Spring SAVY 2020: Day 3 – Biochemistry (5th/6th)
In our Third Week of Spring SAVY 2020, Biochemistry course:
We began the third week of the biochemistry course by recapping what we covered through the first two weeks through a journaling activity. The students were very excited about the activity where we took either their first or last names and compiled the amino acid sequence associated with those letters. This amino acid sequence was back-translated to the DNA sequence, elucidating the central dogma of DNA->RNA->Protein.
The students then worked to finish their poster presentations. We had wonderful and very creative final project ideas. The students were tasked with determining a real world of application that they wanted to research and give a presentation over. We had a wide range of ideas, from how it is poison frogs develop their toxicity to the relationship between stardust and our organic material that composes the body.
After further discussion on transcription (DNA->RNA) and translation (RNA->Protein), the students we assessed on their ability to retain the knowledge by participating in a jeopardy game. Following the game, the students gave their final presentations to their fellow peers.
Lastly, to wrap up the biochemistry course, the students performed a version of a blood test that contained no biohazards. Students performed an immuno histo-chemistry assay, in which they were targeting glycophorin, a protein over expressed in human red blood cells.
The glycophorin was mixed with running and extraction buffer and dropped on a gold-plated strip for the experiment. The trial had two checks: one for a valid test (control) and one for a positive or negative result. Through this experimentation, the students learned how to prep samples, how targeting assays work, and what does it mean to be specific for a molecule.
For the course as a whole, the goal was to lead the students on a journey from the macro to micro level, with stops in the bodily systems, the cells, the organelles, to the molecules and atoms that compose our body. By designing the course with this hierarchical structure, the hope was to have students understand the truly incredible nature of our own biology and to have a better understanding of the biochemistry that creates life!