“Let’s get moving and get into ‘photosynthesis’ mode,” said Jamestown High School teacher Doug Foster to his AP Biology students. “All of your supplies are here including the boiled chloroplasts. Get your supplies and take them to your station. We have a lot of work do today during lab so let’s go.”
Mr. Foster’s students were performing a lab measuring the rate of photosynthesis under different light conditions. Students used colorimeters to measure the amount of light that was absorbed by a sample of a chlorophyll solution that was mixed with a blue dye. As photosynthesis occurred, the blue dye turned clear so less light was absorbed. Students tested three samples: one of unboiled chloroplasts exposed to light, one of unboiled chloroplasts kept in the dark and a final sample of boiled chloroplasts exposed to light. The lab was taken one step further allowing students to test the rate of photosynthesis under different conditions by changing the temperature, the color of light or pH of the samples.
Mr. Foster’s AP Biology students are just some of many that will benefit from the new, updated science lab. The state-of-the-art lab was constructed as part of the Capital Projects referendum voted in by the public in 2005. A unique feature of this science lab is a separate lecture area.
“The raised seating and college-like atmosphere is a huge benefit to our students and helps in delivering my lectures. Also, by having a separate lecture area, the lab area will last longer as it is used only for lab work,” said Mr. Foster. “I tell the students they are very lucky to be working in a lab of this quality in high school. It will only benefit them once they go to college.”
Former Superintendent Raymond Fashano conceived the original vision for the science lab.
“The goal was to build a top notch science lab to attract guest lecturers providing them with a collegiate-type atmosphere,” said Science Coordinator Dave Currie. “It has the look and feel of a college lab where the instructor has access to some of the best technology available.”
The students recognize the benefits of the new lab.
“It always helps to learn hands-on in a lab atmosphere,” said JHS senior Mark Brombacher. “It is also great to have the computer technology at each station. We use the technology on a regular basis during our labs. The lecture area is also a benefit. It allows us to concentrate on the lesson prior to the lab and is an interactive area with the teacher.”