Week 3: the science begins!
There was an non-trivial amount of work required of the teaching staff to prepare for this class. What was that work? 1) Preparing fresh plates of microbial isolates – enough for one for each student, and demos. 2) Preparing fresh reagents for oxidase and catalase tests. 3) Growing a fresh isolate from glycerol stock that had been previously identified as a positive control for oxidase and catalase tests. A complete list of the materials needed are listed in the protocols for Week 3: Dilution streaking and Oxidase&Catalase tests.
The first part of class was teaching students how to do dilution streaks of isolates, why scientists do dilution streaking, and why it is
important for what is happening in the course. We can’t stress enough how important good labeling is! Plate labels included students’ initials, the date, sample ID from the original plate, and media type. Information on temperature and aerobicity are important to include too.
The second part of class was to perform oxidase and catalase tests on the microbial isolates. We had a brief discussion with students about
why these tests are important and what information that gives us.
Both of these protocols are written up by our student assistants, Kaylah and Emily, in this in class handout.
We used the last 45 minutes of class to have Dr. Rachel Vannette, the PI associated with this research, come speak to the class about the paper the students will be re-writing for the Frontiers for Young Minds article. She walked through each figure of the paper with the students so everybody was on the same page. For homework, the class was divided into teams (1 for each figure), and were given a brainstorming worksheet of how they can communicate each figure to a younger audience. Here is an example of the completed assignment from the group that was assigned to Figure 2 (student’s names blacked out).