Lab Module - 2004 High School

Students working in a lab

Our activities in the classrooms of three regional high schools continue to involve both presentations and discussion about the importance of rice and other cereals as staple food crops in a world of expanding population, but limited land and water resources. Over the course of the program, we explored the question of how our science can help address major food problems. The program also provides an opportunity for students to learn about, as well as practice , basic molecular techniques including DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis and data analysis. Every student studying biology in the Groton High School participated in this program for 1-2 hours/day for one week during 2004. Several students came in after hours to continue experiments and volunteered to assist with subsequent classes. Eight student helpers from Groton were selected to accompany us to the Cortland and Homer schools during subsequent weeks, where they assisted with similar class exercises.

The addition of the Plant DNA laboratory exercise last year, continues to be a great hit with the students. Because the students are interested in the module, they are not only exposed to some of the basic molecular techniques, they are engaged in the material and are more likely to retain it. The local papers from both the city of Cortland and the village of Groton published articles on the outreach efforts that occurred in their respective schools this spring.