Technology transfer to middle school students

The upcoming 86th ANNUAL MEETING of the AAAS Pacific Division will be in Ashland, OR, June 12-16, 2005.  There will be a couple of workshops put on by Bio-Rad to help teachers understand how to use various kits within the classroom.  From the looks of it, some fairly sophisticated technology is now being introduced to students as early as middle school.  No genetic modification, but the workshops cover tools everyone uses in the lab to understand the systems they are working on, or systems they are building.

From the Meeting Schedule:

Bio-Rad Corporation of Hercules, CA, is presenting the following five hands-on workshops to give middle school, high school and university instructors the opportunity to try out some of the molecular biology kits they offer to educators. There is no charge for these workshops. However, participants must be registered for the meeting. Be sure to wear your meeting badge to each session. Space is on an “as available ” basis and preregistration is not required. Bio-Rad representatives will provide certificates of attendance for those desiring to utilize these workshops for professional development credits.

Wednesday, June 15

8:30 a.m.Genes in a Bottle. Extract and bottle your own DNA. Introduce your students to molecular biology with their own DNA! In this activity, you will extract and bottle the DNA from your own cheek cells to make a necklace. This real-world laboratory procedure is used to extract DNA from many different organisms for a variety of applications and integrates multiple life science standards in a single lesson. Seeing DNA makes it real. Be the first at your school to wear your DNA!

10:30 a.m. ELISA Immuno Explorer. Biology's magic bullet. Explore immunology with this topical, new hands-on classroom lab.ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is a powerful antibody-based test used to detect diseases such as HIV/AIDS and SARS, and to trace pathogenic agents in water, food, and the air whether these emerge naturally or through acts of aggression. You will simulate the spreading of a disease, perform ELISA, and learn how this assay is used to identify and track agents of disease , or to detect molecular markers of cancer, pregnancy, and drug use. This kit integrates multiple standards in a single lesson, including antigen-antibody interactions and the role antibodies play in medicine, epidemiology, and biotechnology.

1:30 p.m. PV92 PCR. What pair of genes are you wearing? PCR is central to forensic science and many medical, archaeological, and ecological procedures. You will extract DNA from your own hair samples, then amplify and fingerprint a pair of alleles, an Alu repeat within PV92, a real forensic marker. This activity integrates multiple life science standards in a single lesson and covers a range of core content areas, from DNA replication to evolution to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium theory.

Thursday, June 16

9:00 a.m. GMO Investigator/Analysis. Have your favorite foods been genetically modified (GM)? Currently, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods do not have to be labeled in the US. Regardless of where you stand in the GM debate, wouldn't it be fun to know if the corn or soy-based foods you eat are GMO foods? This kit uses DNA extraction techniques, PCR, and gel electrophoresis to test common grocery store food products for the presence of GMO foods. This activity integrates and reinforces multiple life science standards in a single lesson.

1:00 p.m. Protein Fingerprinting. Can molecular evidence support evolution? DNA gets a lot of attention but proteins do all the work. Proteins give organisms their form and function and are the raw material for evolution because natural selection acts on phenotypes. Over time, accumulated changes in DNA (genotypes) lead to variation and ultimately, speciation. You will extract muscle proteins from both closely and distantly related species of fish and use protein electrophoresis to generate protein fingerprints to look for variations. This activity integrates multiple life science education standards in a single lesson from physiology to the theory of evolution to exploring the molecular framework of biology. DNA>RNA>Protein>Trait.