Higher education with higher purpose.
Fall 2012 Newsletter

Summer Biology Lab Camp
By Rachel Graham, biology lab instructor

Biology Camp1

The biology labs were not idle this summer as fifteen home educated students arrived bright and early the morning of July 16th to begin our second Biology Lab Camp. We began each lab with a brief lecture and then carried out labs to reinforce lecture topics. Monday was microscope day as students worked with compound light microscopes to examine plant and animal cells, water samples with protists, and other microscopic objects. We finished the day with some demonstrations of chemical testing to see if certain biologically important compounds could move across a cell membrane as well as testing the effect of temperature on cellular membranes. On Tuesday, we worked on cellular respiration and photosynthesis. We carried out experiments on mice to see how various factors affected respiration rate and we indirectly measured respiration rates of plants and fish using titration. For photosynthesis, we conducted chromatography experiments and looked at starch distribution in leaves. On Wednesday, we started to tackle genetics. Students practiced Punnett squares to model genetic crosses and analyzed the results of some crosses. We also used fruit fly eye chromatography to see how having certain mutations causes different proteins to be made (or not made) which causes different phenotypes. We finished the day with bacterial transformation by inserting the glowing gene from jellyfish into E. coli and then seeing if the bacteria glowed under UV light later in the week. Thursday was a highlight for some students as it was dissection day! We surveyed the animal kingdom with students dissecting at least one invertebrate, one vertebrate, and one organ. Friday was a fun day of outdoor work in great weather. We visited our pond on campus and performed many water quality assessments from dissolved oxygen to aquatic macroinvertebrate surveys. We brought some samples back to the lab to analyze further to determine if our pond is healthy. The week was busy but lots of fun as students made new discoveries and new friends along the way.

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