Developing Talents Programme

Genetics Group

Eight Year Six students participated in a Developing Talents (DT) programme                  (six sessions) last term, learning about genetics.

One of our community parents, Amanda Ray, who is a scientist, kindly leads this programme; a further group starts very shortly. It’s wonderful to be able to integrate programmes like this with our GTT programme. Students are able to harvest bananas from our own orchard to extract DNA, and also learn about the genetics of taste – finding out if they are non-tasters, normal tasters or super tasters  and learn about genetically modified organisms, amongst other activities.

The students also learn the correct formatting for recording science experiments.

Maddy’s Writing

Aim: To extract DNA from a banana and look at the physical properties.

Method: First we placed 50g of banana and 100ml of distilled water in a blender and mixed it until it was a lumpy consistency. Then we poured the banana mixture through filter paper into a beaker. We poured 8ml of the filtered banana mix into a test tube, added 4 drops of dishwashing detergent and put on a cork bung. We shook it and added 18ml of cold alcohol and shook it some more. We got a hook and scooped out the bubbles and put them on a clean petri dish.

Results: We did extract the DNA from the banana. The DNA looked like bubbles. They floated to the top of the test tube.

Conclusion: The experiment was successful. There is DNA in a banana. Now we need to use the universal indicator solution and find out what its pH is.

Aim: To measure the pH of our DNA solution.

Method: 1. Add 8 drops of distilled water to the DNA. 2. Mix. 3. When dissolved, add 2 drops of universal indicator solution.

Results: What colour is the solution? It was disgustingly snot green! What is the pH of the DNA solution? The pH was pH6.

Conclusion: Our DNA solution has a pH of 6 (acidic)

Yi Chao’s Writing

Aim: To extract DNA from bananas and discover what it looks like.

Materials: 50g of bananas, food blender, pipette, cylinder, beaker, test tube, test tube rack, lab coat, filter paper, ethanol (alcohol), universal indicator, hooked wire, conical flask, cork bung, distilled water, petri dish and detergent.

Method: First we got the 50g of bananas and 100 ml of distilled water and blended it until it became mush. After that we put the banana smoothie-like thing in filter paper that was tied to a beaker. Then we put 8 ml of the filtrate in a test tube, added 4 drops of detergent, put a cork on it and shook it for 5 minutes. Another step was to add 8 ml of ethanol to the test tube and get a wire hook, dip it into a bubbly layer, twist and take it out to put it in a petri dish.

Results: The DNA looked all bubbly and weird.

Conclusions: To conclude it was a great experiment for me. The weird thing for me about this is… why were the bubbles not moving even though they were full of air?

4 thoughts on “Developing Talents Programme

  1. I was fortunate to see the high level of interest and enthusiasm among the students in this Developing Talents programme. The increased student awareness about genetics was apparent by the end of the programme. It was fantastic to see these students extracting DNA, taste testing to see if there was a supertaster and other experiments. Thanks to Amanda for a great programme!

  2. I know there is a second Genetics group. I will be interested to see what they present or record when they finish at the beginning of next Term.

  3. Amanda did an excellent job facilitating the Genetics Programme. Her enthusiasm and motivation provide such valuable experiences for our Year 6 students. It was pleasing to hear about what students had learned when they went on the trip to visit a laboratory at AUT. They got to look at real animal specimens, a human skeleton and use microscopes to see cells and TALK GENETICS. We were very lucky to have Amanda doing this at our school. She was fantastic!!

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