My students need a DNA kit, PCR instructional video, and a MultiGene Gradient Thermal Cycler.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Hooray! This project is fully funded
The subject of Forensic science is meant to tantalize the senses and excite the mind. When I suggested this class three years ago, the district agreed and implemented it on all campuses under the heading of Research and Design. This means that the course is a senior level honors science elective. The main focus of the class is the development of a science fair project based in the principles of Forensic Science that can compete on the state level and an experience in the class that prepares the students for the rigors of college.
So far I have had one student, the first in the district, achieve that goal of reaching the state science fair. It has been difficult to insure that this class has adequate technology available to keep up with the students' hypotheses. I have worked diligently to get donations of equipment like a water bath, shaker, centrifuge and power supply for electrophoresis. All of these are needed for the advanced cell and investigation work the students in the Forensics class do. In addition, the students of our AP Biology class benefit from these additions to our stockroom. We have had trouble moving beyond this point and getting into the science that is critical to today's DNA Forensics and Cell Biology. The manipulation of DNA is on the forefront of the life sciences and the basis of what students will be actively working with in college life science classes. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) leads to bacterial transformation where bacteria carry genes of interest for research. PCR can also help access parts of the human genome for identification or exclusion purposes. The first step in working with any DNA coming from a Forensic Anthropology case or sometimes in toxicology is running PCR.
We do not have a thermal cycler to run PCR. This machine takes a tiny piece of DNA and replicates it millions of times so that you have a sample large enough to study. In Forensics it is an indispensable tool since you might find trace evidence with only a few cells (so barely any DNA) on it. In order for the crime scene technologist to do anything with the DNA and not lose it, the small amount of DNA has to be replicated first. Within the Forensics class I teach subjects like Forensic Anthropology, toxins, and crimes involving all sorts of situations where trace evidence has organic matter that can be tracked by DNA. All of these have applications that are initiated by the use of the thermal cycler and PCR.
Public schools barely have money to fund their core curriculum classes. There is certainly no money to buy a very expensive piece of equipment for a subject that someone will argue can simply be explained by reading in the textbook instead of hands on experimentation. I ask you to donate money because scientific research cannot be experienced in a textbook. DNA is difficult to understand for those of us who have studied it for decades. Seeing a band in a gel that is DNA, something that you have done an experiment with, helps understanding more than any diagram in any book. I have spent three years collecting equipment for these students to use in their experiments. Please help me add one of the final critical elements to the biotechnology package. It can be used year after year and the looks on the students faces when they make those connections is truly amazing. Thank you for choosing DonorsChoose.
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