“What’s in the standard?” asked Dr. Mike Yerky from Cornell University to Washington Middle School AT Science students. “How many bands to you expect to see in the protein standard? Now, how many do you expect to see in the beef, turkey and chicken? More or less than three?
“More than three,” answered a student.
“Actually many more than three. Thirty to forty bands,” said Dr. Yerky. “Will this be hard or easy to see on the protein gels? Easier to see because there are only three bands on the standard and dozens of bands on the other samples.”
The students participated in a Protein Lab with Dr. Yerky and teacher Kay Eklum. Mrs. Eklum has been involved with the CIBT (Cornell Institute for Biology teachers) for about seven years. Dr. Yerky is the outreach coordinator for CIBT.
The all-day lab asked students to compare protein bands to see how closely species are related. Protein bands included: lamb, shrimp, salmon, moose, scallops and a mystery meat. Students used the scientific method - asked questions, made hypothesis, gathered data, used lab equipment, and made conclusions based on their observations.
“We are comparing protein for different animals to see, for example, if lamb is more related to beef or moose,” said Washington Middle School 7th grader Olivia Reinhardt. “It is very cool to have an all-day lab where you really get to work on a project and learn more about science. One thing I learned is that it’s hard to figure out how simple animals are related.”