So back in the 2014 school year I applied for the MoDRN teacher lab experience and research opportunity with Baylor University, Yale and 2 schools out of Washington. I was chosen for the program and started this Monday July 6, 2015.
Of course I can't just do something like this program gracefully and/or at 100% so for good measure I went ahead and sprained my ankle Thursday after the last day of ECHS at La Vega. So I've been hopping around all week. It honestly, other than being an annoyance, hasn't caused any issues for me.
Monday was spent predominately on paper work and background lectures with Dr. Brooks from the Environmental Science dept at Baylor. Tuesday we began again with a short lecture and were divided up into our lab groups and assigned to our PhD students. The jist of the project is focusing on green chemistry and specifically the differences in toxicity on daphnia (About Daphnia Video) for OTC household items labeled either 'green' or with no 'green' product labeling or claims. The groups are blind to which product is labeled green and which product is not. The groups chose their specific product from either body wash, laundry detergent, bug repellant and one other that I cannot remember for the life of me.
My group chose bug repellant in hopes that we could see some really cool and marked results.
On Tuesday we did serial dilutions of our two substances, substance A and substance B. Our dilution range was .1%-.00063% with controls for each using RHW (reconstituted hard water).Once our dilutions were complete it was time to start loading our specimen cups. For each dilution of both substance we ran 4 different trials each containing the % dilution and 5 healthy daphnia. My group and I are now pros as extracting neonate daphnia from solution with a cut off disposable micropipette--it is as tedious as it sounds but somehow also relaxing.
Once both test groups were labeled and loaded they were placed in the incubator. We then set up a second control using NaCl and RHW, with a control set, and loaded with five neonate daphnia in order to compare our two substance trials. This too was placed in the incubator. I will note here that we did collect data on all 3 of these sets for the 0 hour before placing them in the incubator.
Wednesday began with a short lecture over water chemistry and we were right back in the lab. For the dilutions we created on Tuesday we had to work out the water chemistry details. We titrated to find hardness of both substance A and B using a color indicator and recorded all of our data. We used probes to measure Dissolved oxygen levels of all % for both substances. Then we measured conductivity and pH etc. The last titration we completed prompted our lab team to dub ourselves "TEAM TITRATION"--we knocked those 2 titrations out of the park!!! Aftre finishing our water chemistry, we did our 24 hour examination of or salt control and 2 substances. I wont give away any findings yet. There will be an ice cream social after presentations on Friday in BSB A.401. We then ended with a 1 hour lecture over professional powerpoint presentations as this is what we will be working on tomorrow after we work through all of our data.
Some things I have found fun/interesting this week have been the use of substances like EtOH and Methanol as sterilizing cleaners. I have learned ALOT more about the life cycle, appearance and behavior of water fleas, Daphnia, than I ever thought possible. I really want to find time and a way for my students to experience all of the equipments, procedures and protocols that I have experienced this week. I know that I am a nerd but it has been SUPER fun!!!
Video about other organisms used by this lab