Real World Experiences Can Lead to a STEM Career: EDVOTEK #267 Single Antibody ELISA Diagnostics kit

This is a guest post from Ms. Stacey Reed, a science and AP Capstone teacher at Green Street Academy, MD. Follow her on Twitter.

My students in my Independent Study Science class had a mix of skill levels and interests.  Some of my students were interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, but most had other interests.  While working on their own individual projects, several students expressed the desire for more “whole class” activities.  The Edvotek #267 Single Antibody ELISA Diagnostics kit was perfect for them!  A brief introduction to ELISA, the Edvotek Student Handout, and a class discussion ensured all students were able to be successful in conducting the lab and understanding the concepts.  Before using this kit, students had no conceptual knowledge of enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assays, but by the end of the class, they could briefly describe an ELISA test, could interpret the results and explain what they meant, and the real-world applications of ELISA tests.  

Providing students with authentic experiences is essential in their learning and understanding of key scientific skills and concepts. Students are engaged when they are learning through real-world, hands-on activities.  In addition, activities like this can peak their interest in a STEM field that they hadn’t considered before the experience. 

We completed the lab in one 60 minute class period.  One box contained enough materials for 10 lab groups. 

Getting the Box

Be sure to open it immediately.  Some components require refrigeration!  The other items were neatly stored in their box at room temperature.  

Prepping for the Lab

Prepping for the lab was a breeze with the easy-to-follow instructions.  A few days prior to the lab, student volunteers prepared the microtiter plate and labeled tubes for aliquots.  They also assembled the lab group test tube racks with the materials that students would need for the experiment (i.e. transfer pipets, sharpies, etc.).  I prepped the rest during my planning period on the same day as the lab in about 30 minutes.

No specialized equipment is needed to conduct this lab using the kit.  While automatic micropipettes and tips can be used, they are optional.  The results were reliable and replicable without these items.  

Day of the Lab

Students were provided with some background information on ELISA tests that was provided by Edvotek.  Students were able to understand the information and I did not have to supplement.  The lab takes about twenty minutes for students to complete.  The kit comes with a student-friendly handout with visual and written instructions.  Every group was successful and we were able to speak on the importance of replicable results.  The study questions led to a great discussion!  

Post Lab

My students are always encouraged to provide feedback on activities, whether they are completed individually, in pairs, small groups, or as a class.  

This is what they had to say:

“Do you have more things like this that we can do whole class?” 

“I felt like a scientist!”

“It was cool.”

“It was easy.”

“I kind of want something more challenging next time.”

“4.5/5 stars!” 

“I need to do more things like this because this is what I want to do for my career.”

Tips and Tricks

  1. Make sure to refrigerate those reagents!
  2. Get students to help with labeling and set-up.  They love helping and it’s less for you to do!
  3. Use a fine point sharpie for labeling.  The space for labeling is small, especially on the microtiter plates.  The fine point sharpie labels were the easiest to read later.  
  4. Smaller groups of 2-3 students work better.  This is a simple lab.  While all of my students participated, many told me later that they wish they had smaller groups so they could have done more.
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