS Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity, as well as the Grade 9 poaching project. I recommend you check out both the articles posted here, as well as the CITES page.

Western Black Rhino Officially Extinct – IUCN

A sad day for conservationists, as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declares the Western Black Rhino officially extinct.

Western Black Rhino -R.I.P. (Image credit: www.skullappreciationsociety.com)

Western Black Rhino -R.I.P. (Image credit: www.skullappreciationsociety.com)

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Effects of Poaching on People and the Environment

The University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology released this study a few years ago, detailing the impact of poaching on elephant populations in Mikumi and Amboseli.

Graphic from University of Washington's Center for Conservation Biology

Graphic credit: University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology

I post this link for several reasons:

  1. The topic is clearly relevant to both the grade 9 biology unit, as well as ESS’s Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity.
  2. The study was carried out in conjunction with Sokoine University in Morogoro, just a couple of hours from here.
  3. The targeted areas are Mikumi National Park in Tanzania and Amboseli in Kenya, so it’s entirely relevant to where we live.
  4. The inclusion of simple graphs with the article complement and support the written work of the authors, and it can serve as an example to you students about how to use visual aids in your scientific writing.
  5. Follow the ‘Research Programs’ and ‘Elephants’ tabs to see how DNA analysis is being used to track poached ivory.
  6. I like the graphic at the top of the page.

I also found this 2006 document from the World Wildlife Fund – the Wildlife Trade Factsheet 2006.PDF – which “is designed to give a broad overview of the environmental harm that illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade can cause, and to give examples of WWF and TRAFFIC’s work and solutions on the ground.”  (www.panda.org)

WWF Image Credit: Martin Harvey

WWF Image Credit: Martin Harvey

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Ivory Confiscated in Mikocheni – 200 Elephants Dead

While I was at the AMMUN conference in Jordan, IPP media published this article about a recent ivory haul in Mikocheni, just a few blocks from my house in Dar es Salaam. Police uncovered more than 700 pieces of ivory, “representing more than 200 tuskers killed,” according to the newspaper’s sources.

I post this link because I want you to realize that poaching isn’t just something that happens ‘out there’ in the bush. It is inherently linked to the trade and economy of Dar es Salaam, and it is happening in our neighborhoods. You probably sit next to someone who is somehow involved in poaching each time you’re stuck in one of Dar’s famous traffic jams.

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