Biology in the Real World practicals

Hi. We are here at the ASE 2012 conference
and today we are at the Biology in the Real World practical drop-in. This is a set of
drop-in practicals for teachers and science educators and it is held at the conference
each year to support the biology in the real world, lecture series.
We have got resources for cloning cauliflower, which is a new part of the GCSE and A Level
curriculum, and we have a technique based on one developed at the Royal Botanic Gardens,
Kew. We have had teachers from all over the world, which has been really nice, and talked
to people from Norway, Denmark, Holland as well as lots of teachers in the UK and technicians,
some of whom have never heard of cloning a cauliflower so it is nice to be able to show
that you can do that and it is so simple with the technique we have got and also the support
that we have. I am here at the ASE in Liverpool to promote
microbiology and all its senses. What we have been looking at this afternoon,
with teachers that have visited the ASE conference, are four different practicals. The first one
here looks at a microbial fuel cell and what we are trying to do is to feed some yeast,
sugar and then we are trying to harvest from that sugar some energy and by using this little
microbial fuel cell we can actually produce a small amount of electric current. We can
convert the electric current into work and so this motor is going round. Now this is
wonderful for teaching the bit about microbiology, biochemistry a little bit of chemistry and
a little bit of physics. But of course we are predominately here looking at microbiology
and of course I did think it might snow so I’ve got some beautiful images of snowmen
made from microbes. The other thing that we have been doing is to look at a transformation.
My colleague and myself have been looking at an alternative which is this organism here
and it does not look very impressive at the moment but if I take a little UV light and
shine it you will see there will be beautiful fluorescents.
Here today I have been helping out the BBSRC with heart dissection. Sometimes they are
damaged when you get them from the butchers so we have been working on a new part of the
process where you can sew up holes in the hearts with dental floss and curved needles,
so you can incorporate that, and then we have been putting water through the arteries and
veins back through the heart to see how good the repairs are. And the idea is to encourage
the students to be a bit more constructive in their heart dissection approach. I think
it has gone really well today the teachers seem like really enthusiastic about looking
at heart dissection in a different way. There are some who have done it a lot before and
some who have not done it very much before so I think yeah hopefully people will be using
it. Cleapss is very much about supporting good
safe practical work in schools so it is very much about getting students doing things and
learning about doing things. We have had a great day here today. The visitors today have
seen a range of different approaches from different professionals and we are sharing
with each other as much as we can. The chemistry, the microbes experiments is
really useful, but we are thinking about safety and it’s a lot quicker for the students to
do as well. Today has been really useful and I am glad that you guys put this on. It is
great. This session has been good because, obviously
it is biology, which is our area. Well the heart dissection and especially the idea of
maybe sewing it up. Most of the time you need to be stimulated
to do new stuff or to actually continue doing what you are doing or being critical about
what you are doing so, yeah, sometimes you run out of ideas or run out of energy, you
want to be motivated so that is the main thing, yeah.

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