Lab Activities

Lab Activities

Count: 22
A Coral Conundrum
Coral reefs are in danger due to the effects of climate change, including sea temperature rise. In this activity, students will explore coral reef ecology, symbiosis, and epigenetics as they analyze gene expression through a simulated microarray. Is there hope for restoring this important ecosystem?
A Living Conveyor Belt: Glomerular and Renal Tubule Filtration
An active learning demonstration, using a homemade conveyor belt, where students act out the production and flow of filtrate through the renal tubule. Filtration scaled by size, selective reabsorption, and secretion are all demonstrated. Certain processes such as spilling glucose in diabetes... more
Piguliar Investigation
Zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals) are increasingly becoming a global public health concern. In this activity students will be introduced to a swine influenza outbreak, the potential dangers it poses to the human population, and explore methods for rapidly... more
A Royal Disease
Whenever an individual suffers an injury the body produces a fibrin polymer clot to stop the bleeding. Hemophilia, also known as "the Royal Disease," is a genetic disorder characterized by the low production of blood clotting factors necessary for the formation of the fibrin clots. In this activity... more
Bad Food at a Good Party
Based on a real-world Shigella outbreak, this exploration delves into the concepts of DNA-based assays and their role in food safety and public health research. Students construct a hypothesis based on interview data and food production process, design an experiment to test their hypothesis, then... more
Biofuels
Students will bioprospect and test various soil samples for the presence of cellulose degrading bacteria. In this activity, paper is used as a cellulose source and a proxy for ligand rich agricultural byproducts that are the basis for second generation biofuels. Activity can be lead as pure inquiry... more
Detecting Zika
Local clinics are reporting increased cases of patients with fevers, rashes, and headaches. There have also been more mosquitoes seen in the area recently. Help doctors determine is there is a connection between the two instances by analyzing patient samples for evidence of the Zika virus in this... more
Diagnosing Disease with Biomarkers
Examine biomarkers and their role in diagnosing disease. Analyze simulated blood samples for the presence of biomarkers associated with cancer. (Note: Requires brief overview of micropipettor use.)
Dislike Broccoli? -- Blame it on Your Genes!
Alleles of the TAS2R38 taste receptor gene can confer the phenotypic ability to taste the chemical Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and other bitter flavors. Students will PCR amplify their own TAS2R38 taste receptor gene and use DNA restriction analysis to determine whether they have a taster or non-... more
Genomics and CRISPR
Targeted genome editing using CRISPR has become one of the most intriguing molecular science developments in recent history. This lab will begin by introducing students to CRISPR/Cas9 and provide a thorough understanding of the gene-editing mechanisms through a paper activity. The second portion of... more
GMO Detective
Students will perform a simulated pGLO transformation as well as test popular snack foods for the presence of a CaMV35S promoter, indicative of a transgene cassette, using PCR and gel electrophoresis. A simulated microarray and/or immunochromatic dipstick test can be substituted for the... more
In Search of the Cholesterol Gene
Coronary heart disease and stroke are major causes of death in the Western world. Elevated blood cholesterol levels are a serious risk factor for both conditions. The genetic disease familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) causes an increase in blood levels of the "bad" form of cholesterol, low density... more
It's Electric
In this investigation, students rotate through various stations to understand how the brain communicates with our senses. Stations include building simulated neurons, concepts in neuroprosthetics using an EMG spiker box, and controlling a robotic claw. Robo-Roach, our bluetooth enabled cyborg... more
Let’s Get Physical with Edible Sarcomeres and DIY Sliding Filaments
Sliding filament theory of muscular contraction can be a difficult and abstract concept for students to grasp. This activity aims to kinesthetically engage students as they navigate skeletal muscle anatomy by building edible sarcomeres and engineering their own sliding filaments. This activity can... more
Missy Baker is Missing!
Genetics meets forensics in the case of a missing person. In this lab, students will be introduced to the essential molecular biology techniques of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and DNA gel electrophoresis. It highlights real-world applications of molecular biology such as DNA analysis in... more
PCR Informatics
Students use real-world forensic techniques to extract DNA from their cheek cells, and then use PCR amplification and electrophoresis to fingerprint their own DNA at a specific genetic locus. Using their own results, students test the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium theory within their classroom... more
Photospheres
In this inquiry-based activity, students will use algae balls and a spectrophotometer to explore how the rate of photosynthesis and respiration is affected by different factors.
Prosthesis Thesis
In this lab students will participate in electroneurophysiology demonstrations intended to further their understanding of modern prosthetic development.  After the demonstrations students work collaboratively to design, build a prototype, and test a below-knee prosthetic using unconventional... more
Quantitative Spectrophotometry
Spectrophotometers measure the effect of a sample on a beam of light. This information can provide scientists with quantitative data regarding the amount of analyte present in a sample such as the amount of FD&C dyes found in popular foods and drinks. In this activity, students will create a... more
Restriction Digestion and Analysis of Lambda DNA
Students use three different restriction enzymes to digest genomic DNA from lambda bacteriophage. By visualizing the effects of three different enzymes on identical samples of double-stranded DNA, students learn that different restriction enzymes recognize and cut different DNA sequences.
Show me the Moo-ney
Did you know that there are strong connections to be made between genetic profiling and profit margins in the agriculture industry? In this activity, students will analyze PCR products using restriction enzymes and agarose gel electrophoresis to determine genotypes of cattle a farmer is interested... more
The Potential of Hydrogen Has Pucker Power
In this investigation, students will learn the effects hydronium and hydroxide concentrations in solution, make connections to the acid/base chemistry behind the taste of sour and test to see if their tongue can be used as an accurate measure of pH. The true pH values of the candies will be... more