Team:CU-Boulder/Human Practices


Revision as of 22:43, 16 October 2014 by Leighla (Talk | contribs)

The summer STEAM camp is a program designed to engage high school students in hands-on learning opportunities. The program emphasizes STEAM curriculum areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. This program gives young people the opportunity to explore a wide range of real world sciences. CU-Boulder iGEM supported the efforts of STEAM by teaching a group of adolescents from Heritage High School about the basics of DNA. These students received an introductory lesson about DNA, followed by a hands-on laboratory experience on the Boulder campus. Students first extracted DNA from their own saliva and stored the precipitate in souvenir necklaces. For most, DNA was an abstract concept but through this project they could visualize the molecular components of their cells. To introduce students to the diagnostic techniques used in research and medicine, they were given a sample containing one of two unknown DNA fragments. One fragment was reportedly harmless while the other contained a SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) making it pathogenic. Coincidentally, this mutation erased a restriction cut site, allowing the two samples to be distinguished through a restriction digest. The students digested their own samples and visualized the products on an agarose gel to determine whether they had a harmless or ‘pathogenic’ sample. The implications of this simple diagnostic technique were discussed in context of the current rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria. We had a great time educating the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and scientists.