We were pleased to award Presdales School a class set of industry-standard micropipettes in two sizes. The bid followed a visit by their biology teachers and a technician to the Amgen Biotechnology Experience which also included a three-week, free loan of research-grade lab materials and linked teacher and student guides.
Staff were so inspired by the opportunities the higher grade equipment presented, they wished to be able to continue to carry out the advanced practicals beyond the loan period. As Nikki Albone, Revenue Generation Coordinator wrote, the equipment would:
"…make full use of this training. This equipment is key to the teaching and learning of modern and commercial Biology. It would be used on a regular basis and, with the diversity of practicals their use supports, this equipment is a good long-term investment for the department as it be useful whatever curriculum changes may be made.”
This grade of equipment is usually prohibitively expensive for schools but Nikki managed to catch an offer price and then further negotiate a reduction for her school. The application made a strong case for the specialised pipettes, explaining that it will help staff capitalise on the free training and written resources and help develop many science skills across the key stages, for example:
- “Many students struggle with unit conversions and with understanding the value and magnitude of such small lengths and volumes (e.g. micrometres and microliters). The use of micropipettes will allow students to visualize the small quantities of such lengths and volumes and compare them to more familiar units such as millilitres and centimetres cubed.
- This is also applicable to Physics, Chemistry, and Maths as unit conversions and a strong grasp of the magnitude of units is important in these subjects as well
- Use of micropipettes at the KS4 level to carry out simple biotechnology activities such as DNA fingerprinting will nurture interested in A-Level Biology
- Introducing students to industrial standard procedures to better understand how science is used outside of the classroom (e.g. medical treatment, medical diagnosis, research, forensic sciences, etc.)
- Introduction to industrial standard equipment so students can practise competency”
(Our sixth form biologists) found this new experience very exciting and engaging and unfortunately very topical. Our teachers have commented that they didn't get their hands on this sort of equipment until either Uni or when they entered the workplace. With fun experiments we are extending their use through all key stages.