My students need chromatography supplies so that we can chemically separate different plant pigments and measure each pigment separately.
Biology today is dominated by the study of molecules - things that are so small that you cannot see them individually, nor can you really imagine what they are. Students understand a leaf or a tree because they can see and touch them - but a molecule is completely alien.
My high school students are highly motivated AP Biology students who are choosing to take on a big challenge.
For many of them my class will be their first AP class, and some of them are reaching higher in school than they imagined possible. They are very diverse - we live in a navy town, and people have come here from all over the world. Some of them are first generation immigrants, and some will be the first person in their family ever to graduate high school or attend college. Our school is clean, safe, and is an academic, athletic, and artistic leader in our district, and my AP Biology students consistently perform better than the national average on the AP Biology exam. While some of my students will head off to elite private schools (with a lot of financial help!), many others will struggle to pay for University of California or California State University schools nearby, and some will only be able to afford junior college.
Right outside of my class room there are these funny trees growing - they have dark purple leaves! They look like they are dead, but really they are alive and thriving cherry trees. Students often ask me why the leaves are so dark, and how does a tree survive if it doesn't have green leaves? Ah, but there's the rub - those cherry trees DO have the same chlorophyll pigments that make other leaves green, but the green chlorophyll is being dominated by a dark red pigment - a "cherry" red pigment - that when mixed with the green of chlorophyll makes the leaves almost look black.
The kits you are buying will allow us to take those leaves and SEPARATE the green from the red pigments, so that we can see each of them individually. The green pigments will suddenly appear before our eyes - it'll be like magic! There are even hidden yellow and orange pigments we might find, and then using measurements we will be able to identify these pigments by comparing them to known pigment samples.
We have 18 science teachers but only 11 science lab class rooms, and there is a constant struggle for equipment and supplies.
My official budget for AP biology last year was under $60 a class, so this project you are helping to fund will NOT happen without you. This particular topic - plant pigments and their properties - was a major question on the 2013 AP Biology exam, and because we didn't do this lab last year, my students struggled. Please help level the playing field - give us a chance!
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