Monday, December 17, 2012


Environmental Science students: 

HERE is the link to the final group of POWER POINT NOTES for the Fall Semester in this course.   

These notes cover human populations, with special attention paid to the stages of the demographic transition.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Parents and Students:
Monday (Dec. 10th) began the final week of instruction for the Fall Semester.  

This is a post to give everybody one last 'heads-up' about Finals week in Biology! 

First of all, 'A Twist of Fate', an important 100-point project, is due on Friday (12/16), and no late work of any kind will be accepted after Monday (12/19)

This assignment is based on a reading describing the scientific detective story that led to the discovery of DNA's structure. The reading is adapted from an article by
Michael Lemonick that appeared in the Feb. 17, 2003 issue of Time. That article can be read in its entirety on-line here.   Students have been given an edited version of that article with terms to be defined and questions to address.   The entire assignment can be found as a PDF file here.

Students are expected to define terms underlined in the article, and to answer four discussion questions according to the usual guidelines: complete sentences that refer to the original question and provide supporting evidence for the student's opinion.  Responses should be typed or word-processed.   It is not, however, necessary to submit the assignment to "". (The district is no longer supporting this valuable resource, alas)

Secondly, students received a Study Guide for their 200-point Semester Final on Friday (12/14)

Students should be reviewing it and using it to identify any weaknesses, as well as working to submit any other outstanding work in the course by the end of instruction (Monday, 12/17).   Should the student lose this Study Guide, the entire three pages of it can be found as a PDF file here.

Next, there will be a Study Session for BIOLOGY after-school on MONDAY (12/17).

This Study Session will take place in my classroom (N-63). It will begin at 4:15 and end at 6:00 that evening.  I would begin sooner on Monday, but an emergency meeting of the Faculty that day requires my attention.   I will be at my room no later than 4:10, however.  I realize it will be dark by the time this session is completed, but I assure parents and students that those who attend these session typically do better on the exams.  And, if that's not enough of an incentive, students who attend not only receive valuable feedback as to what to expect on the test, but can earn up to 20 points of extra-credit. 

The Biology Final is the following day, Tuesday, 12/18.

There is no significant makeup period.  Students need to attend their final exam period if they want significant time for their Final. Those who fail to attend without having their parent or guardian reach a prior understanding with Mr. Hatfield will be given an 'incomplete' in the course.

Finally, the Power Point with notes on DNA and Protein Synthesis is available on-line here:
The Power Point notes are available for download here.

A PDF of the Lecture Guide based on the Power Point notes is available here.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Biology students in Mr. Hatfield's Classes have some pretty important events over the next few days....     Most importantly, they have their first Unit Test in nearly five weeks on Tuesday morning, Dec. 4th!  
To help students prepare for this important Unit Test, students received a three-page Study Guide for this test in class on Nov. 27th, and Mr. Hatfield wants very much for students to use this Study Guide over the weekend to prepare for their test on Tuesday!

The Study Guide, in turn, will form the basis of a Study Session to be held after school on Monday, Dec. 3rd, between 3:15 and 5:30 in Room N-63.   Students who attend and participate will earn EXTRA CREDIT in the course, get their questions based on the Study Guide answered and (if they stay to the end) important hints about the test itself.  

Mr. Hatfield also reminds Biology students that they should be bringing their Composition Books, with their completed Cornell Notes inside.   Students whose Notes are completed, after all, are allowed to use them on the Unit Test!

Speaking of the test itself, Mr. Hatfield wants to remind ALL students that additional time to complete the non-SCANTRON portion of the test is available both during LUNCH and AFTER-SCHOOL.   No student should fail to use all of the time available to them to attempt EVERYTHING on the test.


As if Monday's Study Session wasn't enough, Mr. Hatfield is also extending an opportunity for additional support to be held on Saturday, Dec. 1st, in Room N-63, between 8:45 and 11:30.   Students who have been assigned or who have requested to attend Saturday School must show up promptly at 8:45.  They will be focused on doing activities that will earn them EXTRA CREDIT in the course and also help prepare them for Tuesday's exam.

Students who have been assigned Saturday School but who fail to attend without a parent contact may be referred to Administration.


You'll find links to the most current set of Notes down here.   The first Power Point contains an outline of photosynthesis, relating it to the 'Great Circle' of chemical reactions that all living things participate it (autotrophs and heterotrophs!), reactions which recycle the raw materials that life requires. Much of this material is covered in the first two sections of Chapter 8 in the Dragonfly Book.

The Power Point for Photosynthesis, Part I, is available here.

Photosynthesis, Part II provides much more detail about the light reactions, photosystems, the proton pumps that use the enzyme ATP synthase, the electron transport chains that help power those pumps. There is less detail about the 'dark reactions' of the Calvin cycle and other material which is not explicitly part of the state standards. This is covered in Section 8.3 of the Dragonfly Book.

You can download Photosynthesis, Part II here.

A third Power Point is somewhat brief, but has many helpful animations that help describe and explain the structure and function of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy-carrying molecule used by living things.

The fourth and final Power Point in this unit contains information about cellular respiration, including glycolysis (which takes place in the cytoplasm) and the Krebs Cycle (which takes place in the matrix of the mitochondria). The electrons produced in the Krebs Cycle move through the inner membrane, or cristae, of the mitochondria. The motion of these negatively-charged particles attracts protons (H+), and eventually a high concentration of protons within the membrane is available to drive 'proton pumps' that power an enzyme, ATP synthase, leading to the production of more ATP:

You can download the Power Point for Cellular Respiration here.


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Environmental Science students: 

Your POSTER PROJECT ("The Cosmic Calendar") is due tomorrow, Monday the 26th.   I hope you are prepared to submit something like this:

The concept (introduced in a previous assignment and discussed multiple times in class) is to display a "month" in an imaginary calendar that represents the history of our 13.7-billion-year-old universe:

 The original article that inspired this project was adapted from Carl Sagan's "The Dragons of Eden" and is available here.    The scoring rubric for your poster is available here.   Get 'er done.
ALSO: if you haven't yet taken the Makeup Test for Unit 3 on biodiversity and evolution, then you are probably one of the following . . .





If you see your name up there, then YOU must COMPLETE A TAKE-HOME, MAKEUP EXAM this week.


Friday, November 9, 2012


Environmental Science students: if you haven't completed the notes yet on Chapter 3, you need to do so, and soon.  

When we return from the four-day weekend, we will finish up with an activity on natural selection, and discuss properties of populations, but then there will be a study guide on Wednesday for a test on Friday.   Don't say I didn't warn you!

Here's the Lecture Notes.

Here's a PDF file of the Lecture Guide based upon the notes.   Students will receive this in class next week, but for those who wanted to perhaps get ahead, there ya go.

The title, incidentally, is taken from the Daniel Dennett book which also inspired a two-hour episode of the NOVA 'Evolution' series.    If you have never seen it, and you don't know much about evolution or natural selection, you could do a lot worse that watch it.   It's one of the best pieces of science programming ever put together.   It contains dramatic recreations of important events in Darwin's life, and fantastic demonstrations by leading biologists of various important ideas: diversity, speciation, the role of mutation, the evidence for common descent, and so on.   You can view the whole thing on-line, here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


The Power Point Lecture Notes on 'Deep Time' are available here.

FACT: The fossil record (and other lines of evidence) show us that populations of living things have "changed over time" (evolved)....

QUESTION: How can we explain this pattern of change in terms of NATURAL causes?

Friday, October 26, 2012


Here are the latest set of notes for Mr. Hatfield's Biology classes.   This is something students should complete right away, in order to be able to start their Cell Travel Brochure Project!

Here's the link you need to download this Power Point, to use to complete your notes or the Lecture Guide based upon it.

Monday, October 22, 2012


EXTINCTION Monday and Tuesday's classes featured excerpts from 'Extinction!', which is Episode 3 from NOVA's 'Evolution' series (2001). The video begins with paleontologist Peter Ward hunting for Permian fossils in South Africa's Karoo Desert, and relates ecological pyramids (which are like a 'house of cards') to mass extinctions, which are believed to be rare but important events in the history of life. It then follows the work of American Museum of Natural History researcher Michael Novacek in building the fossil record of small, shrew-like mammals from the Mesozoic, representative of the lineage that will survive the next mass extinction (the K/T event), which will claim the dinosaurs.

It concludes with an examination of the role of human activity in accelerating the rate of extinction, with important attention to conservationists like Alan Rabinowitz.

Students have been given a worksheet based upon this video as homework, which is due on Monday. I encourage students to watch the video in its entirety for themselves if there are points that they don't get in class. We simply do not have enough class time to review this, but I know many students will want to see the whole story again, either by going to Google Video or watching it here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


These notes were given to students on October 12th and 15th. The Power Point on "Diversity and Classification" can be uploaded here. The Lecture Guide based on the Power Point can be found as a PDF file here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Yes, it's true.....from time to time, I assign forms of detention to my students, usually for gross academic negligence rather than misconduct.   

I usually start by assigning detention at lunch ("Study Hall"), and I expect my students will arrive within ten minutes of the lunch bell to serve it, with or without lunch.   I allow students to eat in my room during lunch, and I also provide them something to do that gives them an opportunity to raise their grade, which is typically disastrous by the time I assign Study Hall.
Now, students can decide for themselves whether this is a punishment or an opportunity, and their attitude about Study Hall will no doubt have an effect on whether or not this intervention will prove helpful.   Frankly,  as a personal matter I'm more interested in their choices than their feelings.   If they feel motivated by having the opportunity to raise their grade, and they make the choice to take their work seriously and complete it, that's great.

On the other hand, if the student simply thinks they are being punished, and their only motivation is to do whatever they are supposed to do to avoid future punishment of the same sort, they probably won't get as much out of it as the student who treats it like an opportunity.   But, in the end, the outcome is likely to be the same:   that is, they make the choice to take their work seriously and complete it, and get an opportunity to raise their grade.  

My philosophy on how I respond to students not doing the things they should has been shaped by experiences listening to other teachers and administrators.   I have often heard exasperated colleagues talk as if they are drawing a line in the sand, about what they are willing to do with a particularly difficult student who has already exhausted the usual remedies.  The comment usually goes something like this: "The student has the right to fail." 

That's absolutely true.   Teachers have to admit that the student has the right to fail,  and that no teacher can force a student to care about their grade or their future.   We can't really force students to do the work needed to pass their classes.  They can choose to fail, if they like. However, that is really not the issue.   What matters to me is this: as their teacher, I not only have the right, but I have the moral obligation to make the choice as difficult as I can.

So, let's suppose that the student doesn't attend Study Hall as I direct, and their parent or guardian won't excuse that absence.   In that case, the student is defiant.   I'll assign the student after-school detention, which is strictly punishment, and that will bring the matter to administration's attention.  And then I'll call the home, and give the parent an earful.   And then I'll (firmly) assign Study Hall again.   At this point, the student will usually attend.   Those who make a different choice typically don't last much longer with me, or with the public schools.

Now, it would be a mistake to think this always achieves the desired goal, or that I don't have other strategies to motivate students.   I do, and after nearly fifteen years of teaching, I know what will work for me and what won't work.   Some kids are going to need more motivation than an occasional Study Hall.   For those kids, I will offer Saturday School.   This is another opportunity, only longer and more grating on the student's sense of their freedom.   Unlike Study Hall at lunch, which I assign as I see fit, I will enlist the parent's support before I assign it, and will expect students to complete a permission slip to receive the opportunity.   Most parents, as it turns out, will support this intervention if given sufficient advance warning.

Students and parents: as you might guess, I'm posting this on the blog because I'm getting ready to start intervening for students whose grades are very low, and who are not completing most of their work, as they should.   I hope that by clearly stating up-front what strategies I use that students who are assigned Study Hall will realize they are getting an opportunity, and take advantage of it.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Here is the Power Point on 'The Chemistry of Life.'    This is the last section of notes for Unit 2.   Our after-school Study Session to prepare for Wednesday's Unit 2 Test will begin at 4:00 in Room N-63 on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 9th.  

To help students compare their notes and insure their Cornell-style composition books are completed and perfected, students received a Lecture Guide based on this Power Point in Friday's class.


Attention all Environmental Science students!   Your next exam is on Tuesday, Oct. 9th.   

This is an important opportunity for you to "reset" your approach to the course, and thus your grade.

This exam focuses heavily on reviewing basic principles in physics and chemistry that are essential to this course.   As such, most of the concepts and vocabulary will come from your notes, rather than the textbook.  That means it is more important than ever to have your notes completed and perfected, Cornell Note-taking style.

Students are reminded Mr. Hatfield's tests  not only assess your content knowledge, but your organization, preparation and effort.  Mr. Hatfield has previously shared with his students what choices they should make in order to be able to demonstrate these items.

As a further incentive, Mr. Hatfield makes the following offer:  if a student's score on the second unit test is a higher percentage than the first, he will raise the first test score to match the second test.   Yes:  it is possible to turn an 'F' into an 'A'.

To assist students in preparing for the second unit test, Mr. Hatfield has prepared a Study Guide.   This will be given in class.   A copy of the Study Guide in a PDF file is available here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


For all of Mr. Hatfield's students, because ALL students need to know about the properties of water:  cohesion, adhesion, polarity! 


Here is the link to the Power Point on properties of water: acids, bases and the pH scale.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


. For all of Mr. Hatfield's Classes, because ALL scientists (and thus, ALL of my students) have to know about atoms and molecules!

Students should use these Power Points to complete their Lecture Guides, and use both items to make sure that their Cornell Style Notes are complete and perfected!   So, in case you haven't completed this item, for all my classes, here are the notes on 'Atoms and Molecules.'


Thursday, September 13, 2012


The following episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, 'The Lives of the Stars', forms the basis of a student homework assignment. Click on the icon below to play the video within the blog:


The following episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, 'The Lives of the Stars', forms the basis of a student homework assignment. Click on the icon below to play the video within the blog:

You can also go to Snag Films directly here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Tomorrow, Biology students will have their first tests returned to them. Results of that test were mixed, and often not what they could have been, due to poor student CHOICES.

Students who earn a percentage score higher than that earned on the first test can not only expect to earn a higher grade, but they are eligible for grade change on their previous test.

To achieve that, students need to consider the following, using the anagram 'COPE'.


Students need to know what's on the test. To make sure that students know what content will be covered on the exam, they need to obtain a copy of the Study Guide, which becomes available the weekend before the test. The sooner they get this, the better!


Students need to plan their time. For the next test, there will be a Study Session after school on the day before the exam (date to be announced later this week). They earn points by attending, and get valuable feedback about what is likely to be covered. In addition to attending the Study Session, students need to consider using time on lunch or after-school on the day of their exam as needed to complete their test. Plan ahead, students!


Students need to provide evidence that they have prepared for the test. One way to do this is to attend the Study Session before the next test (date to be announced later this week). Another, powerful way is to make sure that they bring their COMPLETED Cornell Notes to class on the day of the exam. Cornell Notes, if completed, have questions and comments in the margins and summaries of the major sections. Students who have these items completed will be allowed to use them throughout the exam. Bring evidence that you have prepared for the test, students, and you will be rewarded!


Students need to finish what they start. There is nothing more important than giving our best effort, all of the time. On an exam day, a good effort means that students attempt everything, even if that means they need to come back at lunch or after school. Show a work ethic, students, and you will not only do better on the will do better in every aspect of your life.


Friday, August 31, 2012


This post contains the Power Point notes for "The Nature of Science" given in BOTH Mr. Hatfield's Biology AND Environmental Science classes..........

Students in both classes should make sure that their Cornell Style Notes are completed and perfected in their composition books, for two reasons:  1)  their comp books will from time to time be graded; 2) their comp books, if complete, may be used on exams.

To help make sure students complete their Notes, Mr. Hatfield makes them available for download through the class blog and also gives assignments (Lecture Guides) based on the lectures which students can compare with their comp books.

NOTE:   Usually Biology and Environmental Science will have different notes.   In this case, they are the same, because discussions of scientific method and the nature of science are generic.  They are likely to cover almost identical material in the same sequence in high school courses.

Students! Here is the Power Point for the notes on 'The Nature of Science'. You will receive a Lecture Guide based on these Notes sometime this week! If you don't have Power Point on your computer, don't worry . . . you can download a free program, Power Point Viewer, to see the notes!

KEEP IN MIND...this year, in Mr. Hatfield's Classes, we will try to reduce the amount of class time spent taking notes. There are dozens of standards to cover, hundreds of vocabulary terms and other items to master. We need to decrease the amount of time spent in lecture so students can have more time to do activities. Remember: we want to engage as many different parts of the brain as possible, and to do that, we need to have more time to do things other than notes.

At the same time, your Cornell Notes must be complete (all the notes, original questions and comments in the margins, your name/date/course on every page, and summaries of major sections of notes). Therefore, it is the student's responsibility to download and complete any notes that they were not able to finish in class!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Parents and Students:

You are cordially invited to attend Mr. Hatfield’s “Open House” for his Biology students, which will occur on Tuesday, Sept 4th, at 7:00 P.M. , in Room N-63 on the Bullard campus.

Room N-63 is on the last wing right before the band and theatre building currently being remodeled, and is best assessed from the Palm parking lot.

During “Open House”, Mr. Hatfield will review his Course Rules and Policies with parents, and will provide parents important feedback on the research-based strategies used in his course that can help parents assist their students. We hope that you will consider attending to support your student.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


How can you tell if something is alive?   

What are the characteristics of life? (Ch. 1.3, Miller and Levine)

It turns out that these are NOT the easiest question to answer!   How, for example, would scientists be able to tell if something they found on another planet was alive, or not?   To explore this question, students have been given an assignment called "A Martian Safari".  

Using their textbook, and what they've learned in class about forming hypotheses and answering questions (the RA Guide), students will apply the "characteristics of life" from their textbook to an imaginary situation: that they are explorers on the planet Mars, who've discovered something mysterious....

Far out!   Or is it?   After all, the mission in the video below became a reality on August 6th, just a few weeks ago.   One of the main goals of the Curiosity mission is to pursue evidence for past or present life on the "Red Planet."   Something to think about!

Friday, August 24, 2012


Environmental Science students will be viewing a 36-minute IMAX video in class and completing a worksheet based on part of the video. 

The film, 'Cosmic Voyage', was made in 1996 for the Smithsonian Institute and was clearly inspired by a classic science education film called 'Powers of Ten', originally produced in 1977 by the husband-and-wife team of Rae and Charles Eames.

'Cosmic Voyage' approaches the idea of using the metric system, which is based on powers of ten, to explore the question: "What is really large, and really small?" The film first zooms out from an acrobat's ring in St. Mark's Square in Venice, the place where Galileo first trained his telescope on the heavens.

Through 23 powers of ten, we leave first the Earth, then our solar system, then the Milky Way Galaxy behind, until we reach the limit of modern astronomy, where we can see images from about 13 billion years past.

Reversing course, the video then zooms in on drop of water in the Dutch town of Delft, where Antonie Van Leuuwenhoek first trained his early microscope to discover the hidden world of microbes.

As we zoom in on a paramecium, we penetrate its cell nucleus, then zoom in on a molecule of DNA.

Within that molecule is a carbon atom, and the world within that atom is mostly empty space! Within the atom, the atomic nucleus contains virtually all of an atom's mass, made of particles called protons and neutrons. These, in turn, are formed from even smaller particles called quarks.

The film continues with a discussion of the search for a fundamental theory in physics through the use of particle accelerators like Fermilab, along with an overview of the likely "recent" events that led to our sun, our solar system, the Earth and life itself.

Here, presented on YouTube, is the first segment (Chapter 1) of the film who wish to review the material or share it with others. As the narrator (Morgan Freeman) intones, 'we are all travelers on a voyage of discovery!' Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 can be assessed at YouTube directly or by clicking on the hyperlinks

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Welcome to College Prep Biology(Bio) in the 2012-2013 school year!  As its name suggests, this course satisfies the UC (a-g) requirements for a lab course in the biological sciences.

This year I have one section of Bio, with about 40 students.   I will be using this blog to communicate with my students in many different ways, including:
  • providing an on-line record of course Policies and Procedures
  • making classroom notes available as Power Points downloadable from the blog
  • placing videos shown in class available through Flash sites like YouTube
  • providing images of the course syllabus
  • making important announcements about major assessments
Students typically find this valuable.   I had more than 10,000 hits last year and over 4,000 downloads, mostly from Bullard students, so make sure you check this blog regularly.

Your first set of Biology notes, covering course Policies and Cornell Notes, is available here.


Welcome to Environmental Science (ES) in the 2012-2013 school year!   Be advised that while this course satisfies FUSD's requirement for a third-year science course, it does NOTqualify students for admission to the University of California.

This year I have two sections of ES, with about 80 students.   I will be using this blog to communicate with my students in many different ways, including:
  • providing an on-line record of course Policies and Procedures
  • making classroom notes available as Power Points downloadable from the blog
  • placing videos shown in class available through Flash sites like YouTube
  • providing images of the course syllabus
  • making important announcements about major assessments
Students typically find this valuable.   I had more than 10,000 hits last year and over 4,000 downloads, mostly from Bullard students, so make sure you check this blog regularly.

Your first set of notes, covering course Policies and Cornell Notes, is available here.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Here's a novel thought: instead of being taught as mindless, slavish dogma, evolutionary biologists have been busy in the last 150 years. They've been testing, retesting, modifying and in some cases rejecting aspects of Darwin's theory. This Power Point explains some of the major innovations, which (by the way) are all in the textbook:

Students who need to download the Power Point to complete their notes, and the Lecture Guide based on it, can do so here.

We've just finished these notes, and many of these ideas are important in some of the potential essay topics that students should already be working on, so those students especially will want to get up to speed. Students will receive a Lecture Guide based upon these notes TODAY!

ALSO....There is a Study Session on Tuesday for the FINAL, in Room N-63, between 2:00 - 4:30 PM. Students can earn extra credit in the course and receive helpful hints on how to proceed. Attendance is voluntary.