About Me

About Me Created by Popplet.com

My name is Natalie Smith and welcome to my AP Bio Blog! I am a rising senior at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California and am a competitive swimmer who is planning on swimming in college. I am taking AP Biology because after taking the introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses, I found my biggest passion is for Biology and would love to learn more about the subject as my final high school science class. Within the course, I expect to be able to approach the teacher when I need help, form study groups with my classmates, and gain a further understanding of Biology. I am hoping that with the heavy coursework in AP Biology, I will be forced to become less of a procrastinator and form better studying habits, thus better preparing myself for college. I believe the most challenging aspect of AP Biology will be keeping up with the coursework through college applications and with swimming; however, I am beyond excited to be taking the course and I am looking forward to the school year!


My Adventures in Biology

When I first started making this website back before school even started last year, I thought setting up and formatting everything would be simple. I saw myself as someone who was fairly strong in figuring out how to use new technological tools; however, I remember spending hours trying to figure out how to make drop-down menus and categorizing each post. I definitely think creating a website helped me learn more about technology. Mrs. Girard said if we ever have to create a website in college, we would be way ahead of our peers, and I 100% agree with that statement. Over the year, I learned a lot about how to work WordPress and know that I can use the problem-solving skills I gained from building this website in college and beyond.

Reflecting over the past year, I think it is super cool that I have my own website with many blog posts that I can reflect on. I find it amazing how each one of us AP Bio Rockstars has a portfolio of their work online. In most classes, I would throw away my school work at the end of the year; however, if I ever want to revisit the work I did, I can easily visit everything I did in AP Bio on this very website!

I would say my favorite posts to create were the season roundups. A perk for me is that when I signed up, I ended up covering some of the most content-dense area: cellular respiration (first semester) and evolution (second semester). I thought these posts were super informative, along with the season roundups my classmates completed too. Reviewing the APBioRockstars website and reading all of the posts my classmates made was beneficial in preparing for tests and final exams!

One of my favorite topics to write on was the “Find a Way” TedTalk by Diana Nyad. After watching the video, I reflected on her message of never giving up and applied it to my swimming. I highly recommend everyone to watch this TedTalk, which I included the video for at the end of that blog post.

My favorite Above & Beyond experiment was when we were learning about the properties of water. Kyla and I took a CocaCola bottle and was able to flip it upside down (without the water pouring out) and poke toothpicks in the bottle and have them float to the top! You can watch this experiment here!

The post I was most proud of making was the stop-motion animation covering the steps of meiosis that Anni and I made. Although this video took two classes to film alone, I was beyond happy with how it turned out!

Taking this AP Biology class expanded my comfort zone in so many ways, surprising myself countless times. I’ve always had a fear of getting my hands dirty. However, when AP Biology traveled to the Palo Alto Baylands to collect data on biodiversity, I had to grab a handful of dirt and conduct a soil test. Where I surprised myself is that I didn’t even hesitate when it was my turn to pick up the soil. I reflected on this experience in my Save the Bay Reflection post, another one of my favorites! Another time where I surprised myself by getting outside of my comfort zone was just last week when we had Arthropod visitors come to NDB. At first, I really did not want to hold the Arthropods, fearing that I would get bitten and die. Once I saw a couple classmates holding onto the Arthropods (and not falling to the ground dying), I felt much more comfortable and held all the bugs myself. I’m really glad I did this since I had such a fun time getting to touch bugs I’ve never seen before in my life! I reflected on this experience in my All About Arthropods blogpost! On top of touching mud and bugs, I also expanded my comfort zone when it came down to studying and completing projects for this class. At the beginning of the year, for choice exercises, I would always use Quizlet flashcards. Quizlet was the only study resource I used and I trusted it, so I made flashcards for each chapter. However, I quickly realized I wasn’t absorbing all the content information and knew I had to change the way I studied. I tried out many other studying mechanisms before making handwritten notes for each chapter. This really helped me understand the content, and I could easily flip back to my notes to study. For projects, rather than just using iMovie, I tried out many other new sources which I was not familiar with at all, including Popplet, Biteable, and Piktochart. Using new sources of media helped expand my presentation skills which I’ll definitely benefit from in college!

I’m excited to be attending UC Berkeley next year. I know that what I’ve learned in this class will strongly benefit me all throughout college and life thereafter and I cannot thank Mrs. Girard enough for being such a phenomenal teacher! I had a great time in AP Bio this year and wish the best for my AP Bio family next year!

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Dear Future Team AP Bio…

Here are some tips to succeed in AP Biology this year!

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6 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Kyla G says:

    Natalie! Even if I wasn’t in your AP Bio class I could still easily tell how much hard work and effort you put into this website. You did an amazing job making this website unique to yourself. As your website progressed so did your writing capabilities. Your blog posts became more interactive and engaging. Your website is a demonstration of how positively AP Bio has affected you in your academics. Congratulations we have finally made it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rachel Wiebe says:

    It’s fun to see your journey through AP Bio and through this year represented in your website. Some of the labs you did and the field trips you took look really interesting. I like your future tips to next year’s AP Bio students and I like that you did it in video form. The advice you give is key, especially finding what works for you in terms of study techniques. Great job and congrats on being done!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Adria Stauber says:

    I definitely enjoyed this journey through your semester of AP Bio! It was interesting to see how your writing and knowledge about biology developed. Additionally, your blog posts were very informative and many were able to employ critical thinking about complex topics. Congrats on finishing the semester strong!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. carolines1023 says:

    Wow! Even though I consider myself to be more of a liberal arts person than a STEM person, your blog – with its graphics, videos and design – truly shows how the two can be integrated in education. I enjoyed being able to watch the experiments you performed, such as the video for your “Mysterious Water” experiment, instead of just having to read a description. However, the fact that you didn’t just post the video on its own and also wrote about it further couples the liberal arts and STEM, allowing your readers to both observe and read a prepared analysis of what they watched. Your blog is well-organized and superbly written; I enjoyed how your writing and videos improved in their quality over time. All the more, the social media connection made by your linked Twitter account cemented this blog’s importance in the real world through integrating cross-platform relevance.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Elizabeth Hegarty says:

    Dear Natalie, from sophomore year in Honors Chem I have enjoyed watching you become the student and amazing young woman you are today. I am delighted you had such a wonderful experience in AP Bio…just missed you in AP Chem!
    Best wishes as you venture forth as a confident, lifelong, learner.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. rebecca girard says:

    Natalie, You impressed me time and time again with the way you would step out of your comfort zone and give all the crazy things we did a try. You have such a calm exterior. At times, your calming presence was something I needed in the midst of the chaos. You shared excellent tips. So helpful because you used your experience to share ideas that will help future teams! Your video really showcases how much more comfortable you are in front of the camera and with your movie making. I love how your site includes such personal experiences. You have really developed your voice…I can hear you speak in your writing. You share the good, the bad, the gross, and the fascinating. Your tech skills continue to develop. Thank you for being a vital member on Team AP Bio. Each year, my students help me become a better teacher and I am forever grateful that I got to journey with you this year. You know how to find me so please do. I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures. Go Cal!

    Liked by 1 person

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