Comparative Chromosomes – submitted by Laura Wodlinger

This is a great resource for teaching about chromosomal abnormalities for genetics and evolution at the same time. Students investigate differences between chromosomes (like inversions and deletions) of Humans, Chimps, Gibbons, and Orangutans to determine their possible evolutionary relationships.
Laura is chair of the STAO Secondary Curriculum Committee
Thanks Laura!!!!!

How to Select and Use a Micropipet – submitted by Flinn Scientific Canada


Measuring tiny volumes with precision and accuracy requires a micropipet. In the biology lab, micropipets are used for preparing and loading DNA samples, microscale experiments and the preparation of many types of samples. These applications rely on good technique to reduce error. This guide explains how to choose the proper micropipet for the application and techniques to help ensure that measurements are accurate and precise.

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Build the Simplest Electric Motor – submitted by Flinn Scientific Canada


Hans Christian Oersted (1777–1851), a Danish physicist, was performing an experiment in 1820 when he noticed that whenever an electric current from a battery was switched on or off, a nearby compass needle was deflected. Through additional experiments, Oersted was able to demonstrate the link between electricity and magnetism. The following year, English scientist Michael Faraday (1791–1867) created a device that produced “electromagnetic rotation.” This device is known as a homopolar motor since the motor requires no commutator to reverse the current.

A motor converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. The simple motor in this activity changes the electrical energy output by the battery to mechanical energy as the copper wire is set into rotational motion. Any current-carrying wire produces an associated magnetic field. The electrons in the wire are subjected to a magnetic field and experience a force—referred to as the Lorentz force—that is perpendicular to both the magnetic field and the direction of movement. At some point along the length of the wire, the electrical current is not parallel to the magnetic field. The resulting Lorentz force is tangential and induces a torque on the copper wire. This torque causes the copper wire to spin.
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How CRISPR lets you edit DNA – TED Talk by Andrea M. Henle

From the smallest single-celled organism to the largest creatures on Earth, every living thing is defined by its genes. With recent advancements, scientists can change an organism’s fundamental features in record time using gene editing tools such as CRISPR. But where did this medical marvel come from and how does it work? Andrea M. Henle examines the science behind this new technology. Continue reading

Introduction to Electrophoresis – submitted by Flinn Scientific Canada


Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the genetic material found inside the nucleus of eukaryotic organisms. The information coded by DNA determines the characteristics of an organism, including its size, shape and other unique features. How can this genetic material be isolated and identified? This activity describes one of the most common techniques used to examine DNA—electrophoresis. Continue reading