January 27, 2013
It was a busy 3 day week for the students (and for me) as we began second semester by learning some of the introductory material in our biotechnology unit.
Events of the Past Week
Everything went as planned last week, with the exception being that the students were asked to complete the Polymerase Chain Reaction worksheet for homework on Thursday night. This allowed them to work on the Gel Electrophoresis lab questions for the weekend. They were to complete the first five questions in the lab by Monday, with the rest to be finished on Monday night.
Monday - We will observe the results from our gel electrophoresis lab. It was fun to work with the food coloring as opposed to the DNA for this lab because the students were able to see the dyes separating as the period went on. Usually, the students have to wait until after I've stained the DNA to see anything separating in this lab. Homework will be to finish the questions in this lab (questions 6-10).
When we are done observing our results (which should take about 15 minutes) we will begin watching a video called The Human Race about the Human Genome Project. It is really well done, and explains very well what the goals, obstacles, and results of the Human Genome Project were. The students will be completing a worksheet while we watch the video. This is one of the only units all year where we will be watching some videos. There are some really good videos out there about biotechnology.
Tuesday - We will finish watching The Human Race, and then conduct an experiment investigating how recombinant DNA is made. Recombinant DNA is a DNA molecule that contains the DNA from two different organisms mixed together. For example, human insulin can be made by bacteria now because scientists have genetically engineered bacteria that contain the gene for producing human insulin. When the bacteria grow, they produce human insulin, and since they can reproduce about once every 20 minutes, it does not take too long before there are millions and millions of bacteria producing insulin! Homework will be to complete the recombinant DNA activity.
Wednesday - We will watch a frontline special called "Harvest of Fear" about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's). The video investigates the promise and the dangers of genetically modified organisms.
Thursday - The students will be completing two online activities in class. The first will have them investigate the science of cloning organisms. The second will have them learning what stem cells are, where they come from, and what the potential uses of stem cells could be. For homework the students will be completing the stem cell activity.
Friday - We will be watching a video on epigenetics. The video investigates the physical changes that occur to our DNA as a result of our experiences and our ancestors' experiences. For homework the students will be reading an article from TIME magazine related to epigenetics and answering questions related to the article. There will be a short, 20 question quiz on biotechnology on Monday the 4th, as well.
Graba Geek of the Week
This week's Geek of the Week is Ippei Togo, who worked extremely hard at using the proper technique with his micropipette during our gel electrophoresis lab. Good work, Ippei!