Monday, April 22, 2013


The first, and most important thing is that students this week have a rare opportunity: a Critical CST Review for next week's state test in Biology.

Why is this a rare opportunity? Because students who sign up and attend this Review (on Saturday morning, April 27th), will be able to earn up to 100 points of extra credit in the course.

Students who do not attend this Review are not eligible for this assignment.

Students have been given a blue permission slip to be signed and filled out by their parent or guardian. It should be returned before Saturday to guarantee a place for students. Seating is limited, and on Saturday would be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students who wish to take advantage of this opportunity would return the permission slip and report at 8:30 to Room N-63 on the Bullard campus. Students will be released at 11:45 that morning.

Please encourage your student to take advantage of this opportunity. In addition to this, Mr. Hatfield's standard policy is that students who earn a score above "Basic" on their Biology CST will qualify for grade change in one or both semester grades. Thus, there is an incentive to help students raise their present grade NOW and an incentive to raise past or present grades in the future.

Meanwhile, back in standard instructional mode, here's the Lecture Notes.

The title, incidentally, is taken from the Daniel Dennett book which also inspired a two-hour episode of the NOVA 'Evolution' series. We will end up seeing much of this episode, broken up into chunks, over the next few weeks, so I thought I would provide a link to view the whole thing on-line, here.

Friday, April 19, 2013


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

Students who were absent on Thursday and/or Friday's class before last week almost certainly are missing part of these notes.

Mr. Hatfield reviewed the final slides with students in class on Monday of last week, and made sure that they have the Lecture Guide based upon these notes.....

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?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


EXTINCTION Monday and Tuesday's classes featured excerpts from 'Extinction!', which isNOVA'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.
Episode 3 from

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 now due. 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:

Thursday, April 4, 2013


WELCOME BACK FROM SPRING BREAK.... the crunch begins, as we survey the final set of State Standards that need to be covered prior to the California State Tests (CST's) later this month.

As we look ahead to preparing for that test, please set aside Saturday morning, April 27th.  

Most of my students will want to consider attending a special Saturday School on that date to prepare for their CST.

These notes were introduced to students before Spring Break, and completed yesterday (April 3rd). The Power Point on "Diversity and Classification" can be uploaded here. The Lecture Guide, given in class today, based on the Power Point can be found as a PDF file here.

A copy of the new syllabus for Unit 8 is found below: