Through this lab students will explore the step by step process of agarose gel electrophoresis.
Students demonstrate knowledge of DNA electrophoresis by making an agarose solution and conducting DNA electrophoresis.
11th or 12th grade AP biology students
One 90-minute lesson
Opening (20 minutes):
- Show the video clips, Making an Agarose Gel and Pouring an Agarose Gel.
- Distribute the document, Electrophoresis Worksheet, for use during the lesson.
- After watching the video, students prepare their solutions (or a prepared solution may be ready to be poured into the trays).
- Students seal the two open ends of their trays and insert a comb creating wells. Slowly pour the agarose solution into the gel trays so the solution will have time to set up for the next step.
Body of Lesson (60 minutes):
- Continue the lesson by showing the video clip, DNA Separation Lab in the Classroom and in Real-World Research. In this lab, students use the same equipment and techniques employed by academic and industry researchers to separate and visualize pieces of DNA.
- Lead a discussion about the clip. This discussion should help the students understand why we would do a lab like this in the classroom and how it compares to real-world research.
- Show the video clips, Loading a Gel and Running an Agarose Gel. Have samples prepared for time constraints.
- The students will conduct their lab. This will include the trays they have previously prepared, but now they will load and run the trays.
- The teacher should be readily available to assist students since loading and running these trays for the first time can be very difficult.
- Once the trays are being run the teacher should have an overhead projector showing one of the better trays being run for the whole class to see just in case not all of the trays worked correctly.
Closure (10 minutes):
- Exit ticket, “What did we do today? How does it relate to research that is currently being done worldwide? What are the possibilities from running experiments like this?”
- These responses will be used to assess the class’ comprehension of the lab, and will be the basis of where to begin the next class period.
- This is a very complex lab, so the video clips and the worksheet will be imperative to the success of the students.
- The teacher should be available during the lab to offer assistance where necessary.
Electrophoresis Worksheet: PDF
- L.12.A.2: Students know DNA molecules provide instructions for assembling protein molecules.
- P.12.A.3: Students know identifiable properties can be used to separate mixtures.
- N.12.B: Students understand the impacts of science and technology in terms of costs and benefits to society.
Lesson Contributed by John Metzger
For a demonstration or more details, contact Karen Karst-Hoskins
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 775.682.7805 or 775.544.9061.
Funding provided by NV Energy and the Walmart State Giving Program.