Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bac Blanc Biology/Geology...Darwin lives!

I monitored one hour of a three hour Biology/Geology exam last Tuesday. The kids who take this exam are self selected. They have opted for the series S which means they are embarked on a life path in the sciences. Needless to say, there weren't quite as many kids in the room as for some of the more general subjects.
I did my best to decipher the contents of the exam, a daunting document since it was both in French and in Biology. Some of my friends and readers are reasonably fluent in Biology however so in the hopes of shedding a little light on what goes on here in that particular discipline here's the lowdown on the exam these kids had to take:
1. In a rigorous and well developed manner, explain individual variations within a Sardorian system focusing on types 2222 and 44. 10pts
2. Study the two graphs (displaying information about sedimentary layers) and based on those documents construct an agrument justifying a biological crisis. 4pts
3. There is a phylogenetic tree (otherwise known as an evolutionary tree - I looked it up!) featuring in order: carp, rat, tortoise, lizard, crocodile, and chicken. There is also a grid displaying 14 traits/characteristics which can be either marked present or not present. The traits include such things as: aminos, appendages, functioning lungs, skulls, scales, hair, jawbones...
The student is first asked to inventory these characteristics with respect to two creatures: the coelacanth (check him out in Wikipedia) and Tyrannosaurus.
Next, the student is asked to explain adaptations particular to the tortoise. Finally,(I wouldn't bet the house on my translation of this one) the student must construct an phylogenetic tree including 14 examples of tetrapodes and/or amniotes and properly locate coelacanth and Tyrannosaurus on this tree.
Three hours, sharpen your pencils everybody and hunker down...I watch these kids working carefully, meticulously over their papers and I think...I'm not in Kansas anymore!


Anonymous erin said...

Wow. I think I can answer #2 and pronounce "coelacanth"... other than that... wow. Definately not Kansas!

12:42 AM  
Blogger kc said...

If I had to pronounce it I'd just pack up my pencils and go home...

9:24 AM  

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