DNA Fingerprinting activity. Students used two restriction enzymes on the DNA samples. After running the DNA through the gel electrophoresis, they were able to determine the identity of the unknown person from last week's case report.
This is it. The big DNA Fingerprinting lab for my HBS students. Now that my teams have some basic information on the unknown bones, they will use DNA to determine the exact identity of our missing person. Today was a massive pre-lab effort to prepare for the actual lab tomorrow. We reviewed content from PBS and learned more about restriction enzymes. The students made their own 0.8% agarose gels today. Last year I did this step for my students, but I have since decided that this is a great lab skill for students to be exposed to. They get practice with a variety of lab equipment and get to reap the benefits of a job well done or experience the consequences of a not so great effort. We read over tomorrow's procedure and highlighted the major steps. It will take all of our two hour class to complete the DNA Detectives lab and the students will need to be ready to go as soon as they walk in the door. It's a great lab and I am looking forward to seeing what our results turn out like this year. I wish we did stuff like this when I was in high school!
Your task: Figure out who these bones belong to. Students spent a couple of days in the role of forensic anthropologists as they studied four bones to determine gender, race, height and age. The teams of 4-6 students worked together to reach a conclusion. In the process they learned how to use calipers and collected both qualitative and quantitative data. In the days following, the teams developed a formal case report to highlight their findings. This is the first time I have used Google Docs with my students to write a collaborative paper and I must say that I have been very impressed with the results so far. PLTW focuses on collaborative work a lot and I am finding myself becoming more creative and with the use of technology to better accommodate projects.
I thought I would share my student's updated evidence boards. We have been tracking Anna's evidence, medical history, autopsy reports and family history throughout the semester. Just a few more weeks until we figure out what caused Anna's death.
Check out our class evidence boards! They are works in progress and we will continue to revise them throughout the semester until we have figured out poor Anna's cause of death.
Over the last couple of days, students spent time designing an experiment to determine the Anna's height when the blood spatter occurred. We used our evidence to decide if Anna hit head while standing up or if Anna hit her head from a lesser height. Most students determine that a full height spatter could be due to an injury from another individual while a spatter from less than her full height might mean Anna hit her head while falling.
Today we talked about quality experimental design. We created test tube "dead bodies" and placed the bodies in a variety of ambient temperatures to check out what happens to the temperature of a body. I was pleased to see that the results came out fairly well. This lab is designed to give students some practice with experimental design before their first group project. We are another step closer to figuring out Anna's death now that we know what time she died.
I have really enjoyed seeing the students in action this week with our first lab activity. Students spent time visiting multiple lab stations to analyze evidence collected from last week's crime scene. We are starting to produce more focused theories for her cause of death and will continue to investigate her untimely demise throughout the semester.
Poor Anna! Students spent our first week getting set up for the rest of the school year. We organized our binders, learned how to create concept maps using Inspiration software and began our investigation into poor Anna's death. Students are using an online learning management system called Canvas to access their curriculum, assignments, grades and feedback. The link to access this information is: https://my.pltw.org/user/login
What a great turnout for Open House this year! The Biomedical Sciences class had 77% attendance on a day that many of my students had to start school at their home high schools. It was great to meet the majority of my students and parents. I had a mini crime scene set up that represents one of our first activities we will do during class. Students had the opportunity to get sized for their lab coats and visit multiple stations that introduced them to some of the key aspects of our program. I am so excited to get this year started.