February 2011

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I just got back from a terrific visit to Ashland University where I spoke to two of David Fitzsimmon’s English classes (David is also a naturalist and professional photographer – check out his site), gave a public lecture to the Biology Department and participated in a discussion of science communication for Mason Posner’s Biology capstone seminar. It was a lot of fun and, as is usually the case when I visit another campus, I got more than I gave. But, despite all the traveling and talking, I still managed to draw the last three pages  of the photosynthesis story. Ta-daaa. It is done. Hope you like it. If you teach photosynthesis in your classes and think you can use this story I would love to hear about it.

These pages have been added to the finally-appropriately-named Whole Enchilada post.

Photosynthesis_pg20Photosynthesis_pg21Photosynthesis_pg22

The summary has been summarized. Now just three more pages and we can call this thing a wrap.  Also, this this my 200th post (cue party horn and virtual confetti). As always, this page has been added to the rest of the story in the Whole Enchilada post.

Photosynthesis_pg19

More Monsters

Jack dreams them up as he’s going to sleep and they burst out onto the page when he wakes up. Here are two monsters that jack sketched on the way to school this morning. And he gave them to me. For keepsies! They will look great in my office.

Jack_MonstersThis one is one of my favorites. It was done a few weeks ago…

JackBOT

The looming winter ice storm provoked a state of emergency in PA and Juniata College canceled classes yesterday. Very nice. Even better was that the storm kinda fizzled, so conditions weren’t awful. We took a walk around our woods and watched the forest melt. It was raining under the trees! Very cool. But what made this day really great was that I had time to catch-up on my grading AND draw a new photosynthesis page.

Now we are in the home stretch. I really mean it this time. Lisa laughs because I have been saying there are 4 more pages to go for the last 8 pages. I wasn’t sure if I should finish they story as quickly as possible, but my colleague Norris Muth used the story in his Botany course and his kids all though a big picture sequence to tie things together would be very useful. My constituents have spoken.

This is the first page of a summary that attempts to draw the process together and underscore the similarities. I wanted to run photosystem I and II in parallel because they are so often present as being linear when they really are serially absorbing photons. Obviously, the flow of electrons from photosystem II to photosystem I via plastocyanin is linear, so I tried to do both on this page. Of course, I’m not sure I understand what I just wrote, so with any luck the comic will make more sense. There is one page to summarize the Calvin cycle and then three pages of silly story to finish it off.

And, of course, the page has been added to the rest of the story in the Whole Enchilada post.

Photosynthesis_pg18

Tonight Jack was having trouble getting to sleep. This is not an unusual occurrence. Once the lights go out, new and strange fears come popping out of his fertile imagination. This evening’s concern was monster-related. I’m not always the most patient parent at bedtime because, well, it’s my bedtime too. You would think someone who slept with the covers pulled over his head until he was 26 would be a little more sympathetic, but there you go. As I told him it was late and he needed to deal with it, Jack started to tear-up and berate himself up.

“I think I’m just a big scaredey cat,” he said.

At this point I mentally berated myself and then tried to reassure him. I told him that we all go through periods when we’re afraid of crazy things. We just have to cope with them and they eventually fade away. Max, in an effort to be supportive and illustrate this point chimed in from the top bunk.

“It’s true, Jack,” he said. “When I was your age I went to bed each night afraid my pillow was going to eat my head.”

It was all down hill from there.

…and here is the link.