This page contains information about important things, such as notes, spreadsheet examples, web guides, and some general notes about class that I share. These entries will help students and parents follow what's happening in Physical Science so they can discuss assignments with students and ask them about their progress on particular projects and so on.
If you have questions or concerns, you can e-mail me at

9-3 Tue

Welcome back to school! In the first few days of class, we will be covering needed materials and classroom expectations.
First of all, items that will be needed for class are:
  • Pens and pencils
  • Loose-leaf paper (or notebook)
  • A ruler, preferably with metric measurements included.
  • A small pack (6-8) colored pencils or markers.
  • Scientific calculator. This does NOT need to be a graphing calculator, but it needs to have exponent functions on it.
  • Sturdy pocket folder to house your lab papers, handouts and so on.
  • USB (Flash/Jump/Thumb/etc.) drive - 2 GB minimum

Classroom Expectations
Word version
Mr. Kramer Class Expectations Google version

I will elaborate on classroom expectations in class as well.

Lab Safety
Word version

Lab Safety

9-5 Thu
Here is today's assignment to get you started on background on the life is. You will write a 1 page essay that answers the questions posed below and summarizes the key ideas related to the information presented in the links provided. Do not merely answer the questions! You will continue this tomorrow.

1. Describe some important people and/or events that helped launch the early study of cells and the further development of cell theory. (Include a time reference with your answers)
2. Describe the purpose and procedure of Louis Pasteur’s classic experiment.
3. What is abiogenesis and why was it a controversy?
4. What was the Miller-Urey experiment about and what is its significance in the studying life?

9-6 Fri
Complete the assignment from Thursday and hand in the essay assignment

9-10 Tue
Go over the atom diagram (Fe, Se+4, Br-1) problems from Mon on the board and discuss
Hand out nuclear chemistry packet
Discuss alpha, beta and gamma decay
Discuss balancing nuclear equations
Assignment: Work on nuclear equations worksheet for Wed

9-11 Wed
Accel 8
1) Pop quiz on periodic trends
2) Review isotopes and the isotopes worksheet from last year
3) Go over balancing nuclear equations worksheet assignment
4) Further discuss radioactive decay and transmutation
5) Discuss half-life and carbon-14 dating
6) Assign half-life worksheet

9-19 Thu
Finish going over chem review
Hand out and assign balancing and writing formulas worksheet.
Go to Quia and take the survey titled "Is This Thing Alive?"

9-20 Fri
1) Go over the chem review sheet on writing formulas
2) Get the survey (listed above) done for Monday if you did not do so yet.

9-23 Mon
1) Pop quiz on cell theory history
2) Wrap up chem review
  • Acids, bases and pH
  • Collision theory
  • Exothermic v. endothermic reactions
  • Activation energy
2) Hand back and discuss keys points related to the Cell Theory Essays

9-24 Tue
1) Go over the pop quiz from Monday
2) View and discuss the responses from the survey "Is This Thing Alive?"
3) Go to the following sites and generate a basic list in your notes of the main characteristics of living things. What makes something "living"?
Characteristics of Living Things
More Characteristics of Living Things
Still More on Characteristics of Living Things
The Last Link on Characteristics of Living Things

9-25 Wed
1) Compile and discuss the characteristics of living things that were presented on the websites listed above. Scrutinize, consolidate and decide, as a class, on what the final list of characteristics is
2) Go outside and start collecting specimens to study in class

9-26 Thu
1) Go outside and continue collecting specimens
2) Explain how to press green leaves and get all green leaves presses before the end of class

9-27 Fri
1) Review what it means to "observe" in scientific terms and the difference between qualitative and quantitative observations
2) Study the specimens brought in from outside
  • Number the specimen
  • Draw the specimen
  • Make and record qualitative and quantitative observations about the specimens

9-30 Mon
Continue cataloging specimens from last week. This should be finished up in class tomorrow. For those who will not be here on Tuesday, check this wiki for any posted material

10-1 Tue
Review the following sites as a primer on how dichotomous keys work
Dichotomous Keys - Basic Description
Dichotomous Key Flow Chart

Start giving some serious thought to how you might develop a dichotomous key for the specimens we collected from outside. How would you split them, and split them again, and so on, to lead someone to any one item you choose from the group of specimens.

10-2 Wed
Discuss "Pamishan creatures" activity. Scientists have discovered some new creatures and the student is given the task of classifying them and identifying them by using a dichotomous key.
Task for today: Use the given key to identify all 20 creatures.

10-3 Thu
1) Hand in any Pamishan creatures activities that were not completed in class yesterday
2) Review how a dichotomous key is constructed
3) Explain the lab equipment keying activity and decide, as a class, what the items are made of
4) Construct a dichotomous key for classifying the lab equipment

10-4 Fri
1) Complete the lab equipment key assignment
2) Have groups exchange keys with 2 other groups and have them use the key and evaluate its accuracy.
3) Report your findings to the teacher
4) Continue planning on developing a dichotomous key for the items that were gathered from outside.

10-7 Mon

Read about taxonomy on the following links.
More on taxonomy
Go to Quia and do the Classifying survey I have set up for you.
As a class, we will need to decide on a name and a number to assign each item that was collected and record them.

10-8 Tue
Collect new field specimens from outside to classify later

10-9 Wed
Your job today is to use the Internet to try and identify the items we gathered yesterday. Bookmark any sites that you might want to return to and use again.
Take detailed notes on any structural characteristics or terminology that you feel will be helpful to you in identifying your specimens.
Intro to "bugs"
Intro to leaves
Here are some other very helpful sites for processing your collections.
Jolene's great plant site!
Bradyn's "bug finder"

Draw each item and list any parts or characteristics that were used to identify the specimen. Try and record all levels of taxonomy possible as you identify each item, especially the genus species name.

10-10 Thu
Continued identifying field specimens

10-11 Fri
Briefly discuss the additional specimens brought in from the farm - caution with removing them from the tub and handle them gently so cones, seeds, leaves, etc are not stripped off.
Her is a very nice site that will help with the tree ID. Simple to use tree ID guide

10-21 Mon
We spent last week cataloging and identifying field specimens. Students illustrated the specimens, noted important features used to identify them and recorded the levels of taxonomic classification, from kingdom to species, for each. This will be wrapped up and handed in today.

10-22 Tue
Go to the following site and compile a list of basic cell terms and their functions in your notes. Include a drawing with each term.
Cell Terminology

10-23 Wed
Continue and complete yesterday's activity

10-24 Thu
Using the the list of cell structures that you already have as a guide, view the following site, Cell Tutorial, and read about prokaryotes v. eukaryotes and list the main characteristics of each. Then look at plant v. animal cells. Draw a diagram of a plant cell and an animal cell and label the position, structure and function of each structure in each cell. You can omit the extra structures that are not on your main structure list that you already have. Try constructing a cell at the end of the activity. Keep your cell notes and diagrams for review and discussion.

10-25 Fri
1) Finish the activity from yesterday
2) Take the Cell Quiz 1 on Quia. You have two attempts. You cannot use your notes when taking the quiz, BUT you can use a sheet of scratch paper to note the ones you missed. You can then go back to your notes to look up anything you want and take the quiz one more time.
3) Do the Cell Theory and Taxonomy Survey on Quia without any notes.
The items you will describe or explain with significant detail are listed below and you may want to do a thorough review before taking the survey:
    • Name all the people we discussed in class who contributed to the development of cell theory and what their roles were.
    • What is abiogenesis?
    • Thoroughly describe Pasteur's broth experiment and state what the point of it was.
    • Explain what the Miller-Urey experiment was and what it set out to demonstrate
    • List the major taxonomic levels from most general to most specific
    • List the levels of organization from cell to organism
    • List the main characteristics of living things that we decided on as a class
4) Hand in your cell terminology and cell diagrams
5) If you have time left over, you can work on other homework or Sporcle

10-28 Mon
Finish up anything left to do from Friday

10-29 Tue
Today, you will work on how one cell becomes another. This should be a bit of a review from 6th grade science and Human Growth and Development. Read the short descriptions, view the illustrations and ultimately draw the progression of cell division for mitosis and meiosis.
Cell Divsion
Mitosis and Meiosis

10-30 Wed
Complete the cell division assignment from yesterday. Keep your notes for some lab work tomorrow.
For today, you will review vectors and how they work. You will also add vectors to determine the resultant vector.
Go to Vector Simulation Intro and add the vectors given to you by the teacher.

11-6 Wed

Here is a nice animation of mitosis in which the viewer can control to speed of the sequence.

Mitosis Animation

Try these cell games to see how well you do.

Animal Cell Game Plant Cell Game Bacteria

11-7 Thu

DNA to protein.

Here is another link that has a lot of supplemental information on it. Supplemental Information on DNA to Protein

View the presentations linked above and answer the related questions below.

  1. What are the two types of RNA mentioned in these presentations and what is the role of each?
  2. What is transcription?
  3. What is translation?
  4. What are the four letters that are represented in the strands of DNA and RNA, and what do those letters represent?
  5. What is a codon?
  6. What is an anti-codon?
  7. What is an amino acid?
  8. What make up the “sides of the ladder” in the DNA and RNA structures respectively?
  9. What make up the “steps of the ladder” in the DNA and RNA structures respectively?
  10. What does it mean to say the DNA and RNA strands are complimentary?
  11. What is the role of the ribosomes?

Fri 11-8
No class - Quarter reward

Mon 11-11
Continue with last week's assignment, learning how DNA eventually determines the proteins that make up our bodies.

11-21 Thu
View the following items and note the different levels of organization that make up living things. This information will be incorporated into your poster.
Levels of organization in living things

Here is Google version of the ppt. Levels of Organization 2

Levels of Organization Animation

11-25 Mon
Work through the links on this document. Take any notes you need to and do the practice problems in your notebook.

Google version: Punnett Square Overview-Google

"Life?" Posters
Students will create a poster that will show and explain the evolution of human knowledge and understanding of what life is, what it takes to consider something living and how living things are organized.from atoms to organisms.
Elements that must be addressed in the poster are:
  • Cell theory (including major contributors to it)
  • Abiogenesis
  • Characteristics of living things
  • Plant cells v. animal cells (including organelles)
  • Levels of taxonomy
  • Cell division
  • DNA to protein

12-3 Tue
View this Heredity Overview Power Point and answer the questions that were handed out in class.

1-10-14 Fri
Here is the link to the spreadsheet you need to fill out for the mini-engineering project.
(The link has been removed)

1-13-14 Mon
Here is the restored link.
Motion Project Spreadsheet

In preparation for the final on Wed, please review the following notes on Aristotle, Ptolemy, etc. to refresh your sense of how humans' perceptions of celestial motion has evolved throughout history. Man's Views of the Universe

1-14-14 Tue
Here is a link to the preview for your Final
You only have 15 minutes to preview it.
Don't forget to include the motion stuff in your review plans. I may post a link to help you review the motion stuff later today.
Here is the link for the motion part of the final. Motion Part of Final

1-20-14 Mon
Here is the . Use the power point as an overview of work, power and simple machines. View it and answer the corresponding questions handed out in class.

Work, Power and Simple Machines power point Google version.

2-21-14 Fri
Here is a copy of the Separation Lab Report Notes. After the first four parts of your report, include a last portion titled "Properties" and list any properties or property terms that applied to any part of your process. You do not have to list any property multiple times, just once where it may have been used and how you employed them.

3-31-14 Mon
Today we begin our discussion of ways in which we use mineral resources. You will need to visit the Earth Science sections of the Kid Zone to find the answers to the questions on the "Mineral Mania" worksheet. Click here: Rocks and Minerals
Work from this Rocks and Mineral Uses Google doc.
Here is a new Fireworks link.

(For later)
You can give this activity a try: Rocks and Soils Keep track of your results on a table in your notes.

You will make your own Mineral Hardness scale based on the results of your hardness tests performed here: Hardness Testing Lab. Follow the directions given by me as well as what's on your handout to put 10 unknown minerals in the proper order of hardness, from softest to hardest.

4-8-14 Tue
Here are some Mineral Basics.
  • Make sure you know the 5 basic characteristics of minerals.
  • List and describe the properties that are used to identify minerals.

4-10-14 Thu-Fri
Click here for the link that will take you to today's lab: Virtual Mineral Identification Lab
This is the accompanying lab sheet:

4-22-14 Tue
Get started on rock studies by using the link to the online textbook and take notes on the items listed under "Notes" below.
Rock Basics (If it asks you to log in, use the login info given in class. Choose the sixth book from the top and go to the chapter titled "Rocks". Then start with "Classifying Rocks")
  • Do Sections 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.5 of the "Rocks" chapter. List and describe/answer the "Key Concepts" and "Key Terms" for each section.

4-24-14 Thu
Follow this link for some Rock Identification practice. Use the Rock Identification Table table handed out in class.

For later:
Another virtual lab will help you begin to recognize the different types of rocks. After this we will study the three types of rock more in depth.. Virtual Rock Identification

5-7-14 Thu
You will start a web quest that will provide you with information that builds on what you discovered after completing your Geologic Time Scale. Click here:"Geologic Time".
Here is a Eons and Eras chart that will help with Question #12 of the web quest.

5-16-14 Fri
Here is a color (and better) version of the image page we used to discuss isostasy.

We will be having a test on Monday on the geologic time and rock cycle stuff.
You will need to demonstrate know:
  • Rock Cycle - types of rock and how they form
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Types of rock found in different locations/conditions - relating rock cycle to a cross section of earth's crust
  • Law of Superposition -
  • Absolute versus relative dating
  • Isostasy

5-20-14 Tue
Please do the following survey. I would appreciate some honest and fair feedback. Thank you.
Student Survey

I have opened the review items on Quia!!!!

5-28-14 Wed
After the final, you are required to complete the following Quia survey below.
What Now?