A collaborative project to produce a Biomedical Science taster workshop between Crompton View Primary School in Nottinghamshire and De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester has just been completed. The project called SAPPHIRE (Scientific Analogies, Primary Schools and Higher Education) was led by Dr Graham Basten, a lecturer in biochemistry at De Montfort. This type of activity is useful in giving pupils and students a taste of biology courses at university, and during the workshop Dr Basten was using an iPAD to show how mobile devices can be useful in classroom teaching.
Biomedical Science Funding
The project was funded by a prestigious Royal Society Partnership Grant which allowed the school to run a University Science Week, providing students with a taste of biomedical science and biology courses at university. The project was also funded by a De Montfort University Teacher Fellowship awarded to Dr Basten. The week was based around healthy eating, and Dr Basten explored the benefits of fruit and vegetables with the children and measured folic acid levels in a range of foods using a test called an ELISA. Folic acid is an important B vitamin vital for many body functions, and the ELISA technique uses a piece of laboratory equipment called a spectrophotometer to measure the levels of folate in a test sample.
Anatomical model used by Dr Basten
As part of the project, Dr Basten used an iPAD to teach about the human body using the “Visible Body” APP (visiblebody.com). He linked to iPAD up to the classroom projector and displayed images of the body to the children to explain the anatomy of the lungs. He also used 3D anatomical models of the body which are used in biomedical science lectures and practicals at De Montfort. The children really enjoyed using the iPAD in the classroom and described the anatomy models as “brilliant” and “amazing”!
Lung Anatomy and Physiology
In another exercise Dr Basten explored how the lungs worked with children and talked about the effects of smoking. To explain how smoke can damage the delicate lung tissue, he used a sponge and treacle pudding to represent healthy and tar-damaged lung respectively! Diseased lung contains mucus and the damaged tissue cannot exchange gases effectively, and this is important because the primary function of the lung is to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
Models representing healthy lung (a sponge) and diseased lung (treacle pudding!)
The teacher also enjoyed seeing how an iPAD could be used in a classroom setting and commented,
“The children really enjoyed these sessions. They have enjoyed the equipment, equipment we don’t have in School. Graham has the knowledge that we as primary school teachers don’t have. Every child has wanted to take part in discussions at the end of the sessions and share their ideas and what they have learnt”.
The children captured their ideas and what they had learnt about biomedical science using the “Scribble Press” APP and the eBook is available to view online:
In the biomedical science laboratory, the pipette is a fundamental piece of equipment that is used routinely for the dispensing of liquids, and pipetting is a skill that takes time to acquire and perfect. There are very few procedures in the laboratory that do not require the addition of a liquid or a solution at some point, from applying stains in histology, to carrying out a spectrophotometer assay.
There are several different types of pipette and each is used in a different situation. You might only require a quick and rough application of a liquid for example to wash a stain off a histology glass slide, so a plastic pipette would suffice. However, if you were performing an assay that was going to give you accurate numbers for the concentration of say glucose in the blood, then a more accurate type of pipette such as a micropipette would be required. Other procedures for example genetic techniques might require the pipetting of tiny amounts would also require very small volume micropipettes to use.
These OERs are a series of 3 videos by Dr Graham Basten explaining the three different type of pipettes and when it is appropriate to use them in the biomedical science laboratory. The other resources include a full transcript of all 3 videos and a short set of multiple choice questions written by Biomedical Science students for release as open educational resources (OERs).
We have uploaded three sets of biomedical science laboratory photographs onto FLICKR for your use and reuse.
The first is a set of images relating to laboratory safety. In the lab the understanding and compliance of health and safety procedures is hugely important for the safety of the individual and others working there. Here is a bundle of photographs illustrating safety signage, protective equipment and waste disposal equipment that you can use and reuse in either your own studies or to compile your own educational resources.
The second set relates to the use of the spectrophotometer and illustrations of a simple assay that we conducted as part of one of our other open educational resources. The photographs for example illustrate how to correctly place a cuvette into the machine, obtain readings, and how to prepare the relevant samples for an assay including a blank, standards of known concentrations and unknown samples.
The final set is relating to microbiology.
Feel free to use these biomedical science resources under the following Creative Commons license terms:
BY – by means please attribute us – De Montfort University HALSOER Project
SA – means if you adapt, crop or alter the images, please share alike – or share back what you have developed.