June 20

Capstone – #5 Final Project

About 2 weeks ago I memorized my whole presentation and I was very confident in myself.  Two days ago we presented to a few classes in school and all I was thinking about is presenting in front of the parents. Although I still was scared to present in front of some classes I was freaking out. When I was done presenting to some of the classes I was relieved because I was really nervous. Yesterday I presented to the parents and that was really scary for me especially because I don’t like speaking in public. After, I felt really proud of myself because I thought I would just forget everything and that would be really embarrassing! I thought I was really prepared and I actually had a great time presenting my project even though I was a little scared. I practiced everyday and always had a to – do list of what to do for homework for capstone. Overall I think I was prepared really well. If I could present to the parents again I probably would’ve changed:

1 – speak a little bit louder

2 – speak a little bit slower… But I am really proud of myself 🙂

For more information, (if you want to see my presentation) you can go to this link:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N52FTRWjt-E&list=PLSS8PA6fV_dxHcmgWQiTVpC3LRpCM5fQh&index=20

May 30

Capstone – #4 Answering My Main Inquiry Question

For Capstone, since I’m researching about Genetics and why I have red hair, I chose my main inquiry question to be, “Why do I have red hair?” Since Genetics is a complicated topic and answering this question is also complicated, it took me quite a while to find the right answer and understand it well. Some challenges I had coming up with my main inquiry questions were I had to think of a question that had to do with my topic but wasn’t to broad and a lot of my questions that I came up with before my final one were too broad. That was something that really stumped me.

The answer to my question, “Why do I have red hair?” is, my dad and my mom carried the gene so that means that my sister and I each had a 25% chance of getting red hair and I got lucky and got it! The Punnett Square below shows my chances of getting red hair:

Image result for punnett square for kids

 

The uppercase b is brown hair and the lowercase b is red hair. My dad carries the gene for red and brown hair and my mom carries the gene for red and brown hair too. Two of the boxes have the gene for brown and red hair. One of the boxes has the gene for just brown hair and the last box has the gene for just red hair. If that’s the case, then one of your offspring could have red hair. If all of the boxes have only the genes for red hair (small b’s) then there is a 100% chance your offspring will get red hair. Since only 1 box has both recessive red hair genes, then there is a 25% chance for one of your offspring getting red hair and there is a 75% chance you are getting brown hair. This is why I got red hair.

 

May 29

Capstone – #3 Site Visit

Today I had my site visit for Capstone at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I got a tour of fascinating things I had never seen before that had to do with my topic. 

The first tour that I experienced was at the lab where they research about DNA and cells. A really smart woman told me everything I needed to know about Genetics and it was amazing! The woman showed me all the machines they use to collect all of the information and the machines they use to discover new things they find from cells and DNA. One assistant that works there studies human cells that are in our body right now! There is something that looks like a freezer and they keep the cells in there at a specific temperature and when they need to examine something about it they take it out and put it under a special microscope so you could see clearly what the cells look like. The cells are too small to see with just your eyes. In fact, you can’t even see anything when you look at the cells. All it looks like is liquid. 

   

The second tour I experienced was with the same woman and she took us down to the basement where they have a whole room full of mice! When we got down there I didn’t realize there was a whole process to go into the room to see the rats and neither did my mom. But the process didn’t take a long time which was good. All we had to do was put booties on our feet, put a hair net around our hair, put a mouth mask on, put gloves on and put a cover/suit around us. (The cover almost looked like what scientist would wear). The process itself wasn’t weird, but the way we had to do the process was a bit weird but after they told me why we had to do it like that I understood.

The reason why we had to put all of that stuff on us was because since they were doing an experiment, they had a room full of mice for their experiment. The experiment is that they are taking the cells out of the rats and studying them. Because they are doing an experiment with mice, we had to cover ourselves because we didn’t want to get dirt anywhere and maybe we had dirt on us. Dirt and germs can mess up the experiment. In others words, it could make the rats sick and the rats are the main focus of the experiment. The process we had to do to put the stuff on us was in a room where there is a dirty spot where everybody walks, and on the other side it wasn’t dirty. There was yellow tape there so we knew what side was clean and what side was dirty. When we put the booties on, we had to put one booty on and step on the clean side of the room, then put the other booty on our other foot and step on the clean side of the room.

Then, we walked to the room where the rats were…they were sooo cute (but I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of them)!!!

I hope to learn more about his topic and come to this college again to get the experience I saw today!

May 29

Capstone – #2 Interview

Today I had my interview at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I interviewed a professor in the department of Genetics. I had 21 questions. Some of them asking about him and getting to know him a little. Some of them on Genetics and some questions about red hair and redheads. He worked on genetics and some of the questions that were about red hair and redheads were a little too complicated for him to answer because he didn’t study red hair and redheads but I think he did a very good job answering the challenging questions I asked him.

Questions/Answers:

Some of the questions and answers that I will be telling you is some that I like the most and that were very interesting to me:

Q#1 What inspired you to choose the field of genetics?

A#1 He said when he was a under graduate he did not know what to do. He didn’t know what interested him. He loved both biology and history. But then he said later on he wanted to go more deeper into biology instead of history specifically DNA. He went to a lecture by a famous immunologist who knew a lot about aging and he talked about damage to DNA that needs to be repaired. After that, he really got inspired by him and really wanted to study DNA and aging.

Q#2 What are some things you study in your lab?

A#2 He said in his lab he’s studying aging. In other words, getting older. He is also studying why when getting older you get sick and get diseases.

Q#3 What are some discoveries that were found in your work?

A#3 He said some discoveries that he found in his work was DNA changes during aging. He also found out that when cells can no longer provide enough protein for your body, that’s when diseases happen and form.

I found this interview really interesting and I learned a lot that I didn’t know before. It was also a great opportunity to see what it’s like to be a professor and a researcher in the department of Genetics!

April 20

Capstone – # 1 Choosing My Topic

What is Capstone? Capstone is a project of your choice and you research about the topic you choose. At my school we chose our topic and we are in the process of choosing a big question to research throughout the project. Then we are going to visit a place that involves our topic. We are also going to interview someone that studies our topic and is an expert on it.

Capstone is mostly done in school and some of the project done at home. During school, what we did to come up with questions is, we got a piece of BIG paper and wrote some questions that related to our topic but wasn’t a main question. Then we graded them and if we thought they were really good then we out them on the top of the paper and if they weren’t deep and wasn’t going to have a good answer, than we put them on the bottom of the paper. What I did was, I made some of my questions that were the good ones and that were on the top of the paper my following up questions. Here is my process so far:

 A little bit before Capstone started I was always thinking of what to research and learn for my capstone. I was thinking of researching gymnastics leading to scoliosis because my sister has scoliosis and I wanted to learn more of what my sister and other people have. I then talked with my mom and felt like I wanted to research something else. My mom suggested I should research redheads. I thought that was a great idea because I’m a redhead and I don’t even know some parts of me like, Why is my hair red? I thought more about it and I just loved the idea. My mom and I looked up some places to interview. We saw a University that is all about biology. Genetics is part of biology and that means that the professors there would talk about anything that has to do with genetics which is the genetics about redheads. Right after that I was sure that I was going to research redheads.

My main question I am going to research is:

“How does genetics work for redheads and how does that compare with others”?

My follow up questions are: Why is red hair so rare?, About how many people in the world are redheads and what other specific nationalities tend to have red hair?, Why do people think redheads are going extinct?, Are there any other natural hair color(s) that tend to be rare, if so why?, Do redheads’ hair change as they get older?, Why do redheads tend to have more freckles that other people and fair skin?, and If red hair is going extinct, how will it if people keep passing the generation on?

So far this has been going very well for me and I think I’m very organized with this project. I know I will do very well going further on!