Bioscience Activities

Bioethics: Who Gets the Organ? 

Participants will be asked to decide who among four individuals  should be given priority on the liver transplant waiting list. They will be asked to justify their choice and post their “vote” on the discussion board. After discussing facts on liver disease and organ donation, participants can re-evaluate their decision and read comments from other participants. 

Find full activity here.

DNA Extraction From Bananas

​Participants will be guided through a simple DNA extraction using a strawberry/banana, ethanol and an extraction buffer of soapy, salty water. Kids can discuss DNA, why scientists study it, what types of organisms have DNA and the importance of DNA.

See full activity here: Scientific American: Bring Science Home.

Skin Deep Science: Find Your Sensitive Side

Using two paperclips placed various distances apart, skin sensitivity to two-point discrimination can be tested on different parts of the body (arm, elbow, fingertip, palm, face). As an additional test, children can determine whether placing an ice cube on skin prior to testing influences sensitivity.

See full activity here: Scientific American: Bring Science Home

Vaccinations and Spread of Disease

A simulation including normal life events such as shopping, school, and work can be run by participants. Miniature people of two colors (vaccinated versus non-vaccinated) will be used to determine the spread of disease from unvaccinated individuals. For older participants, math models of disease spread can be introduced and discussed. 

Find full activity here.