Contagion and Jurassic Park: Deepening Understanding of Biology Through Media

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This year I have learned about internal systems, diversity, evolution, and genetics. I know exactly how our bodies work. All the systems work in harmony with each other and each system relies on the other one. I have learned how people are so different. How we are similar and different from our parents. I can show how certain traits are inherited using Punnett squares. I Learned how the frequency of these traits can change over time. Whether that be from, natural selection, mutation, gene flow, genetic drift and nonrandom mating. I also learned how these changes in traits affect certain species over time. I can demonstrate these changes through a phylogenetic tree.

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My strengths are knowing and understanding concepts. I feel as though I can easily pick up a topic and gain a thorough understanding. To grow as a learner I need to practice how to make more connections while learning. By connecting topics to things I already know, I can develop a deeper understanding of the topics discussed I can also work on application. By doing this there is no need for memorization as I can understand these topics easier. One example of these connections is relating the Circulatory system to a highway. Arteries and Veins are major roads. Blood travels on these roads carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide. I also have to work on effectively communicating my ideas while speaking.

Connections: All the units that we learned in class can be connected. The systems unit describes how each of our internal systems function. We learn how all systems work together, and how systems can be affected by diseases. We also learned the differences between animal and human systems. We learned how different organisms have systems that are suited to their lifestyles. In the diversity unit. We learned the special characteristics that make all organisms different. We learned taxonomy and phylogeny to classify these organisms. In the genetics unit, we learned how traits are inherited. We learned how we are all different through variation.

In the film contagion, many of the topics we discussed in class are present. There are references to the systems unit and the genetics units. The hit movie centres around a bat virus that transmits to pigs and then to humans. The virus infects people around the globe in a matter of days, causing coughs, fevers and seizures. The virus in the movie infects the lungs and the brain. These are part of the circulatory and nervous system. The virus also spreads from person to person. We learned about how these viruses transmit and spread throughout society. In the disease carousel, I explored how a certain disease affects the body’s systems and their ability to function. I researched Gallstones and how they block digestive bile from going into the intestine. They can cause severe pain and inflammation. This one third may be caused by people having better immune systems compared to other people. They may possess rare genes that help them to fight off the virus better than other people. This was discussed in the genetics unit. The crossing over in meiosis causes for genetic variation. This is completely random and is a reason why siblings can be completely different and possess different genes. Also connecting to evolution, this virus will kill a lot of people. Due to this, only the people who are “resistant” to the virus will survive. They will produce offspring who will inherit the same traits. That is called natural selection.

Antimicrobial resistance also relates to the superbug case study. Which talks about the buildup of resistant bacteria in a person's body. Some bacteria have a special gene that makes them resistant to antibiotics. This gene is called NDM-1. When antibiotics are taken incorrectly, some bacteria survive. If bacteria with this gene survive, they will reproduce and spread their gene, making a majority of the population resistant. This leads to a “Superbug”, like the one seen in the case study

In the book “Jurassic Park’’ speaks about the industry of genetic engineering and the attitude of scientists over time. When James Watson and Francis Crick first deciphered the structure of DNA, their work was hailed as a triumph of the human spirit.’’ (Page 3) Their discoveries would be used for the betterment of mankind. The book then shifts to talk about the commercialisation of molecular biology. It discusses ethics. This is connected to what we spoke about in class, how it is ethical to genetically modify the features of your unborn child. It is an ethical dilemma which can lead to many problems. It makes you think about how science should be used, and what is too far. The book. Jurassic Park and the extinction of the dinosaurs can be related to evolution and diversity. The extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a catastrophic asteroid that hit the earth. It was said to have killed three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth approximately 66 million years ago. We still know that these organisms existed due to fossil records. Fossil records also relate to evolution. Specifically, Darwin's theory of evolution, which stated that all species of organisms evolve to be more complex over time through natural selection. Natural selection affects inherited traits that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce within their ecosystem. Fossil records can show scientists can learn how much organisms have changed as life developed on Earth. In class we learned about the whale example, and how whales used to have legs, which suggested they lived on land. Fossil records are available from all organisms including plants.

The novel/film study helped my understanding of biology. I was able to see the real world connections and applications of concepts. Things such as learning about antimicrobial resistance and superbugs from the case studies, learning about funding for different sectors and why some are more important to society. By taking Grade 11 University Biology, we can understand more about our lives. We can understand how our systems work. I was taking antibiotics, and because I learned about them in class, I knew that eating yoghurt would help to replace the “good bacteria” that antibiotics killed. I now know the difference between species and how to classify them. This came useful in my daily life when looking at dogs to potentially buy. I know the difference between purebred and mixed breed dog. It is also better to just have an understanding of the world around you. Scientific literacy is important for everyone in society for it to function correctly. Science literacy is important because it prepares people to make intelligent and informed decisions. People can drastically improve their quality of life, not only for themselves but for the people around them as well. I think that this is going to be a huge issue in the future. We are seeing more and more people believing misinformation. I see this with people who do not support vaccines. They believe that vaccines are harmful and children should not be vaccinated. Due to their misconceptions, society can be impacted negatively. The viruses that the vaccines are meant to eradicate can rise again because of some people and their lack of scientific literacy. 

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