Human Nervous System- a great learning experience through Microsoft SWAY Presentation/ tool

sway.office.com/1tQH0PEjOt9XGyci

Please click on the LINK above for a very interesting & informative Presentation on ‘Human Nervous System’.

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PARTS OF A FLOWER Technique used-PowerPoint Presentation

In this Blog again, I have made an effort to impart knowledge about the ‘Parts Of A Flower’ in the best possible way using an effective PowerPoint Presentation…………….I shared this Presentation on YouTube also to serve more students & teaching community…….. I’m sure that my viewers on WordPress would benefit and like the usage of PowerPoint presentation in Science blog writing.

Please click the LINK below to witness my presentation :-

https://youtube.com/shorts/63R8gf4pDf4?feature=share

TRANSPIRATION & TRANSLOCATION IN PLANTS (Technique used- ppt)

In this blog, I have used a PowerPoint Presentation to explain the Topic- Transpiration & Translocation in Plants. The 8 slides presented here have made this topic easy to understand. It deals with nuances of the Topic such as what happens in these two processes (Transpiration & Translocation) & how the two differ from each other & so on. The Presentation gives a fairly good knowledge about the two processes in a nutshell.

Transpiration & Translocation in Plants (ppt video- Credit- self composed)

Please, post your valuable Feedback/ Comments about this Presentation

Learning Science Concepts Through Another Useful Technique – The BRACE MAP

As an extension of the THINKING MAPS I referred to in my previous blog, I introduce here another type of Thinking Map – The BRACE MAP.

The BRACE MAP is an effective tool for learning (or teaching) Whole- to– Part relationship for different topics/ concepts of Science.

A BRACE MAP is a great way of remembering different parts of any structure (say Parts of a Plant/ Organism/ Organ), remembering spellings of difficult Scientific Terms with their Meanings with the greatest ease…..the uses of BRACE MAPS are multiple & have been discussed in detail in the following ‘video clip’ prepared by me…

Video Demonstrating A BRACE MAP & Its Uses ( Video credit – Self composed )

One of the important Takeaways from this video clip is thatBRACE MAPS can be very useful in arousing interest towards Science in students & at the same time giving them a cue about how to proceed towards learning a difficult ‘Structure’ with ease…

Please connect with your feedback

Learning Science Concepts Through An Innovative Teaching- Learning Technique- The BRIDGE MAP

Learning science is fun. A good teacher makes the learning a lifetime experience. Science becomes interesting so far it is imparted with practical, every day connect.

In the last few decades, we have witnessed a great breakthrough in the way science concepts are taught and learnt. Science learning is no more a bookish affair. A whole new methods and techniques have evolved to reach out to even the weakest child.

Learning science has been made workable through various Interactive methods like low-cost classroom experimentation, field trips, storytelling, role-play, text cards, word walls, projects, video clips, PowerPoints, Science fair, Science clubs, Science- at- home, Quiz, model making etc.

Here, in this blog, I have tried to introduce to my readers, a teaching- learning technique which can act as a powerful tool in remembering various science concepts. The tool I’m talking about is called a ‘Thinking Map’.

Thinking maps are visual tools for learning. There are eight such types of thinking maps, each linked to a specific cognitive process.

Thinking maps are illustrations which can effectively communicate information using precise and brief language.

Here, I am considering one of the thinking maps which is called a BRIDGE MAP.

A ‘bridge map’ is a thinking map that is used for Analogies or comparisons to understand similarities and relationships between the pairs that are being considered.

In each pair top item relates to the bottom item. Such relating items are connected by ‘bridges’ (triangles) to show analogies.

Let’s understand the BRIDGE MAP with the help of the following ‘video clip’ prepared by me.

Here’s a video composed by me to help ease out the learning technique called BRIDGE MAP, for the viewers….

Video about BRIDGE MAP (A Thinking Map) (Video credit- Self composed)

I find these Bridge Maps useful as they-

Help teacher to illustrate concepts in a brief & precise way, so makes it interesting for students.

Help students to take down notes briefly with a good and precise understanding of the topic.

A ‘bridge map’ can extend upto any length, only it should include related items.

There is no hard and fast rule for the content. The teacher- taught can use them extensively, creating their own Bridge maps.

Readers do give a feedback, telling how useful you find these Bridge maps.

Why is ‘Cell’ called the fundamental unit of life and why its boundary line- the ‘Plasma Membrane’ so important?

Just as the basic unit of all non-living things is ‘ Atom’, the basic unit of all living organisms is ‘Cell’.

PS- The atom is still very smaller than the cell.

Now, the standard definition of the Cell says that “cell is the basic structural and functional unit of living organisms”.

By the word “structural” we mean that cells give shape or form to organs and consequently to the body parts.

By “functional” we mean that a cell contains the whole machinery (organelles) for performing various life processes required for sustaining life. A Cell processes nutrients to give energy and undergoes replication/ division to give rise to more cells. There are specialised cells to perform specific functions in Eukaryotes.

A typical Eukaryotic animal cell contains membrane- bound organelles like nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum(ER), Golgi apparatus which have specific functions to carry on various life processes.

There can be variations in number or presence/absence of a few organelles in different Specialized Cells, depending on the job they do.

Examples

1. Mature RBCs get rid of nuclei and all other cell organelles like mitochondria, Golgi apparatus and ER to free up space for more haemoglobin, which is an oxygen carrier.
2. Mature neurons lack centrioles which are responsible for mitotic cell division.
3. Muscle cells and liver cells have more number of mitochondria.

Some more interesting facts about the Cell:

– Human body is composed of about 200 different types of specialized cells.
– All cells are capable of carrying out certain basic functions like nutrition, respiration, growth and replication which are essential for the survival of cells.
– Since the cell carries out so many functions, so there is “division of labour” within the cell which means that different organelles of the cell perform different specific functions. For example- making of new material like protein synthesis by the organelle ribosomes, cellular metabolism/ respiration to release energy by mitochondria, DNA replication in nucleus of Eukaryotes, clearing up the waste substances from the cells by lysosomes etc.

Let us know about the Cell size, Cell shape, Cell volume, Cell number and Cell structure:

Cell size

– The cells are microscopic. In human, the cell size varies from 3 to 4 micron (leucocytes) to over 90 cm (nerve cells).

– The cell size is correlated with its function and not to the size of organism.

– In a large cell, the cytoplasm requires more proteins and consequently more RNA.

– The DNA content of the cell in a given organism remains constant.

– Small cells have more surface area per unit volume and with an increase in size this ratio decreases.

– Small cells are metabolically more active because they have greater surface area, so more exchange of materials occur with outside environment.

Cell shape

– The shapes of the cells are also related to their functions.

– The shapes also depend on the surface tension and viscosity of protoplasm, mutual pressure of the adjoining cells and rigidity of the cell membrane.

Cell volume

– The Cell volume is almost constant for a particular cell type and is independent of the size of the organism.

– The total mass of an organism depends on the number of cells present in its body and not on the volume of the cells. So, the cells of an elephant are not larger than any other tiny animal.

Cell number

– The number of cells is correlated with the size of organisms. So, small organisms have less number of cells than large organisms.

– The entire body of an adult animal or plant consists of a fixed number of cells and that remains the same in all members of the species. This phenomenon of cell or nuclear constancy is called “Eutely”.

– In human beings, the number of cells is around 100 trillion.

Cell structure

All cells have three major functional regions:

1. Cell membrane or Plasma membrane (cell wall also, in case of plants only)
2. Nucleus
3. Cytoplasm

Plasma membrane

What is the physical significance of Plasma Membrane?

– Plasma membrane is the outer boundary of the cell. It is present in all types of cells- both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, cells of plants, animals and microorganisms.

– It physically separates the cytoplasm from the surrounding cellular environment.

– Most cellular organelles like mitochondria, lysosomes, Golgi apparatus, nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and chloroplast (in plant cells only) are enclosed by the plasma membrane.

Is plasma membrane living or dead?

The plasma membrane is thin, elastic, living and selectively permeable membrane. It ranges from 6 to 10 nm. Chemically, membrane is 75% phospholipids and also contains proteins, cholesterol and polysaccharides.

Let’s know the ultrastructure of plasma membrane to know more about the living nature of plasma membrane.

Various models, to know the structure of plasma membrane, have been proposed by different scientists.

Fluid Mosaic Model” of plasma membrane is well accepted which we take up as follows:

Fluid Mosaic Model of Plasma Membrane (Photo credit- Wikipedia)

– The Fluid Mosaic Model was propounded by Singer and Nicholson.

– According to this, the plasma membrane is made up of a bilayer of phospholipids.

– Two types of proteins- Intrinsic or Integral and Extrinsic or Peripheral float about in the fluid phospholipid bilayer.

– Intrinsic proteins penetrate lipid bilayer partially or wholly.

– Extrinsic proteins are present either on the outer or inner surface of the lipid bilayer.

– The Lipids and Intrinsic proteins are amphipathic in nature ie. these molecules have both hydrophobic (non-polar) and hydrophilic (polar) groups.

– The proteins are present to serve as (a)enzymes (b)transport proteins or permeases (c)pumps (d)receptor proteins

– Lipids and proteins provide flexibility to the plasma membrane which helps in processes like Endocytosis.

– Plasma membrane is selectively permeable ie. it permits the entry and exit of some materials only in the cell.

– Substances allowed inside the cell include food, water, salts, oxygen, vitamins and hormones.
– Substances thrown out of the cell include nitrogenous waste and carbon dioxide, secretions like proteins, proenzymes, hormones, milk, tear, mucus, immunoglobulins (antibodies) etc.

Since plasma membrane regulates the transport of various substances in and out of the cell, so it is living in nature. This is done to maintain the concentration of various substances and ions inside the cell.

Transport can be Passive or Active.

Passive transport

– Here, the particles or molecules move from a region of higher concentration to lower concentration through plasma membrane by DIFFUSION. So, this is also called “downhill transport”. Here, the movement occurs only due to the concentration gradient without consuming energy. The hydrophobic substances are readily transported by this method because these are soluble in lipids.

– Sometimes a carrier molecule called “Carrier Protein or Permeases” assist the transport (without the use of energy) and this is called “Facilitated transport”. It is helpful in the transport of hydrophilic nutrients like glucose and amino acids.

– When water molecules pass through the plasma membrane along the concentration gradient without the use of energy, the process is called OSMOSIS.

Active transport

– This is the movement of molecules or ions against the concentration gradient (Uphill movement) using energy (ATP) to counteract against gradient.

– The most important active transport in all animals is the sodium-potassium transport between cells and the surrounding extra cellular fluid. This transport is called “Sodium pump”.

Sodium pump

– The animal cell requires a high concentration of potassium ions inside the cells for protein synthesis by ribosomes and for certain enzymatic functions.

– The desirable potassium ion concentration is 20 to 50 times greater inside the cell than outside and sodium ion concentration maybe 10 times more outside the cell than inside.

How Sodium- Potassium ionic gradients are maintained or how the sodium pump works?

– There is a higher concentration of sodium ions outside the plasma membrane of the animal cell. The sodium ions are transported outside with the use of a carrier molecule- A Carrier Transport Complex is formed which utilises ATP and transports sodium ion outside the cell. Simultaneously, potassium ions are transported inside the cell by similar way.

– This unbalanced charge transfer leads to separation of charges across the plasma membrane. This difference helps in the Action Potential produced by nerve cells.

How are the macromolecules, solid food particles, etc transported inside the cell?

These are transported by the mechanism called ENDOCYTOSIS.

Depending on the nature of the substance, Endocytosis can be of the following types:

1. Pinocytosis (cell drinking)

– Pinocytosis is the process of “ingestion of fluid droplets & small solute particles” by the cell. The substances like protein, amino acids, which cannot enter by simple osmosis are ingested by pinocytosis.

– Here, the plasma membrane invaginates to form small vesicles or “Pinosomes”. The vesicles pinch off from the plasma membrane, move through the cytoplasm and fuse with the plasma membrane of the other side, there by discharging the contents.

– Pinocytosis is seen in microvilli of small intestine and in kidney cells.

2. Phagocytosis

– Phagocytosis is the process of “engulfing solid food particles” by cells through plasma membrane (as seen in protozoa also). Vesicles formed here are called “Phagosomes” (1 to 2 µm).

– Phagosomes move through cytoplasm and are dissolved and ingested by enzymes of lysosomes. The residues are ejected out of the plasma membrane by process called EPHAGY.

– In Phagocytosis, bacteria etc are engulfed.

3. Rhophaeocytosis

This is the transfer of small quantities of cytoplasm, together with their inclusions, from one cell to the other. This was demonstrated in bone marrow tissue.

PS- All types of Endocytosis processes occur by “Active Transport”.

FAQs

Q1. Can we call the plasma membrane as unit membrane?

Ans. Unit membrane means the limiting membrane of the cell and the organelles, viewed formerly as a three layered membrane, composed of inner lipid layer and two outer protein layers. This concept has been rejected as Fluid Mosaic model is the current accepted one.

Q2. Do proteins present in the plasma membrane give strength to the cell?

Ans. No

Q3. What is the meaning of hydrophilic?

Ans. Loving water

Q4. What is the meaning of hydrophobic?

Ans. Water fear

Is heating of liquids and gases, and empty spaces (vacuum) same as solids?

We have seen in nature that solids, liquids and gases, and empty spaces become hot when they are heated. But, to our surprise, they all get heated by different ways. The simple reason behind this difference is the fact that arrangement of particles in all these differ. In solids, particles are very tightly packed. In liquids and gases, the particles are free to move about, and in vacuum, there are no particles.

I have already discussed in my previous blog that solids get heated by the phenomenon called Conduction.

The transfer of heat ( ie. the way things become hotter) in liquids and gases occurs by the phenomenon called CONVECTION. It is the transfer of heat from hotter parts of liquids/ gases to its colder parts due to the movement of freely moving particles in liquids and gases.

The process of Convection in liquids and gases is just the same. Let’s see with examples.

Convection in Liquids

Let’s take water as the liquid. When we heat water in a saucepan from below, first the water at the bottom becomes hot, so it expands (ie. particles gain K.E. due to heat energy, vibrate vigourously and move apart, increasing the space they occupy) and becomes lighter and rises up. The colder denser water above in the saucepan sinks down, taking the space occupied by hot water. In this way, circulation of water is set in the saucepan where hot water rises up, colder water sinks down- then it gets heated and rises up and again the colder water from top sinks down creating a circular motion of water in the saucepan called CONVECTION CURRENTS. So, these convection currents transfer heat from water at the bottom to the water at the top, or in the other words, water is heated by Convection Currents.

Convection Currents shown in saucepan by circular arrows (Photo credit- Shutterstock)

A Small Experiment For Readers

Try heating water from top ie. bring the burner on the top of the saucepan containing water.

Does the entire water get heated or is the heat transferred from top to bottom?

You will find that the answer is ‘NO’.

REASON is- the water at the top gets heated- it becomes lighter, so, does not sink down and hence, the water at the bottom remains cold as no Convection Currents are formed.

So, heat is transferred in water by Convection only in the upward direction ie. from bottom to top.

Now you can answer the following Queries:-

Q1. Why we always place the burner below the utensil while boiling, cooking and likewise?

Q2. Why the heating element of an electric kettle placed at the bottom?

Convection in Gases (air)

The heat is transferred from hotter parts of air to colder parts by Convection, the process being exactly the same as in water because particles of air/ gases are also not fixed and can move about freely. So, air gets heated by CONVECTION CURRENTS in the same way as in water.

Now, you will be able to explain how a Room Heater kept at the floor heats the entire room.

It is to be noted that heat can be transferred in air only in the upward direction (because the hot air becomes lighter and rises up) as in liquids.

Where do you find Convection Currents in air in nature?

Ans. We find Convection Currents in the blowing of Sea breeze during the day and Land breeze during the night.

Now, a question comes to our mind- Will the heat be transferred when there are no particles ie. when there is no medium (ie. in vacuum)?

The best example to explain this, is the way by which heat is transferred from the sun to the objects on the earth.
Radiation from Sun to the Earth in the form of heat rays (Photo credit- Shutterstock)

The vast distance between the sun and the earth is mainly empty space or vacuum. Still, sun’s heat rays fall on objects on the earth and heat them. This heating of objects on the earth is not possible by Conduction or Convection as both these processes require a medium. So, this means that the transfer of heat from the sun to the earth takes place through a different process. The invisible heat rays of the sun are Infrared rays. These heat rays from the hot sun transfer heat energy to the colder objects on the earth, without any medium by the process called RADIATION.

So, it is evident, that in Radiation, the heat is transferred from top to bottom (just reverse of Conduction or Convection).

Can you think of examples where heat is transferred by Radiation in the presence of medium?

Ans. YES, see the following situations:- When we keep our hands below or around a glowing bulb or by the sides of a burning candle or around a campfire, we feel the heat on our hands. This heating is not due to Convection because in Convection heat is always transferred upwards, whereas here, it is being transferred in all directions.

So, we reach to a big conclusion :- In Radiation, heat is transferred from top to bottom and also in all directions and also, Radiation can take place both in the presence and absence of the medium.

Have you ever thought how the phenomenon of “Conduction” helps in cooking, measuring temperatures, protection from cold etc?

Be it cooking, use of insulators, temperature measurement by thermometer, protection of body from cold, hot fomentation or any other such phenomenon, it all involves transfer of heat.

Heat is also transferred in boiling water or by a room heater to the surrounding air or by sun’s rays to our body. But, in these cases, heat is transferred by different ways which we will discuss in next blog.

Now, what is heat?

Heat is a form of energy. It makes the substance hotter. When heat is removed from the substance, the substance cools down in sometime, or we can say that its temperature becomes lower or it decreases.

Now, how we can define temperature?

Can we make out correctly always, by touching a substance, whether the substance is hot or cold? Most of the times we can. But sometimes, the sense of touch can be misinforming us, like when we dip our hand in very cold water and then dip it in lukewarm water, we will feel the lukewarm water to be quite hot and vice versa.

So, temperature can be defined as being an authentic or dependable measure of hotness or coldness of a substance.

Man has devised an instrument for measuring temperature called THERMOMETER. Thermometer gives an exact degree of hotness or coldness ie. the temperature of a substance.

Mercury, which is a liquid metal, is used in thermometer because heat is transferred quickly from the substance to the mercury by touching the mercury bulb in thermometer, where the level of mercury shows the temperature of the substance on the graduated scale (Celsius/Fahrenheit scale) encompassing the mercury.

So, by now, we know that when heat is transferred (given to a substance or taken away from the substance) a substance becomes hot or cold.

So, how does this transfer of heat occur?

Let’s take an example

We dip a room temperature stainless steel (metal) spoon in a cup of hot coffee. After sometime, we find that the steel spoon also becomes hot ie. its temperature also rises. So, it’s obvious that heat contained in hot coffee has been transferred to cold spoon.

Similarly, when we keep a steel saucepan (metal) on flame, the pan becomes hot. So, heat from hot flame has been transferred to the cold pan.

Now, if we remove the hot pan from flame and keep it aside, the pan cools down slowly. This shows that heat has been transferred from hot pan to the colder surroundings.

So, we can say that heat flows from hot substance to cold substance or from a substance at high temperature to a substance at lower temperature.

Here, it is important to know that heat may be transferred from one substance to another or within the same substance.

Example:- When we boil an egg in water, the heat is transferred in the following manner:-

Hot flame ➡️ saucepan ➡️ water ➡️ outer portion of egg ➡️ inner and innermost portion of egg

The transfer of heat within the inner portions of egg is the heat transfer within the same substance.

Is the heat transferred in all substances – solid, liquid and gases, by the same phenomenon?

The transfer of heat from a hot solid substance to a cold solid substance or within the same solid substance, without the movement of substance, is called Conduction. So, we can say, that the heat is transferred in solids by the phenomenon called CONDUCTION.

CONDUCTION shown within the same substance (metal rod) (Photo credit- Shutterstock)

In liquids and gases, this transfer of heat takes place by the phenomenon called Convection and in the absence of medium (vacuum), this occurs by the phenomenon called Radiation (these two phenomena will be discussed in my next blog).

Now, a very tickling question- how the heat is transferred in solids without the movement of substance?

We know, from our previous knowledge that in solids, particles (atoms/ molecules) are very tightly packed and they remain fixed at their position ie. they do not move.

When these particles get heat energy, they vibrate or wiggle at their position (there is no actual movement of particles from hotter end to colder end during heat transfer by conduction).

Due to this vibration, the particles possess kinetic energy (KE). The more the heat energy given, the more is the vibration of particles and more is the kinetic energy that they possess and so, consequently more is the temperature that the particles attain.

The vibrating particle causes the neighbouring particle to vibrate and the chain continues causing heat energy to flow from particle to particle. The heat is transferred to another substance (solid) till a thermal equilibrium is attained ie. both substances (solids) acquire same temperature.

HEAT TRANSFER at molecular (particle)level (Photo credit- Shutterstock)

Good conductors and bad conductors

Good conductors

The substances that conduct heat easily and quickly are called good conductors or simply CONDUCTORS. All metals and their alloys are good conductors of heat. Metals like copper, silver, aluminium, and metal alloys like brass, steel, stainless steel are very good conductors.

Bad conductors

The substances that do not conduct heat easily are called bad or poor conductors or INSULATORS. Plastic, cloth, wool, wood, paper, clay, cork etc are poor conductors of heat.

Also, in general, liquids are poor conductors and air is a very poor conductor of heat.

Uses of good and poor conductors of heat

1. The cooking metal utensils, being good conductors, transfer heat very quickly to the food being cooked.

2. Plastic or wooden handles of utensils like saucepan, frying pan, electric iron are poor conductors, so help in easy handling of these hot objects.

3. Woollen clothes keep us warm because the fibres of wool trap air, so stop flow of heat from our body warm body to cold surroundings. Since our body doesn’t lose its heat, so we feel warm.

4. Fur of animals and feathers of birds trap air and keep them warm.

5. Use of hollow bricks in construction of houses traps air in the walls and so protects from extreme cold or heat.

Some Questions For Readers

Q1. Which will keep us warmer- wearing a single thick layer of clothing or wearing more thin layers of clothing?

Q2. Which will feel colder in winters- a metal utensil or wooden utensil and why?

Q3. Why copper base below stainless steel utensil is better?

Q4. Why roasting a chicken becomes difficult if we take care that outside doesn’t get overcooked?

Q5. Is food a poor conductor of heat?