Towards the end of last term in Biology, there was a special practical investigation involving two classes working together – the Lower Sixth IB Biology group and a class of Year 7 Science students. The aim of the experiment was to isolate and see DNA. Each Lower Sixth IB student ran the experiment, assisted by three Year 7s.
The DNA was from banana cells, so the first stage was to peel the bananas! Then it was necessary to chemically break open the cells, dissolve the nuclear membrane where the chromosomes are and filter the mixture to remove the unwanted cellular components. Finally, we saw the DNA by suspending it in ice-cold ethanol, where it was trapped in the bubbles of the filtrate.
Both groups of students really enjoyed working together – it was great fun for the Year 7s to take part in experiments organized by older students and the Sixth Formers learned how to plan and work with their teams of able assistants. At the end, we all got to see the DNA that makes a banana, a banana!