Classic SEP Lessons

Classic SEP Lessons 

These are lessons developed by SEP to teach various biotechnology skills and concepts from gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), bacterial transformation, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). These materials are to teach the concepts and skills through one or two lessons and not entire units. To teach these concepts as part of a larger unit or curriculum please visit our Curriculum page
 

Step 1: Complete Short Survey

Complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

 

Step 2: Download Lessons 

Select from the topics below and download the materials for each lesson. 

Gel Electrophoresis

SEP labs and lessons for teaching biotechnology tools and concepts from micropipetting, gel electrophoresis, DNA, and restriction enzymes. 

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Intro to Micropipetting
Close up of hands micropipetting
Fred Hutch file

In this lesson, students are introduced to micropipetting. They will explore the 2-stops on a micropipet, the various ranges of different micropipets, and how to read and adjust the volume.

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

 

Electrophoresis Exploration
Close up of a gel electrophoresis box and comb
Fred Hutch file

In this lesson, students learn about the equipment needed for gel electrophoresis and its chemical properties. Through this inquiry lab, they will learn about the concepts of conductivity, pH, and buffer chemistry.

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Dye Lab
Side view of a row of microtubes with various color dyes in it
Photo by Caren Brinkema

In this lesson, students learn about dye chemistry and how to separate complex mixtures of molecules by size, shape, and charge using gel electrophoresis analysis. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials: 

Precut DNA
6 well gel with a DNA ladder and 5 different DNA samples
Photo by Hanako Osuga

In this lesson, students connect concepts about DNA, enzymes, and charge to run gel electrophoresis analysis on pre-cut DNA and observe the different banding patterns. Using a DNA ladder, students can estimate the size of each fragment that they separated. A forensics scenario can be used for a modification of this lab. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Additional Resources:

Molecular Scissors
Two microtubes in a heat block with thermometer
Fred Hutch file

In this lesson, students will use molecular scissors, restriction enzymes, to cut DNA at specific locations. Students perform their own restriction enzyme digests and analyze the resulting banding patterns in their gels. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Additional Resources:

Polymerase Chain Reaction

SEP labs and lessons for teaching about polymerase chain reactions to amplify DNA. 

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PTC Taster
Child covering eyes sitting in front of a plate of vegetables
Getty Images

In this lesson, students will predict their phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) Taster Gene status using a bitter food quiz and then analyze their own DNA from cheek cells using PCR and a restriction enzyme digest, looking for the presence of the TAS2R38 gene variant that makes them able to taste bitterness. 

Materials:

Go to Taster PCR Lesson Page. 

Variable Number Tandem Repeat (D1S80)
Purple, yellow, and blue PCR tubes in a red thermocycler
Photo by Regina Wu

In this lab, students will analyze their own DNA from cheek cells, looking at the region of a specific  Variable Number Tandem Repeat (VNTR) called D1S80. VNTRs are variable regions in our non-coding DNA that repeat many times. The D1S80 VNTR is a short 16-base pair segment. The number of repeats are inherited from each parent and can vary widely. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Alu Insert (PV92)
PCR tubes in a metal tube rack
Fred Hutch file

In this lab, students will analyze their own DNA from cheek cells for the presence of an Alu insert called PV92,  a small non-coding sequence of DNA, within a specific location on chromosome 16. Alu inserts are a region of your non-coding DNA that is either present or absent in an individual’s genome.

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Genetically Modified Organisms
A plate with 3 corns on the cob
Fred Hutch file

In this lab, students will analyze various food items containing corn for the presence of a well known GMO gene that codes for resistance to glyphosate, a popular herbicide. This lab features multiplexed PCR, which uses two primer sets, one control primer set that looks for a common element in corn DNA and one GMO primer set that looks for the GMO gene.

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Invasive Mussel Project
Mussels
Getty Images

In this lab, students will analyze mussel DNA to determine whether the mussel is a species native to the Pacific Northwest or an invasive species by detecting the presence or absence  of an adhesive protein gene found in the invasive species. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Bacterial Transformation

SEP labs and lessons for teaching how to transform pBLU and/or pFLO plasmid DNA into E.coli. This is a great lab for demonstrating how DNA codes for instructions that give cells visible characteristics. 

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pBLU
Plate of blue E. coli
Photo by Regina Wu

In this lab, students transform E.coli with the pBLU plasmid that contains the gene for beta-galactosidase (lactase) also referred to as lacZ. In the E.coli we use, JM101, the lac operon has been partially deleted. With the pBLU plasmid, the lactase will work on X-gal (a compound consisting of galactose linked to an indole) cleaving the compounds resulting in an insoluble indigo colored compound. This is called the blue-white screen and it acts as a visual indication of a functional lacZ transformation. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Additional Resources:

pFLO
Glowing colonies of E. coli
Photo by Hanako Osuga

In this lab, students transform E.coli with the pFLO plasmid that contains a gene derivative of GFP (green fluorescent protein) sometimes referred to as mGFP (modified GFP). After a pFLO transformation, fluorescent proteins are expressed by the cells that can be visualized under white light or glow under UV light. The expression of mGFP does not require lacZ, X-gal is not required.

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Painting with Bacteria
Fluorescent Fred Hutch logo painted with bacteria
Photo by Caren Brinkema

In this lab, students are able to explore a multidisciplinary approach to STEM that combines the arts with a discussion about gene expression and microbiology. Students are able to create living works of art on agar plates by "painting" with E.coli that express fluorescent proteins of various colors. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

SEP labs and lessons for teaching how to use antibodies to detect different diseases. This is a great lab for demonstrating the antibody-antigen relationship and immunology. 

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General ELISA
Antibodies attacking virus
Getty Images

In this lab, students conduct an ELISA assay for any infection or topic of their teacher’s choosing. Students will predict who is most likely to be infected based on risk/exposure information before conducting their analysis. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

HIV ELISA
Red ribbons
Getty Images

In this lab, students conduct an ELISA assay to detect the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in patient samples. Students will predict who is most likely to be infected based on risk/exposure information before conducting their analysis. Virtual adaptations for the lab and accompanying activities can be found in the Virtual Lesson Folder. 

Before downloading materials please complete the short survey to support our grant-funded lessons. 

Materials:

Related Pages

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SEP Teacher Sharing

We have set up a Google folder for teachers to share resources. 

  • The Google folder contains a several subfolders on SEP kit-related topics shared by SEP teachers. There is also a subfolder on CRISPR resources, videos, and lessons. 
  • Create new folders to add other resources you'd like to share but model the general structure in the CRISPR folder (for example, articles and videos are probably easiest to share in a hyperlinked document and SEP Teacher Lessons in their own folder).
  • Indicate your name on any lessons that you have developed.
Google Folder for Teacher Sharing
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Kit Loan Program and Supplies

Program participants have access to the Kit Loan Program developed and maintained by SEP.  Fred Hutch and other funders provide these kits to teachers, free of cost.

These kits offer SEP teachers the opportunity to share hands-on laboratory experiences with students in their classrooms, giving students a unique chance to engage in an authentic, problem-solving approach to science using the same tools and concepts utilized by researchers.

Learn More