Article Roundup: Top 5 blog posts of 2020

As you know, this blog covers a lot of ground — interesting science articles, experiments to do at home, teaching tips, and more. So which were the most popular offerings for 2020? Let’s take a look!

  1. Biotechnology Basics: Bacterial Transformation – In this article, we give an overview of transformation, the process researchers use to incorporate new genetic material into bacteria. Once transformed into bacteria, the new DNA (in the form of a plasmid) turn the bacteria into living factories to create medications, vitamins and other useful products. For example, scientists use bacteria to make insulin, the medication used to treat diabetes.  In the classroom, we can program E. coli with a jellyfish gene, making them glow bright green! We discussed transformation in a recent live stream, which we have archived on our YouTube page for your reference. Together, the videos and the article make a great pre-lab lesson for your students.
  1. All About Messenger RNA Vaccines – The groundbreaking mRNA vaccine technology has been covered in the news as an important tool in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, and its companion piece, we discuss the science behind mRNA vaccines and how they work in the body to confer immunity. These articles can be paired with the Origami Organelle COVID-19 Virus or Vaccine model, or with a hands-on experiment that simulates testing.
  2. Free Lab Resources: Introducing Edvotek at Home – We know that hands-on experimentation is the best way to learn science, but what happens when classrooms are closed during a global pandemic? Our scientists pivoted quickly from the lab to the computer to develop a series of FREE resources that teach the basics of Edvotek’s laboratory experiments 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 in class. We have created eight “virtual labs,” all available for free on our website. On that same page, we also have coloring pages and word puzzles that can also be used as pre-lab prep.
  3. Solving your Dilution Dilemma – Year after year, this ranks as one of our top 5 posts. Why? Because dilutions can be hard! In this post, and our companion post, we tackle the biggest issues we see happen when performing dilutions. We have also created a video that describes the best way to make dilutions. These resources are great as study aides or as pre-lab preparation, to have your students gain familiarity with creating dilutions before heading into the laboratory.
  1. Going Viral with COVID-19: Using Current Events in the Biotechnology Classroom – Our most popular blog post focused on the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and teaching resources to help educators discuss the pandemic with their students. We believe that the best way to fight virus misinformation is with education and scientific facts, and teachers can help their students process the information to learn about the virus. While some of the live events have passed, the archives remain online. We have also hosted two online training lessons (one on immunoassay testing, and one on nucleic acid testing) that focus on the classroom experiments we have developed for teachers.