DNA Fingerprinting

A DNA fingerprinting gel sheet with barely visible bars

The DNA fingerprinting lab was an exciting experiment where we delved into the world of crime scene forensics, using DNA fingerprinting to "solve the crime." We used agarose gel in combination with an electric current to separate DNA strands according to size, creating a unique "fingerprint" of dyed bars. By comparing this "fingerprint" to crime scene evidence, investigators, or in this case students, can figure out who committed the "crime." This project was one of the most intriguing labs that we did all year. The delicacy and accuracy required made this lab much more captivating than any other labs this year.

Completed: May 23rd, 2008

Natural History: San Diego Wild Animal Park

My group and I at the statue of Spongebob

In February, the freshman class of ECHS took a field trip to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Upon arrival we took a backstage tour to meet some of the resident animals up close. Afterwards, we wandered the park in groups. While we wandered, we watched and studied the multitude of interesting animals at the zoo. Students also had fun commenting on the animals to each other as we noted how different animals had different adaptations creating such a wide variety of appearances. Going to the park was an extremely fun experience, a great way to have education in a out of school environment.

Completed: January 31st, 2008

Blood Types: Paternal Testing

Red blood cells

This lab was an excellent chance to improve our blood type skills. It trained us in a more realistic environment how to test blood samples for blood type. We also exercised our skills in laboratory safety and materials usage. If any errors occurred, it is my belief that they came as a result of our inexperience with identifying evidence of the results. Thus, the possibility for error was high, but I believe most students were able to appropriately identify the blood samples. This lab could have been improved by making it more complicated. Perhaps using more similar blood types and placing more emphasis on Rh properties.

Completed: March 17th, 2008

Predator Prey Realtionships: Kill the Bunnies!

Very close predator prey relationships

This experiment demonstrated how predator-prey relationships typically have a very close correlation. When rabbit populations declined, fox populations matched the decline. In a habitat in nature, often times, as proven in this lab, prey populations will rise and fall with the amount of predators hunting them. If the prey population rises then the predator population in turn rises. This causes the prey to fall, and the predators will follow. Hence, the cycle is continued with each new generation. Source of error in this lab are minimal as there is no complex work to mess up.

Completed: October 9th, 2007

Viruses and Biological Warfare: The Cobra Event

At a certain point, we started a book project for biology class. I chose to do The Cobra Event because it seemed like an interesting book. I turned out that the book was very interesting. Inside, readers, me, delved into the world of biowarfare and the uses of super-deadly organism, like Ebola, as weapons. There was one thing I new from other books however, that I brought with me to The Cobra Event. I knew that bioweapons were designed to frighten, scare, or otherwise incapacitate a body/nation. Bioweapons are not an effective "total destruction" weapon. It was interesting how the book discussed using subway tunnels as distribution systems however, because upon greater reflection, I realized just how effective they really would be. It was amazing!

Completed: April 2008