On Friday five Year 13 students went to the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland. The lab was run by a teacher who has previously taught at Tamaki College, so he knew all of our students already.
Students learned about how important the prenatal environment is - how mothers can best prepare their unborn children for life, and that Liggins is helping to study how the prenatal environment can correlate with some diseases that appear during middle age.
Next students got to practice using pipettes and setting up samples for PCR. Students then got to set up and run gel electrophoresis to try and work out how many base pairs were in a given sample of DNA. Then it was time for lunch!
After refilling on Subway sandwiches, students got to meet some real scientists and ask them questions about their research and their time at university. One scientist surprised the students by talking about how her programme had allowed students to work with cadavers - people who had died and donated their body to science. There were a few questions asked after that! After the scientists left it was time to look at a photograph of the gel electrophoresis results and see who had run it properly!
As we finished up, the teachers stood to one side chatting about teaching and learning platforms and biology etc etc... the students completely blew us away by spontaneously moving the lab chairs into a circle and chatting to students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate! It was so nice to see, and there was a LOT of laughing.
Here's a video of the trip: