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New Terms I’ve Learned for My Personal Vocabulary

Chapter 4 in our textbook focused on tissues, organs, and organ systems. Surprisingly, there were a number of terms that were unfamiliar to me. Some of them I’d heard before but never knew its true meaning, others I’d never heard before. 

Simple Squamous Epithelium: flattened epithelium; This type of sheetlike tissue may be found in the lining of blood vessels or air sacs of lungs. 

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Simple Cubodial Epithelium: cube-shaped; This type of sheetlike tissue may be found in the glands, ovary surfaces, or iris of the eye. 

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Simple Columnar Epithelium: elongated; This type of sheetlike tissue may be found in the stomach, intestines, or uterus. 

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Thoracic Cavity: The thoracic cavity is the cavity in which the heart and lungs reside. 

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Keratinocytes: These cells may be found in the epidermis, the top layer of skin. Their main function is to create keratin, a water-soluble protein. 

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Vasodilation and Vasoconstriction: Both terms are affected by the body’s core temperature. Vasodilation occurs when the temperature rises. It allows more blood to flow through the vessels. On the other hand, vasoconstriction occurs when the temperature lowers below the set point and reduces the blood flow by narrowing the walls. 

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Reflections – The First 4 Weeks

This Biology class has been in session for at least four weeks now, but for some reason I feel I am not fully grasping it. I spend ample time reading the material prior to class, (while often asking my roommate, a Biology major, for clarity), I review the powerpoint slides, and I take notes in class. Although I may be able to regurgitate the information I have memorized, I am not certain that I have the ability to explain or describe any processes in detail. 

I know that naturally science has never really been my niche. However, I am making the attempt to apply this course to my future. I am a social work major, so I find the connection by considering how bodily functions may affect individuals that I may encounter during counseling sessions, perhaps. I tell myself that this extra knowledge will help enhance my skills so that I can be of better assistance to others. 

Despite my positivity and determination to get a hold of this information, I’m just not quite sure that it is sticking. With subjects such as this, I find that I learn more from a hands-on approach. It is a challenge for me to simply listen because it is not my language. The best way for me to learn is through application. 

So far, I have learned the difference parts of a cell and its functions; however, I hesitate to say that it is brand new material because this information has been introduced to me before. One thing I can say that I have gained is more information about how atoms work. I can vaguely recall the periodic table and its elements from high school, but I now have a better understanding of how protons, neutrons, and electrons work. While protons and neutrons are in the center of the atom. The electrons surround it; There are three electron shells, and a shell can only have up to eight electrons. Atoms may share, give up, or receive electrons, which all depends on how many electrons the other atom has. 

I am still struggling to understand passive transport, active transport, and facilitated diffusion with their relations to ATP. An interactive visual explanation would help me grasp this a little better. I am also still a little confused about the entire process of metabolism. I really think the main challenge I am having is understanding and being able to apply processes. 

Overall, I enjoy this class and the material that is taught. Perhaps, I need to take a little more time diving into the depths of the information so that I can be able to apply it. 

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My Encounter with Healthy Eating Habits

Last week, my BIOL 140 Food Diary assignment sparked a conversation between my roommate and me. As I was completing my lab assignment chart and graph in the residence hall, my roommate and I tried to guess how many calories were in my meals before I actually looked them up. Most of our guesses were right; however, there were a few foods that surprised us! It really made us evaluate the types of “fat girl snacks” (as my roommate would say) we put into our bodies. The common “late night munchies” snacks are full of so many carbohydrates and fats; I guess that’s why they taste so great! Despite our late night and weekend eating habits, we try to stay healthy through daily exercise! 

My BIOL 140 class makes the observance of carbohydrates, sugars, and lipids even more interesting because now I know the make up, structures, and functions of these molecules. I never thought about what makes up carbohydrates. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms? What? Prior to really observing science, I only paid attention to the carbohydrates when I looked at the nutrition facts. It’s just eye-opening to expand my mind and actually learn about the breakdown of all of these elements and molecules that are a part of our daily lives. 

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Definition – Free Radicals

While looking through the first few chapters, there were few terms that I could easily recall from previous science and biology courses. 

One term that has been presented to me for the first time is the function of free radicals. The text defines this term as “an unstable molecule that includes an atom with an electron vacancy in its outer shell.” 

As I have learned, free radicals lack electrons in the outer shell. In order to add more electrons, free radicals can take away electrons from molecules to gain stability for itself. This action then leads to a disruption in the other molecule’s structure and function, causing this molecule to become a free radical. 

This cycle may continue and cause damage in the cell, unless saved by an antioxidant, which may give an electron to the free radical before disruption. 

 

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