School Groups

Laboratory Descriptions

NOTE: Labs are scheduled to run between 9:30am and approximately 2:30pm.  Times are flexible if arranged in advance.  Some labs can be combined or ammended to fit your scheduling needs.  Please detail your laboratory field trip preferences in the notes section of the online reservation form. Any changes or additions must be arranged in advance.

 Email or call to discuss summer programming hours and availability.

Student in laboratoryLabs For Grades 5-12

Fun With Mutants! (2 to 3 hrs) Students will:
• Learn how mutations occur and how they may affect the growth and health of all organisms, including humans.
• Learn how mutations are used to find genes and to determine what they do.
• Learn about DNA structure.
• Use a microscope to observe and compare normal and mutant varieties of plants, worms, and flies.
• Use Mendelian genetics to predict how different breeds of dogs inherit their characteristic traits.

Demystifying Deoxyribonucleic Acid (AKA DNA) (1½ to 2½ hrs) Students will:
• Isolate DNA from strawberries, peas or themselves.
• Take home DNA in a necklace!
• Learn about the role of DNA and other macromolecules in making cells, tissues and organisms and in determining traits.
• Learn how DNA data is used in medicine, heredity, forensics and other fields—including advertising!

Labs For Middle & High School Students

DNA Fingerprinting/Crime Scene (MS) (3 ½ to 4 hrs + lunch break) Students will:
• Take and analyze traditional fingerprint data from themselves and crime scene.
• Isolate their own DNA.
• Run the DNA evidence from crime scene and suspects on a gel and compare the results to ensure that the right guy/gal is caught. 
• Learn about the human genome, genetic signatures, and how they are used in forensics and other application.

Bacteria, Antibiotics & Us (2 to 3 hrs) Students will:
• Learn how bacteria transfer genetic material.
• Grow bacteria with and without antibiotics, make predictions, and analyze data.
• Learn about the microbes that live in, on, and around humans and how antibiotic treatments affect both microbes and humans.
• Analyze a case study of a child with a recurrent infection and determine the best course of treatment.
• Appreciate the power and dangers of antibiotic use to individuals and the ecosystem.
• Learn about DNA and plasmids.

Bacterial Transformation and GMOs (2 to 3 hrs) Students will:
• Transform bacteria with a jellyfish gene and observe the bacteria glow in the dark - but only under certain conditions.
• Learn how genes are turned on and off.
• Learn about plasmids and how bacteria transfer genetic material.
• “Advise” the CDC and USDA on policies concerning the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in medical and agricultural applications.

Labs for High School Students

DNA Fingerprinting/Crime Scene (HS) (3 ½ to 4 hrs + lunch break) Students will:
• Isolate their own DNA.
• Set up a restriction digest of DNA from a “crime scene.”
• Run DNA samples from crime scene and suspects on a gel and compare the results to ensure that the right guy/gal is caught. Upon advance request, AP students may use PCR analysis in place of restriction digests to analyze their DNA.
• Learn about the human genome, genetic signatures, and how they are used in forensics and other application.

Mapping Plasmids Using Restriction Enzymes (3 hrs) Students will:
• Learn the origins and uses of restriction endonucleases (enzymes).
• Set up restriction digests. • Run digested DNA fragments on agarose gels.
• Analyze the data and use it to make and/or verify a plasmid map.

Your DNA and Traits (5 to 6 hrs + lunch break) Students will:
• Isolate their own DNA and analyze it for a polymorphism linked to the ability to taste bitterness using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), followed by gel electrophoresis.
• Take the taste test to determine if they are “tasters”.
• Learn how normal DNA polymorphisms cause visible and invisible traits, healthy variations and/or predisposition to diseases.
• Discuss the human genome project and who should (or should not) have access to an individual’s DNA sequence. Labs can be combined or amended to fit your scheduling needs.

Reservations