Edvotek Road Trip: NSTA STEM Forum and Expo in the Big Easy

Bourbon Street, New Orleans.  Photo by J. Sullivan, pdphoto.org
Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA. Photo by J. Sullivan, pdphoto.org

 

I’m in the process of packing up for the NSTA Stem Forum and Expo.  This year, the conference is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana.  I’ve never been to New Orleans, so I’m looking forward to exploring the rich history of the city, including the architecture, the music, and the beignets (of course).

More importantly, I’m excited for my presentation on Thursday, May 15.   In this workshop,you’ll get to try one of our dye electrophoresis experiments.  We’ll load the dye solution into an agarose gel and turn on the power.  The current running through the gel separates the colorful dyes by charge, creating banding patterns similar to what we’d see if we were separating DNA fragments

Edvotek Kit #S-46:  Linking STEM to Agarose Gel Electrophoresis ©Edvotek 2013
Edvotek Kit #S-46: Linking STEM to Agarose Gel Electrophoresis ©Edvotek 2013

 

by size.  Since the gels don’t have to be stainedpost-electrophoresis, the experiment is done in less than 45 minutes!  We will incorporate STEM into the lesson by measuring the migration of the dyes in our ladder and creating a standard curve.  The standard curve lets us calculate the molecular weight of our unknown “DNA fragments”.

During the presentation, we’ll discuss some applications of electrophoresis in forensic science, medical diagnostics, genetic engineering, and paternity testing.  This will allow you to link biotechnology to current events and to popular culture, which will really excite your students.  I mean, who hasn’t seen a crime show where DNA evidence convicts the killer? Your students can solve a crime!

The best part of the workshop is that you get to show up, play with the equipment, make a mess, and LEAVE!  I’ll take care of all the prep and the cleanup for you (this time).  If you can’t make it to the workshop, stop by our booth (#209) for a chat!  We’d love to learn more about how you’re using our experiments with your students.

See you soon!

©Edvotek 2014
©Edvotek 2014