Coronavirus has captured worldwide attention over the last few weeks, as the virus continues to spread across the country. As such, many governments have asked their citizens to practice “social distancing”, i.e. staying home even if they’re not sick, to avoid further spreading the virus. You can find more information about this on our last blog post about the Coronavirus.
One way of restricting groups of people from congregating is by replacing classroom instruction with distance learning. This is a great option during a pandemic, however it can be especially challenging to teach hands-on science labs from behind a computer. Many of you may be wondering how to implement labs, or if your students can still gain the knowledge that doing a lab would have provided from home. We understand this challenge, and our scientists have begun to develop Edvotek at Home: a set of resources to teach the basics of Edvotek’s labs through worksheets and presentations. While we believe in the importance of hands-on learning, these free online learning tools are ideal if you can not perform the hands-on experiments due to school closures.
On the Guides and Lesson Plans page of our website you’ll find a new section: Edvotek at Home. We’ll be adding to this list of resources in the coming weeks, so check back if the experiment you were planning on doing with your class isn’t up yet!
There will be at least two documents for each topic: a student sheet and an instructor’s guide. For some topics there will also be an accompanying powerpoint presentation or results sheet. These will be provided in a downloadable zipped folder from our website. There will not be any scenario attached to the experiments, so you can use them for general overview or create your own scenario (maybe coronavirus!). Students will critically read the introductory text and answer questions about the experiment as they go through the protocol. At the end of the experiment, students will have a firm grasp on the science underlying it.
The ELISA Assay
This week we’re making available the first Edvotek at Home resource which allows students to review and explore the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Antigen-Antibody interactions are critical for our immune system, and scientists have harnessed these interactions to enable a wide range of experiments. In the ELISA assay, we can detect specific proteins in a sample through binding of their antibodies, and vice versa. A great way to teach this in the classroom is with students doing their own ELISA assays and participating in a clinical scenario. However, if you’re unable to perform classroom experiments at this time, this resource will walk students through the experiment without ever using reagents.
Students critically read a background about the assay, highlighting phrases they need to look up and defining words they may not know. They’ll analyze each reagent that’s used in the assay for its purpose and walk through a detailed experimental protocol, step by step. Along the way, students will be stopped and asked questions about what’s happening, the math behind dilution factors, and analysis questions. You will be provided with an implementation guide and answer sheet, as well as a results page. Additionally, we have a video of the experiment for you to review with your class.
These resources are new and evolving, so if you have a question or suggestion, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to get right back to you.
In addition to our Edvotek at Home experiments, we’re working on creating even more resources for you during this time. These will include new experiments that students can do at home, easy experiments you as teachers can do if you’ve got little ones at home, contests for sharing at-home science, and more! We’ll be updating our offering consistently, and you can get up-to-date information from us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
We encourage you to share these resources with your fellow teachers, and we hope everyone stays healthy and safe!