- Collect/order your termites
- Draw your lines on your paper with multiple writing utensils. (keep in mind that they don't respond well to sharp turns or intersecting lines, circles and curvy lines work the best)
- Watch! Let the students discover what writing utensils the termites will follow.
- Reflect on which utensils the termites follow and the purpose of pheromones in termite colonies.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
- Rubbing Alcohol (2 teaspoons or slightly more per extraction)
- Small bowl
- Extraction liquid (enough for a couple batches of strawberries):
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon dishwashing detergent (e.g. Dawn)
- 3 strawberries (with green tops removed)
- Small plastic zip-top bag
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Tall cup (tall enough to put the funnel in without the funnel tip reaching the bottom)
- Dropper or spoon for liquid transfer between containers
- Test tube or small clear glass jar/canister
- Bamboo skewer or toothpick depending on the size of your test tube or glass jar used for extraction (see directions for details)
- Put the Rubbing Alcohol in the freezer. It will chill while you complete the first phase of the experiment.
- Combine the ingredients for the extraction liquid (salt, water, and detergent) in a small bowl. Set aside.
- After removing the green tops from the strawberries place them in a small plastic zip-top bag, press any extra air out and then seal the bag.
- Mash the strawberries up until all of the contents are squished (around 2 minutes). Set aside.
- Put the funnel in the cup and place the cheesecloth or coffee filter inside the funnel to prevent the strawberry chunks from getting into the glass.
- Take your bag of strawberry mush and, pushing the contents away from one of the bottom corners, cut that corner off and push the contents out onto the cheesecloth or coffee filter and allow the liquid to flow into the cup for a few minutes.
- Remove the cheesecloth or coffee filter and all of the strawberry pulp inside it and throw them away.
- Pour the contents of the cup (strawberry liquid) into the clear jar or test tube until the container is about ¼ of the way full.
- Remove the rubbing alcohol from the freezer.
- While tilting the jar or test tube use a dropper or spoon to gently pour the rubbing alcohol down the side of the jar or test tube taking care that the strawberry liquid and rubbing alcohol don’t mix.
- Allow the contents to sit for a few minutes and you will begin to see some white cloudy material collecting between the two layers of liquid. This is DNA!
- Once you see the DNA you can use the bamboo skewer or toothpick to remove some pieces of the DNA for a closer look.
Follow Up Information and Questions
So how did this work? Well, the extraction liquid you created by mixing the water, detergent, and salt caused the strawberry cells to lsye or split open and spill out their contents including their DNA. Then the addition of the alcohol caused this DNA to precipitate out of the strawberry liquid.
Now that you know how to extract DNA using common household items why don’t you try it with some other fruit? What other fruit would you choose? Why? Do you think another type of fruit will work as well as strawberries did?
Happy experimenting! Let us know what you thought and what other fruit you tried in the comments!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Friday, December 18, 2009
I love projects that are cheap, easy and have a high impact. Junior Master Gardener has a great activity that allows youth (of ALL ages) to observe seeds germinate in a really fun way.
First: Use a nylon stocking and fill it with a tablespoon or two of rye grass seed. They quick lawn fix mixes at your nursery retail center usually contain a high percentage (upwards of 90%) of rye grass seed. Rye grass seed germinates easily and quickly.
Secondly: Add some peat-based potting soil to make the plant person's head. Push the soil to the toe of the stocking and form a ball. Tie a knot at the base of the soil.
Thirdly: Glue googly eyes onto the face (hot glue works really well, but Elmer's will do in a pinch). Take a permanent market to draw a smile. You can also channel your inner crafty diva or dude. JMG recommends taking a pop can (soda can for the rest of you) and glamming it up with construction paper, pipe cleaners, glitter (of course!) to make your plant person.
Finally: Dunk your plant person into a bowl of water to saturate the soil (just in the beginning) and initiate the germination process. Tuck the nylon stocking tail into some kind of water reservoir (cup, mug, jar, pop can) to continuously wick moisture into the soil. I often spray a mist of water on the top of the head every day as well.
You should see sprouts in about 3-4 days and a full 'crop' of 'hair' in just a week!
The Plant Person activity hails from the Level One Teacher/Leader Guide from the Junior Master Gardener 4-H program. The book brims with similarly engaging lessons that teach a multitude of concepts from plant growth and development to insects and ecology. It is easy to start a JMG club, simply call your county Cooperative Extension office and talk to your 4-H or Horticulture/Agriculture Agent. To find out more about the program you can visit our North Carolina website or visit the national JMG website.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
- Paddle Plant (Kalanchoe thyrisflora)
- Flying Dragon Tree (Poncirus trifoliata)
- Joseph's Coat (Alternanthera)
- Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum 'Berry Allusion')
- Iresine 'Blazing Lime'
- Agave 'Variegated'
- Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum 'Rochfordianum')