Friday, July 7, 2017

What we learned: High School Senior, Science and Math edition

This is a continuation of Younger Daughter’s answers to my perennial question:
What did you learn this school year?

Organic Chemistry
YD:  In O-Chem [said eagerly, with arms spread wide] I learned what ‘chiral’ means.  I learned what Grignard reactions are…  that molecules are spinning at a million times a second, and they are 3D! And you have to think of them that way because it helps you in biology!  You can understand enzymes better.

YD:  Next is bio!  Yay!  OhmiGod, bio is so awesome! 

It is hard for me to convey in print the enthusiasm with which YD described what she learned in bio.  She spoke quickly, in a high-pitched tone, so fast that I couldn’t get the words down.  And there were a lot of words.

We learned about cellular respiration and…. photosynthesis… allosteric inhibition…..enzymes spinning around…. another substrate… binds to another site, which … active shape….. so awesome……. the body has so many different types of inhibition, …. 33% of energy....neurons…. immunity.  … Oh, my God, the body is SO COOL! 

And evolution sucks.  Because it is not about cells.
Cell model in jello format

I learned so much that I cannot even say it all!  I learned about the inside of a fetal pig… gel electrophoresis… , and the thing with the plate! You put, like, a bunch of DNA from a bunch of different organisms on a plate, and then you wash it with different types of RNA to see if the RNA matches with the DNA, and then you have all this hydrogen bonding that goes on and you can wash it out and find out if the DNA makes those kinds of proteins so you can make connections across phylogenic trees and then you can just find everything and you can just do everything!

   whenever DNA replicates … end of the DNA chopped off….telomeres… infinite… telomerase…replicates over and over again… if we could find a way to turn it off or on whenever we wanted to…immunity problems….would help us kill cancer…replicate new organs…  and Oh, my God, creating new organs – there are so many new technologies for that!  Oh my God, you have to go to the McGowan Institute! It’s so great! They are growing organs in jars! They created the first human-pig blastocyst that lasted for twelve weeks!!!!  How are you not excited?!  This could be a new revolution in organ engineering!! [She pounds table for emphasis]. 

Me, demonstrating again that the most important part of parenthood is not overreacting:   Wow. I take it you like bio.
YD:   (excited squeal, contented sigh).  Oh, my God.  (Lots of contented sighing)

[Deep breaths to calm down.]

Cell model birthday cake

Me:   Let’s move on to the next subject.

YD:  Okay.  In Calculus I learned that Mrs. Teacher is a fantastic teacher.  I learned that calculus is so much easier than pre-calculus, thank goodness.  It’s much more easy to understand. It finally brings together concepts so you don’t have to ask, “Why am I learning this?” Many biological functions are derived using integrals.  I learned how to do a derivative, and an integral, and a limit. And … I learned that it is okay to get a B.

Me:  Yes, it is.  … That’s what you learned in school.  You did other things during the school year, outside of school.

YD: [deep sigh of concern] I learned that whether I think so or not, I am ready to go to college.

Me: Sometimes if you wait until you feel ready, it’s too late.

YD:  I know.  I heard a quote from Thank You For Arguing.  [The author is] talking to a parent of four kids.  All of them went off to college and got great jobs.  The author asked him, “How did you prepare yourself?” and he said, “I’m still not ready to be a parent.”  It’s not a magical sprinkling bean that you chug down, and all of a sudden you are a college kid.  You’re you, still.

Me:   So is everybody else who’s going to college.  

* * * * * * * *
And so Y.D. will be entering into the School of Life.  That leads me to ask you, Dear Reader:  When you graduated to adulthood, how did you prepare yourself?  Did you feel ready?

Younger Daughter AS a cell, on Halloween
(For Y.D.'s answers about English and poetry and such, go here.)


Angie said...

I think I probably thought I was ready, but I probably wasn't.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I was ready a year before I went to college. I don't see my kids having my issues, though!
Love the curiosity you've cultivated in your home.

The Crislers said...

Adelaide learned that her science class is studying chemistry first thing this year, and is so excited, shrieking, "FINALLY!" when she found out. I hope her enthusiasm for science remains like YD's in the years to come when biology is introduced. I can't wait to show her the photos from this post!

Due to family circumstances, I had a tumultuous senior year of high school, and found myself more or less thrust into adulthood before I might otherwise have been ready. College then seemed like something of a relief, as the only person I had to take care of was myself.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I sort of wanted a gap year but my mother wisely told me that if I took one, I would never go to college. She was correct. I stopped after 2.5 years at the university have never gone back. (I might be a bad influence.)
YD would have loved my YS's high school. We have an Institute of Science and Technology. They had an entirely new building added onto the high school to house it, and the third floor is made of connecting labs. The man behind it all retired in June, and I'm sad he isn't there for my son's senior year this year.