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Students Participate in Pipette Challenge

Girl with pipette

Johns Hopkins University and MDBio Foundation staff fanned out to two Montgomery County middle schools in September to teach seventh-grade students how to use equipment that is more common in a science lab than a middle school classroom.

During the exercise, students learned how to use micropipettes by holding the equipment, drawing liquid and releasing it into test tubes.

Once they got the hang of the technique, students followed a series of directions, putting different amounts of colored liquid into different test tubes to create the visible light spectrum. They mixed red, blue and yellow solutions to make the colors of the rainbow. They also reviewed the metric system, practiced math skills and learned that a micropipette measures liquids as small as millionths of a liter.

The activity took place at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Germantown and Montgomery Village Middle School. Approximately 600 seventh-graders from those two schools are participating in Frontiers in Science & Medicine Day in October. Students will travel to the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, including the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, for a day of hands-on activities and tours.

The pipette challenge is designed to prepare the students for their day in science labs.

MDBio Chief Executive Brian Gaines said the pipette activity gives his instructors a chance to talk to students about real-world jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

“We hope to better bridge the gap between education and future careers,” Gaines said. “Pipettes are a commonly used piece of equipment in almost every lab. They are easy to use, easy to engage, and it’s fun.”

Approximately 4,000 students have participated in Frontiers since its inception eight years ago.

CATEGORY: Academics, K-12 Outreach, In The Community