Sunday, 30 August 2015

Our trip to the oldest oak tree in Europe

The oldest oak in Europe 
My dad, brother and I went to see the oldest oak tree in Europe.  It is near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The journey was about 2 hours but it was definitely worth it. My first thought when I saw it was, "this tree is gigantic!" It was really weird to see a tree that was 1637 YEARS OLD!!!! The whole time I was looking at it I thought about how it had survived both world wars and how it had made to 1637 years old. Half the tree was dead, no leaves, no bark nothing except just very long branches. As for the other half it was absolutely full of life, it had lots of green leaves and acorns on it (we even took a few to grow them, we also promised that we would keep the seeds and grow them into beautiful big trees and that we keep the tree generation going). There were also lots and lots of doves on the tree, I was watching them fly branch to branch, that was when I realized how big the branches were. Each branch was at least 4 or 5 meters. The tree was 23.4 meters in height!!! I had never seen such a fat trunk before in my life. Here are some of  the pictures we took.

Huge trunk
Living side of the tree

Sunday, 23 August 2015

15 Fun Facts About Dogs

My brother and my dog

  • Dogs are capable of understanding 250 words and gestures. The average dog is as smart as a two year old!
  • Some stray Russian dogs have learnt to use the subway system in order to travel to more populated areas, to look for food! 
  • The wetness of a dogs' nose is essential for determining what direction a smell is coming from!
  • Hyenas aren't actually dogs, they are more closely related to cats.
  • The basenji is the only dog that can't bark, but can yodel.
  • Dogs' sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than humans!!!!!
  • Dogs can be jealous if they see humans displaying affection toward something or someone else.
  • Dogs don't only see in black and white- they can also see blue and yellow!
  • Dogs see a lot better than humans do at night.
  • They can also hear about 4 times the distance of a human
  • There is a dog that can understand 1,022 words!!!
  • The breed lundehune has 6 toes and can close its ears!!
  • U.S have the highest dog population in the world.
  • The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog! 
  • 3 dogs survived the sinking of the titanic!!!

White Storks

White storks have red legs and long pointed red beaks. Their wingspan is up to 215 cm long. These birds spend the summer and spring in Europe and will fly  to Africa where it is warm, and wait until the winter is over. The flight from  Africa  to Europe takes about 49 days and when they arrive they will start to build a nest out of twigs and hay. The white stork eats insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and even but very very rarely SMALL BIRDS!!!.  The male storks are bigger than the female storks. Breeding pairs of white storks will gather in groups to hunt, we often see them following the tractors and picking up the grubs and worms.

They  will hunt in the day in short grass marshes. If the stork has caught a small prey it will eat it whole but if it has caught a big prey it will break it down in its mouth. Rubber bands are normally confused for earth worm and they will swallow it whole and will cause a  fatal blockage of their digestive tract. Sometimes the white storks will hear the mating calls of the frogs and go down to eat them. There are about 3 pairs  storks where I live and they come back to the same spot each year.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Week Two in the lab.

This week in the lab, we looked at onion cells, we took bass line measurements from 3 different sized ponds in the garden for a future study and we looked at some small water organisms.

Firstly, we took some of the onion layer that was between the actual fruit and the dry, brown outside skin to see the epithelial cells of an onion.  We stained the material in the same way as the blood slide in order to be able to see the nucleus and other cell parts. Below is a photograph that we took through the microscope . These are several cells grouped together. You can clearly see the nuclei (small dots), cytoplasms (inside the walls) and cell walls.

Photo I took of stained onion cells 

  From one of our ponds we took a sample of muddy silt and we examined it and we found a very interesting organism.  It is called a paramecium. A paramecium interests me because it is a one celled organism. It is neither animal or plant yet it still appears to move and eat.This a video of a paramecium.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

How to make a blood slide

Step 1 - Place a drop of blood on the slide

Step 2 - Using another slide, back onto the drop and pull the slide along the glass.

Step 3 - Allow to dry

Step 4 - Cover the slide with a layer of alcohol then allow to dry. This fixes the the blood cells

Step 5 - Cover the slide with haematoxylin for two minutes

Step 6 - Rinse in water for one minute to remove excess haematoxylin. This is called differentiation

Step 7 - Wash in 50% alcohol for one minute

Step 8 - Cover with eosin for 30 secs.

Step 9 - Wash in 50% alcohol again

Step 10 - Leave to dry

Step 11 - Place a drop of mountant on the slide and cover with a coverslip.

 = Nucleic of white blood cells- purple
=  Cytoplasm of white blood cells- pink