2nd Pharmacogenomics Laboratory ASL Activity

Last year we started using our pharmacogenomics laboratory to reach out to students in the community. You can read about that here. This year we invited 7th and 8th graders from two local schools. This is a short post, but for now I am looking for feedback from the pharmacogenomic students that served as student teachers. Please try to address these topics in your reflection on this activity:

  • How does your service learning experience relate to the objectives of this course?
  • What did you observe?
  • What did you learn?
  • What has worked? What hasn’t?
  • Is there something more you could do to contribute to the solution?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • What have  you learned about teaching?
  • What have you contributed to the students?
  • What values, opinions, beliefs have changed?
  • What was the most important lesson you learned
  • How have you been challenged?
  • What impact did you have on the community?

28 thoughts on “2nd Pharmacogenomics Laboratory ASL Activity

  1. I enjoyed the service learning experience more than I had ever imagined. In short, I believe that the objectives of this course is to conduct experiments that have been performed to gain a better understanding of its concept and to associate it to today’s ways of doing things. The service learning experience relates to the objectives of this course by how we were the catalysts to helping little kids understand a college level experiment by giving a helping hand. The experiment was performed is it should have been the first time we had practiced but the only difference was that we spent more time explaining it to the students since we were the informants this time, rather than Dr. Gillespie. After seeing our student perform the experiment, I observed my own mistakes as well as the possible mistakes I could have made like contamination or pipetting. I learned that it is very easy to contaminate the instruments when conducting an experiment because there is always a transfer of material when you either tough your cloths, table, face, notebook our anything surrounding you and then the instruments. What really worked for me was explaining everything that had confused me initially about the entire procedure in basic concepts which clarified everything and helped me move on. Working with another student teacher also worked for me because we filled each other’s “holes” as one may say. The only thing that may have not worked was remembering the procedure after moving on from lesson one and two. There were a lot of terms that the student had to get accustomed to and that we had to keep reminding him for when we were twenty steps ahead.
    There definitely was something more I could’ve contributed to the solution by talking more about plasmids and how the procedure relates to our lives today. I basically reiterated what Dr. Gillespie told us on how we used GMOs today in our crops but if we related it to other things like plasmids or the transferring of genes and such, I would have enlightened him more. In the end I learned that I could be very patient with a student and that I really just have to look back at the basic concepts to understand all of the difficult terms and procedures. By referring to the basic concepts like the breaking of the cell membrane and nucleus to locate the DNA I understood why we obliterated our foods, for example. To the student I contributed a five page summary of what we did with many pictures that cleared up the fogginess of the PCR procedure and how we used it to detect GMOs. After serving as a student teacher I believe that teaching someone else something that I were taught, in a sense, clarifies what you were taught and strengthens it once you perform it again, as if you were re-teaching yourself the topic again. The most important lesson I learned was that I have to know what I am doing by doing more back-up research on what I don’t understand even if it is minute because it makes all the difference. Before I taught the students I checked out everything that seemed foggy to me being that a term or the procedure in a whole and it definitely confirmed what I knew and made me confident in what I know. Confirming what I knew and admitting that I did not really understand some of what I had done was my challenge as well as explaining everything from scratch as if we were making the first textbook to have this procedure written in it.
    Overall, I thing that the impact I have to the community was small but it could turn into something big because I may have inspired a little student to want to continue performing labs. Hopefully, I made it a fun experience for the youngster.

  2. I think the service learning lab was an exciting and effective way to show us what it would be like to be in our lab teacher’s position. Even though we performed a pervious experiment, it helped strengthen our knowledge about the concept of the lab by making us act like the teachers. I noticed that, while some of the terms such as plasmid, DNA, transformation, PCR, etc are very basic words to me; they were not common for the children. Getting asked questions and having to explain these concepts to the children make me think about them and gave me a better understanding of them, while having to put them in simple terms to help the children understand. I was able to see what mistakes I had made from the previous lab. I noticed some concepts that were tricky for me to explicate to the children, and it was nice having a second student teacher to help fill in the gaps. Performing this lab helped clarify the objective, procedure, and even the real purpose, because I had to be the one to teach it.
    I also observed that easy procedures such as pipeting, and injecting DNA into a gel, which is usually very easy for us, if not taught properly can cause many little mistakes, which I saw with the children who were not familiar with these lab tools. It was helpful that we had already learned how to do these methods, and went over all the concepts from the previous week. I was challenged in this lab, by having to think and give my own knowledge about science and this experiment when being asked questions by the children. While we usually turn to our lab teachers for questions, this time the students turned to us. I learned that in Lab, I should know the purpose of what I am doing and how to do it. Little mistakes can make all the difference and that’s why lab procedures can be repeated many times. Having to be the teacher helped me become confident of what I know and helped clear up things I was unsure of. I think this was a great way to give back to the community. While these students were still a bit young, I think it can be a great experience for them to see what they could be doing in the future, and for them to see if they may possibly be interested in science later on.

  3. I feel that a huge part of science is learning. There are constantly new techniques and experiments coming out and as scientists it is our job to stay on top of these and learn them ourselves. However learning and teaching go hand in hand and it is just as important to teach the next generation about what we do to grab their interest and bring the group of scientists into the world. When I was in high school I was in a very highly science based program. I think it was the trips to schools like Stony Brook for labs like we just gave these kids that sparked my interest and eventually brought me where I am today.
    I observed a lot of the same faces my classmates and I had when we did experiments in high school. They are so eager to learn yet don’t quite get all of the concepts yet. My group of kids kept asking questions until they understood the experiment a little better.
    I learned how to better understand an experiment. I think by having to explain the experiment in a more simple way it forces you to understand all of the concepts no matter how small and how they all fit together.
    Our experiment worked out really nicely. My group had a very good understanding of what was happening throughout the different steps. In our group we had 2 girls and a boy. Both of the girls did fairly well with learning the different techniques the boy had some difficulty though.
    One of my other table members was working with him on micropipeting but I could tell he was getting frustrated so I stepped in to help out. It is important to realize that some children have different learning styles and you need to find the way of explaining that works best for them. I feel it also helped that I have 4 younger brothers the oldest being 8 so I am used to having to slow down and explain things a little differently and let them know its ok not to get it right in the first couple of tries and to not give up.
    I learned that I have a great understanding for children and how they learn and hope to some day be a professor so I can keep the children’s interest in science. Who knows you may have inspired the kid who could find the cure for cancer.
    I learned that teaching is a lot of modification. You can’t go in with just one way to explain something in your head. As a teacher one must have multiple different way and must also understand that some kids learn better with different methods like drawing something out instead of simply listening to it being spoken.
    I think I have contributed a greater understanding of the importance of science in many different fields like in this experiment farming and the food we eat every day.
    I was actually really eager to do this experiment with the younger kids. Starting in 10th grade I helped one of my schools research teachers with an after school program for middle school children who are interested in science. We would do all different types of experiments and I would help do and explain them. I throughly enjoyed being back in this setting and wish I could do it more often. I don’t think I have had any change of values, opinions, or beliefs because I have gone through this before but I think it has helped to strengthen my understanding in the importance of children and taking interest in their future.
    The most important lesson I learned in this lab is the importance of the younger generation and that at their age I can mold them to love and be as passionate about something like science as much as I am.
    I was challenged to come up with different ways to explain things like PCR which we had to go over about 20 times. Also I was challenged to keep a calm face and not let them see that them not getting it after that many times was frustrating me because once children see this then they will too get frustrated and want to give up and that is not the objective of teaching, it is rather keeping kids engaged and learning as much as they possibly can.
    I think we had a great impact on the community through this lab. We have now given kids a new and different understanding of what science is and maybe this will greatly inspire some kids to keep their grades high for college so they can do these experiments on their own someday.

  4. The Academic Service Learning experience was as enriching for me as I am sure it was for the younger students. As student teachers, we were given the task of reinforcing the information that they were told via lab after a powerpoint presentation on Genetically Modified Organisms. It was obvious that a lot of the information was above the younger students’ comprehension. It took a lot of thought as to how we could relate a concept that we, as college students, live, eat, and breathe daily. However, by teaching other kids what we know, it proved how much we ourselves have learned. It was surprising to see that one girl did not know how to use an eye dropper because that is the simplest tool that was used in the lab. Also, we had to demonstrate a fair amount of times what to do when we asked them to do anything in the lab. Then we had to explain what we did and why. I observed that it is easier to teach other people about a subject matter as you are performing the lab than letting them listen to our powerpoint and expecting them to perform the experiment. I think that because you are lecturing them on something that they do not understand, their learning experience is magnified by what they see and do in an actual lab. These students have been exposed to a college environment and the discussions we had at our lab station, about not only the lab but our college experiences in general, I think has enlightened them a little more on what to expect when they reach our age. I hope that meeting us has had a positive impact on their lives.

  5. From the first day I heard about this up to the moment before it started, I honestly had no idea what was going to happen and I was nervous, to say the very least. I’ve known from the beginning that the point of labs was to have an hands on experience parallel to what we learn in lecture, but who would’ve thought we would have to teach middle school students! I was anxious and I felt as though I would forget everything, but as I saw the children from local schools, such as Holy Family, an unusual calming feeling overcame me as it always does when I’m about to perform on stage. I knew there was no turning back and it was time to see if our practice and experience had paid off.
    During the actual lecture of the GMO, and the experiment itself, as I saw bewildered and confused looks, I could not help but reminisce back to when I was in their shoes, in 8th grade not caring what the teacher was saying, just knowing I was there to do SOMETHING.
    I guess I had something to thank my own middle school teachers; never make the lesson too boring or too complicated, it just makes the student dread coming to class even more, if he or she has not already. Using my own experience as a student and the information accumulated from past labs (especially the GMO lab we had just previously performed), I proceeded to be the most out-going and helpful teacher assistant I could be without freaking out the students I was working with. After introducing ourselves, I felt it was best to have the students more comfortable and to show them that we were in fact approachable, and to my relief, it worked. The awkward silences that would have been filled with laughter and I was glad to see the two of them, Danny and Corey, at least learning. I believe I now understand the meaning behind a teacher’s joy in knowing that his or her students are learning. I understand the frustration a tutor or professor may have when the student does not seem to understand no matter how many times they are taught it, but at the same time I figured out a way to make it more simpler. Analogies are very useful when teaching someone who has little or no idea what is going on and it makes things a bit more fun. Instead of the droning that some lecture teachers seem to give instead of ACTUAL information, simple analogies helped us give the students a visual image in their minds of something they already know and apply that concept to the actual lesson. (Ex. Plasmids were carriers, or “buses” that accept only certain kinds of things. In this case, the middle school bus would only accept the students of that school) Although there things that we could not get around and it was difficult for them to understand, it was really fortunate seeing that they weren’t going through what I had gone through in my own trips during grade school. Throughout this lab, I was able to not only experience what it is like to be a professor but I felt as though I was able to learn how to communicate with younger students and I believe this experience will help me later on when I interact with children later on if and when I become a pediatrician. Hopefully, the Danny and Corey had gotten something out of this experience as well

  6. I really enjoyed teaching younger students about the lab techniques and information that we learned ourselves. By seeing students who were interested in science, it reminded me of me when I was at that age. I think the idea of bringing in students from middle school to see the type of work and information is taught is very beneficial and a good opportunity for them to experience and explore a different approach to science. By being placed as the teacher of these students, it made me realize that I actually knew more about the techniques of the lab and the information behind it than I thought I did. At my table, one of our students told us that she wanted to be a forensic scientist. Immediately, the use of gel electrophoresis came into my head in relation to crime scenes and it actually kept the student’s interest more. By relating some of the information to the student’s actual interests, I found that it kept their attention a lot better.
    During the lecture, I did see that some of the students’ interest were lost but honestly I expect that since when I was that age I probably would have done the same. While performing the experiment however, I saw that the students were very interested in the techniques and the explanations that went along with why we were doing certain things. They were also very eager to have that hands on experience like with using the pipettes. I think that by having them in a lab and allowing them to actually perform the experiment, it made the information on the purpose of the lab along with the techniques really stick in their mind. Another thing that I observed was that our students really felt like they were a scientist since they were given their own lab manual, their own lab coat and by letting them participate in all aspects of the lab. By giving them this feeling, I think that it made them even more enthusiastic and interested in the lab.
    Throughout the lab, everything went very smoothly but I would have only a few suggestions. The first suggestion would be that each of us would be given our own student to work with in order to get that one on one teaching experience. By doing this, I think it would be beneficial not only for the student but for each of us as well because it would make us each express our knowledge to the students and not have the chance to rely on someone else in our group to do the discussing with the student. The other thing is for the 7th and 8th grade students for them to be selected differently which I know St. John’s doesn’t really have to do with. When we were speaking to one of the girls at our table, she told us that the students that were there were selected randomly, not based upon whether they had an interest in science. One of the girls at our table was very into the experiment and expressed her interest in science but the other girl didn’t seem as interested. One of us had asked her if she wanted to go into a science field like her classmate and she told us she was more interested in art. If all of the students have a strong passion for science, they along with us can only benefit more from the experience.
    Overall, I really enjoyed teaching students from a lower grade about something that they can relate to , GMO foods. Prior to the lab, I was nervous as to what to expect and if I would be able to keep their attention and fully explain things. But surprisingly, it was very easy to explain the different techniques and background information of the lab. From the experience, I think the most important lesson that I learned was to not underestimate yourself or those you are teaching. By having confidence in your ability to teach and also believing that you will actually have a positive impact on the students that you are teaching only makes the experience even more enjoyable.

  7. Ever since I heard about the Academic Service learning Lab in this course, a sense of excitement floated through me and it made me more curious to learn about the details of every little thing of the GMO Food analysis. I feel that service learning was an eye opening experience as I got to learn more than I knew when I started first. The pharmacogenomics laboratory helped me learn by mentoring little kids about the lab we just performed a week before. Although I was a little ignorant about the rudimentary purpose of this lab during the beginning of semester, I got an opportunity to observe myself as an individual (where I stand in terms of attaining/imparting knowledge). I feel that “anyone” can gain knowledge by memorizing but it’s not easy for everyone to impart. Hence, I learned a great deal about myself as a mentor/tutor and observed myself in teacher’s shoe, endeavoring to teach the seventh graders about the preliminaries of the experiment.

    Most of the things worked out very well in the lab due to many factors which include – kid’s cordial behavior towards his mentor, our knowledge about various topics and equipments used in the lab and at last but not the least, student’s motivation to know more about the different things. The above listed factors played a major role in portraying our hidden talents in a well formed shape. Being a seventh grader, the student did not seem to grasp the details of the lab cohesively as he was not aware of any terms (PCR, etc.) previously from school. Therefore, I felt a little reluctant to push him to make him understand every minute detail. In spite of his age being a shortcoming, I feel that high school freshmen/sophomore could have been an appropriate population to teach as they are mature and most likely familiar with the terms. And could be able to grasp the knowledge easily than seventh graders, otherwise everything went well as per plan.

    I learned that I could be a great teacher and would consider this profession if things do not work out the way I want to be in the life. I feel it is a great field of area to enter into because of the wealth of knowledge one has in order to mentor someone. It also makes an individual strive to acquire more knowledge so that he/she would be able to transfer this precious gem to the students. I feel that I can become a great teacher if given an opportunity but wish to focus on building my career currently. As I mentioned earlier, knowledge being the precious gem, I consider it to be the most important in life and it is so mundane that no one can take it away from anyone. Every individual possess knowledge of his own and I imparted some to the students.

    When I first learned about ASL laboratory, I was excited but nervous as well because I had never tutored a student before and was unaware of their reaction towards certain things in the lab. But after teaching a student, my belief says that he was a nice student who endeavored to reach out the knowledge which we were trying to give him. The most important lesson is that to be attentive in class and listen to the lecture carefully as one never knows he/she could end up being a mentor in life. I faced minute challenges while explaining the material explicitly to the student because I never had an opportunity to elaborate my knowledge in words but everything went well with my partner’s help as we were able to cover up each other’s shortcomings and made the student understand about GMO Food Analysis Lab, which was a main goal to achieve.

    With the help of this lab, I was able to impart some of my knowledge to seventh graders and I felt motivated to attain more by learning from professors and thus, transferring it to community. I had a major and positive impact on this community, even after playing a small part in mentoring because it was something which was done selflessly and dedicatedly. Keeping our selfish motives aside, I got a chance to express my knowledge to little elementary kids and I feel that I may have been successful in accomplishing the task while adhering to the zeal of acquiring more education. It was a wonderful experience working/mentoring with kids and I would like to request professor Gillespie, if he could arrange some activity analogous to this again so that we can teach something to students for the welfare of this society as well as learn our individual skills too.

  8. This is probably one of the fewer service learning experiences I’ve had a chance to perform which relates closely with the course as well as my major itself. Taking what we had learned the previous week and then teaching it to students of a much younger age was definitely a big test to what we had learned and understood. By having to repeat the lab with a pair of students who had never learned these techniques or studied the subject, we really got to interact and break down our own knowledge. Often times we don’t think about what we have learned. By doing this interactive lab, we break down what we already know into simpler meaning.

    At first the students had looked quite eager to perform this experiment, until they saw the slides! I believe all the big words and steps to the experiment left them a bit confused. In any case, once they got to work hands on with all the equipment they seemed a bit more enthusiastic. Being in this environment, I think back to when I was there age sitting in science class. There is a lot of credit to be given to our teachers who always knew how to keep us interested. I think that was one of our greatest challenges, is to keep their attention. One of the students I was working with was especially interested in science, but the other students were just as many other average kids are their age. I learned that we have to make science simpler for them, and relate it to things of their daily lives. Only when they are having fun, they’ll enjoy doing labs like this.

    I think a few things we could have done differently was to engage with the students more effectively. It was important to relate to them by asking them questions about school, so they didn’t become as freaked out by the fact that we were strangers to them. I also think that visuals are important to kids especially to understand something they have no previous knowledge of. I think a video of the actual experiment, and how to go about performing it would have been helpful. Otherwise, the hands-on applications we taught were pretty effective. They understood how to use the pipets and load their samples in the electrophoresis wells.

    The attitude we use while teaching must be positive as well, so that students can work with us on a more comfortable level. We should open them to ask us questions and politely answer anything they may not understand. I think as students that have the opportunity to learn so much about the world around us, it is our duty to inform others of our knowledge. We should practice spreading this knowledge by participating in service learning events like so. I think it was a great experience and is beneficial to all!

  9. Regarding the course objectives, I believe the service learning activity reinforces them in the following manner; application of learned techniques and skills, also, demonstration of the skills. We had performed the lab the previous week and were able to trial and error and fully practice all techniques and thoroughly understand all presented concepts. The day of teaching the students truly tested and allowed for us to demonstrate our mastery of skills and concepts thus far. It was not the first time we were pipetting, performing PCR reaction, or even using an agarose electrophoresis method for dna separation, these were all skills consistent with the leaning goals of the lab. I feel like demonstrating and explaining the lab step by step helped me reinforce it to memory. Personally a learning tool I use is talking through or teaching examples to best understand difficult concepts, and I have read that as far as cognitive processing is concerned verbal output is crucial in attaining long term memory. Teaching for that reason can be difficult if you do not know your material or hesitant, however with confidence and the resources of my fellow classmates and lab guide I felt able to answer questions about the lab. These students were eager to learn and often I had to stop myself from overlooking technical acronyms and explanations and actually take time to explain the concept behind it. Students seemed to respond best to one of my partners who was able to make several analogies and metaphors with “kid” related things or to topics that they may have already learned in their earth science course. Overall I enjoyed the service learning experience very much, as of now I do not have plans to go into education but perhaps with this exposure one day maybe will consider it. Also, I think it was positive for the community, the students were from local schools and new of st john’s but this gave them an opportunity to see and interact with students and faculty, making it perhaps a more “real” place that they will love and support either as members of the local area in queens or even as potential students later in life.

  10. This lab has been a great learning experience for me and the student I taught. It is only when you teach the knowledge you know to someone else you realize how much you actually know. I enjoyed teaching my student because it made me realize that I have a patience teaching these kids something that interests me. The fact that they look up to me to show them right from wrong and the ability for me to make a small impact on their lives gives me the motivation to strive and try my best in the experiment.
    It became clear to me that it is very easy to invalidate the experiment by not crushing the food correctly. If crushed up wrong the micropipette will not pick up any DNA. I also learned that I memorized the experiment by teaching it to the students. I noticed that the 8th graders learned how to use the micropipette faster than college students did. What disappointed me in a way was that they never had any questions to ask, I was anxious to answer some questions just to see for myself if I have the knowledge to know if I can. The lab was completed in a timely manner without a problem, I was scared I would screw up something in the experiment but my knowledge and experience outweighed my lack of confidence in myself. I tried to explain every detail and the pre-requisite facts to the lab about how catalysts and enzymes work and how PCR actually works. Labs like this should be done more often especially before a final or midterm to make sure you know all your material.

    These service labs are a great benefit for us and the students because it allows us to see what we know and allows the kids to decide if science is right for them as a major in college. It also I believe allows them to see what they should focus on in high school. The student I worked with in particular had no interest in science so she didn’t really show any interest in the experiment. I would suggest that we get older students for this lab because it seemed like these kids are too young to understand PCR and electrophoresis.

  11. The service learning experience was a great experience. It allowed me to reinforce the objectives and aims of the previous lab. Teaching back to the students allowed me to show that I understood GMO and PCR. Learning and teaching go hand in hand. So, since I understood the concepts of the lab I was successful in teaching and explaining to the students about the lab and its significance. I was able to explain to the students how to perform the technical aspects of the lab along with the significance and importance of the technique. Along with that, I was able to give them background insight on the equipments, such as the PCR, the agarose gel electrophoresis, and using the micropipette.

    The students were quite nervous. We were nervous of the fact that we would have to teach the students. But, the students seemed more frightened. However, they relaxed as the lab began and progressed. They were quick to learn how to use the micropipette and also loading the gel. They were interested in seeing the actual gel. It took them a while to understand the concepts. But, we all took turns explaining and clearing any misunderstandings on the concepts. They seemed satisfied at the end and we hope that they walked away something.

    While teaching, I learned that it is quite difficult to explain to the students the concepts of the experiment. Although, the students were very bright, we still had to explain the concepts of the experiment in simpler terms and clear images. We would often lose them along the way and it was easy to understand this by their expressions. We would sometimes lose them due to a loss of interest and so we would change speakers then, which worked. The experience showed me how difficult it is to keep the interest and attention of students and attempting to explain to them concepts in words. Those words may be helpful to me personally in understanding the concepts but it may not work for them. So, I learned that I would have to take different approaches, images, words, to convey my point to them.

    Teaching the students allowed me to make a difference in the community because I had the opportunity to teach young students concepts and techniques that they had not been exposed to. The way I taught them and presented the information may have affected them positively or negatively. I may have made the entire experience a horrible and dreadful one, which may change their outlook on science forever. On the other hand, I may have made the experience a pleasant one, which may make them more interested in the field of science.

  12. St. John’s University was recently named to National Honor Roll of Colleges That Serve and this Academic service Learning lab is a perfect example on why the university receives such honors. The purpose of labs is to get hand-on experiences on topics you learn in lectures and doing this ASL lab, not only as we student perfected our knowledge (doing it twice) but also learn more on how to applies to the world outside of the labs by teaching it to the visiting students.

    Walking into lab on Wednesday, I found an atmosphere that was different than regular lab classes. Everybody was really engaged in what they were doing- introducing the kids to the lab. And throughout the whole time, I really enjoyed the communication between us and the kids. Although at times it seemed liked they didn’t really comprehend all the information given to them, I was glad to see that they were excited to at least use the instruments and not bored because this is a science class.

    I learned a lot about teaching that day. You can’t just start using big words to somebody who doesn’t have any prior knowledge, especially young kids. You have to go step by step and ignore the terms on your manual to get them to understand things. So it was a challenge to stay away from the terms we regularly use and come up with alternative words. As a teacher, you also have to make it sound simple so they don’t just give and also have to keep asking them questions so know if they are getting what you are telling them. I was surprised at myself for learning that I know this stuff more than I thought I knew. As Dr. Carvalho said at the end of the lab “you don’t really know how much you’ve learned until you teach it someone.”

    Because these kids foreign to college environment, it felt good knowing that I was able to help them with some information regarding college education especially the labs. They were shocked to learn that labs run for more than three hours and to see our fat notebooks. But I had to assure them that it’s not really that hard, as it seems to them now.

    One issue that I had regarding the lab which I thought didn’t work so well was the relevance between the kids age and the topic they were taught. My suggestions is that to perform an experiment that somehow relates to the field of forensics and catching criminals, which might be more interesting to these group of students rather than GMOs.

    It’s a great way to give back to your community as well as getting a feedback on how well you understood your materials. I felt happy for the visiting students for getting a glimpse of an actual lab rather than those under-developed middle school and high-school labs. And it’s a great idea to expose these students to this area so it might help them decide what to do in their future. It was a memorable moment for me and I know those kids will remember us and this whole experience as well.

  13. Serving as a student teacher had its up and downs on Wednesday, but I think my experience has definitely served its purpose since I was finally able to see what it was like teaching others. Surprisingly, everything went extremely well. What I saw was a group of bright kids learning something that truly interests them. From the way they answered questions during the lecture to their attention to details during the experiment, I knew that someday they will make a clever decision to pursue the very field that intrigues them the same way extracting DNA in pharmacogenomics lab did.

    Teaching someone else what I learned in class was not an expectation I had for the course, however, working side by side with these kids had definitely taught me something new about myself. I realized that I actually knew more about the course and material way better than I thought I did. I remember having to explain what is DNA, why do we have to crush our sample into a paste, how PCR works and etc. It turned out that what I did in lab was not as difficult or hard to understand at all. If I was able to make a seventh grader understand what she was doing then I sure knew what I was doing. I learned that all I needed was a bit more confidence also I should be more proactive in asking questions about materials I don’t understand. Paring one student to two of us has made the challenge a little bit easier, since if one of us is stuck with a question we don’t know then the other can jump right in. I think teaching itself takes a lot of dedication and communication and I feel that successful teaching is a creative process that allows students to learn through partnering up with their educators.

    Throughout the lab, my group took turns demonstrating different lab techniques and reviewing various key concepts such as what makes a control, why we need a control. I personally have a habit of explaining things in a concise matter that’s why I made sure that I spend enough time explaining the concepts and made appropriate analogies to ideas that we are all familiar with. What I gained from the experience was a sense of inspiration. These seventh graders had truly inspired me with their fearlessness to continue pursuing my goals and succeed in college. As I look back on that day, I can’t help but picture what will happen in a just a few years, when they graduate junior high and high school and start their own college careers. How there is a chance of one of them sitting in the very seat that I sat in and learning about the same topic. It is such a fascinating fact that these seventh and eighth graders are already learning and getting exposed to college level work.

    I think it was probably the best collaborations any NYC schools could have had, the fact that they have the opportunity to put on a disposable lab coat and work with various equipments and chemical regents in an actual laboratory setting is definitely a moment to remember. I am extremely happy to have been a part of this creative process because I know that the whole experience on Wednesday was as memorable for my student partner as for me.

  14. The main purpose of today’s academic service learning lab is to teach a group of junior high school students about the genetic modified food in our markets and introduce the pros and the cons of this technique. This a great experience to have students at our tables and trying to take down the important materials that are useful for their knowledge on molecular pharmacogenomics. Today’s service learning lab also provided a great environment for us to well address any questions and misunderstandings of the subject of pharmacogenomics to junior high school students. The objective of this course is for us to incorporate academic knowledge to the actual lab setting and be able to understand the concepts behind the experiments. This general objective is very closely relate to this service learning lab, because all the student teachers need to simplify all their essential knowledge on genetic modified food and pass it on to the students.

    Before starting the experiment, each of us introduced the equipments that are placed on the lab bench and generally taught the proper techniques when applying the equipment. The greatest difficulty that I faced during the experiment is the inability to establish a professional conversation with the student. The major cause of the problem is due to the fact that we have different education backgrounds, some of the significant concepts in this lab seem very unfamiliar with the students and the highly sophisticated explanations did not seem to resolve the confusion. Other technical problems we faced was the usage of micropipettes, the student constantly creating air bubbles in the plastic tip of the micropipette and it was because she did not previously pressed to second stop when inserting to the liquid. This problem was resolved by constant practice of the equipment. The lesson I learned from this service learning lab is the importance of precisely measure the reagents and reduce the chance of contaminate the test sample when transferring the sample from one tube to another. Many of the surrounding materials can be easily caught into the sample without any physical changes to the solution, so we must keep all the tubes closed and throw away the used tips right after the step is done. I was asked to explain the concept of a gel and the analytic procedure we are using in this lab. The simplest method to explain lab equipment was to show the student the actual gel and the proper steps to load samples into the gel. Although the step to load the sample into the gel was not pleasant, but I think she got the basic concepts of the gel-electrophoresis and how to analyze the gel images under UV light. After this experiment, I was surprised at myself for knowing most of the hiding concepts behind this experiment and was able to pass on most of the concepts with explanations and examples to a student that did not had much interactions with biology before. I think from this meaningful experiment, these junior high school students will have a basic idea of college laboratory and will start thinking about whether or not they want to pursue in this professional field in the future. This experience will become memorable, because it is the first time I act as a teacher that contribute all my academic knowledge and while wearing a professional lab coat in front of them. After this first experience of teaching science to a group of junior high school kids, I will start get use to instruct people and explain relating terms that associate with the course.

  15. The ASL experience really surprised me. The high school kids were really good learners and teaching them was a bit frustrating and fun at the same time. I personally think that they did an excellent job performing the experiment, which showed them how everyday things can be involved in scientific research. Which I think was very fun for them. And it helped them see that science is not just a bunch of old, quiet, boring people doing experiments in a way I think no one of them really cares, and I think professor Gillespie did an excellent job presenting science for them as a fun activity for everyday use.
    I always knew that teaching is hard, and being that I am the youngest child in my family, my view of teaching never really expended from the point of breaking my brother’s toys. But when I saw the high school students I was surprised by the amount of knowledge they have about DNA and cell biology, which made my job of teaching easier because they knew most of the things, (except the lecture), I was talking about. Even though they really did the best they could, working with the pipette was an issue I think everybody had problems with. But soon they were able overcome that obstacle and do the experiment. The only thing what didn’t really work was loading the gel, mainly because this was their first experience with the wells in the gel and they kept puncturing the gel several times in a row. Besides that everything went perfectly, and while I was explaining the procedure I realized the mistakes I made in my experiment.
    I learned that teaching is a tuff job, it can be a lot of fun, but it’s hard. Now I realized that standing in front of 30 people teaching needs a lot of experience and patience.
    At the end I hope that the students saw that science at college level is fun, and that they left that lab feeling enriched by the knowledge they received that day.

  16. I was afraid of the teaching somebody for this course. Not only am I bad at English but also, I was afraid of how my one-day student would judge me. I remember my physics classmates in high school year making fun of the teacher who was from Pakistan. I was afraid that my one-day-student would make fun of me about my bad English and accent. However, last Wednesday, on March 31, my fear and embarrassment were gone, when I met my little students. I tried and succeeded in giving them a nice time all the while, educating them with my knowledge, and happy face.

    I can still remember Dr. Gillespie’s words in the beginning of the semester. It was that as a scientist, it is important to pass down knowledge. Also, the activity will help to find who is talented for teaching. For those reasons this service learning experience met the requirement of this course. I had also seen my classmates were enthusiastic about teaching and the little students were interested in the subject that they were dealing. I suppose this is what our professor meant by “talent.”

    My mom always said to study and master a topic so that I can teach anyone at anytime. Teaching somebody requires 99% knowledge of a specified subject. This statement is true. If I do not know about the subject, how I can teach? So, I studied and try to master material. However, I made some mistakes during the lesson because I did not prepare every single steps of the experiment. When it came to teaching somebody, I was nervous that I would use the wrong words. At some point, I actually did mess up. When I was asking my little students to add distilled water to the mortar and transfer supernatant to screw cap, instead of saying, “press and fill it”, I said “suck it.” There was something else that affected my lesson that day. I could not relax and teach them well because I was nervous and enthusiastic at the same time. If I had to rate myself on a scale, I believe I would put myself as a “bad teacher” for them because of my English and nervousness. If I ever have a chance to teach somebody again, I would practice my English more and believe in myself and trust myself that I could be a good teacher. Ultimately, I found new side of me. Even though English is my Achilles heel, I was eager to teach my students and I did not let my nervousness get the best of me.

    Before I became a one-day science teacher, I did not know how hard it is to explain certain subject to people who never learned about it. Now I truly understand how difficult it is for a teacher to prepare and teach a lesson.

    If there is one thing I regret it would be the way I carried out the lesson. If I was able to teach at the level at which they were at, the students would have been able to understand the topic better and when I would ask them a question, they would be able to have an idea or maybe even know what the answer is.

    I hope the academic service learning service helped the 7th-8th grade students to experience what a college level lab is like. Overall, I liked being a one-day teacher. It put all the things I’ve learned in English and made me think about how I can deliver information well to others.

  17. The academic service learning component of this contributes to the course in a unique way, although it was challenging it was a good learning experience to be on the opposite side of the fence. I realized that you do not truly know how much you know until you have to teach it to somebody else. I must say it was one of the more enjoyable labs considering I was in the position to learn and teach simultaneously, receiving questions from the kids also showed me how much I truly knew. To be honest I was a bit nervous in the beginning as to how well I could guide the kids and they seemed very nervous and shy just being in a new environment but I made multiple efforts to help them feel comfortable and it made things a lot easier.

    The kids almost as expected became a little fidgety during the power point presentation so we thought it would be a good idea to find a way to reinforce the information so my group members and I made it in to a game and kept quizzing them on certain concepts and they knew them. I was glad to see the that kids were well behaved and rather surprised to see how some of them grasped the concepts so easily. We made it a point to be entertaining for the kids and keep them engaged and smiling.

    I learned that when teaching somebody something, demonstrations are probably one of the most effective strategies. Simply showing the kids the procedure and asking them to proceed wouldn’t work so we thought it would be best to introduce every instrument to them and demonstrate how they were used in each step and they seemed to be visual learners because they picked it up right away.

    As the experiment went on the kids started asking more and more questions and that’s when I truly felt as if they were engaged and retaining information I can proudly say my group grasped the general concept of the difference between a GMO and Non GMO food. One thing however that I would change would be the depth or topic of the lab. My kids were able to grasp the general concept however I do not feel as if they were able to take in everything as we were, even though the point is to give them an experience of a college level lab I think the material should’ve been trimmed down just a bit more.

    The most important thing I learned was that learning is more than just sitting down and taking in information from an instructor, teaching is also learning and in some ways teaching something is a more effective method of learning because it helps you realize what you know and what you do not know.

    I now value the perspective of teachers that much more and I believe we impacted these kids in a positive manner by helping to raise the interest of science in some and by allowing them the exposure to a college level environment that a lot of middle school students do not receive the opportunity to experience.

  18. The Academic Service Learning lab we took part in last week was a much more enjoyable experience than I had initially expected. Kristen and I assisted a 7th grade girl named Mary Louise. She seemed very interested and willing to learn, despite her shyness. The service learning experience relates to the objectives of this course because working in the field of science will ultimately help someone, just as we helped the students during the lab.

    Throughout the lab, I learned that it is not so easy to teach. It is easy to forget that you are talking to someone that does not know the material, and you find yourself using words they don’t understand or that you’re explaining a concept not so clearly. We all understand the big science words but the 7th graders do not, so it really took thorough understanding of the material in order to explain it clearly with other terms. I learned that I knew much more about the material and the lab than I gave myself credit for. I also learned that when teaching, in order to be effective, you must be active, alert, and ready to adjust to the student’s needs, questions, and misunderstandings. You also have to find a way to be entertaining to keep your student awake, which is not as easy as I thought it would be.

    Lucky for me, the student I was helping revealed that she is considering forensic science as a career choice. Knowing this about her allowed me to discuss how what we were doing in the lab is very relevant to other fields of science, such as forensics. Getting to know the student I was working with on a personal level made the lab more enjoyable and made teaching her much easier.

    I thought that the GMO lab was a very good choice for teaching the 7th graders. It isn’t our most difficult lab (in terms of the concept), yet it isn’t the easiest. This lab is simple enough to be explained to 7th graders while giving them a slight challenge. The procedures were not that advanced either. My student was using the micropipette quite well after just two or three attempts. The only difficult part, in my opinion, was showing the students how to insert their sample into the gel. My first time attempting to insert samples into a gel was a huge failure because my hands were shaky and I was not sure if the tip of the micropipette was in the well or not. The students were very nervous when we went to the gel but did well nonetheless. Exposing them to these types of lab techniques so early on will be invaluable to them if they plan to pursue science later on in their life. I didn’t even know what a gel electrophoresis was in 7th grade, nor did anyone try to explain what one was to me. The only downside I believe was the lecture and the slides. A lot of the students seemed to be a little lost during the lecture, which is normal. However, more pictures of maybe even easier terms in the Power Point might hold their attention better.

    We definitely showed students what it’s like to work in a science lab, which will hopefully spark a continued interest in the field. We gave them an opportunity to learn and perform things they normally wouldn’t do until they were in high school or college. We also exposed them to a college environment, so hopefully when it’s their turn to apply for college they have a bit more personal knowledge of what it will be like.

    The most important lesson I learned is to not doubt yourself. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to answer the student’s questions or that I wouldn’t be able to teach them anything. Throughout the lab, as I was talking to my student I realized I knew a lot more about the lab and the concepts than I had thought. I also learned what it is like to be a teacher, and what it’s like to be a teacher’s assistant. Teaching is not easy, so now I have greater respect for the excellent teachers I’ve come across in my life.

    This lab challenged me to keep things interesting while finding a way to make things clear to a 7th grade student. I hope my student sincerely enjoyed the few hours we spent together and that she walked away more knowledgeable than when she walked in.

  19. I really enjoyed the service learning experience more than had imagined I would. It was a fun and great opportunity to talk to and teach children some of the things that I have learned this semester in pharmacogenomics lab. The service learning experience relates to the objectives of the course because the purpose of taking this lab, as with any other lab is to gain hands on experience and knowledge about the course that you do not get in the lecture. In this lab we read the activity, perform them, then have a quiz on them the next week; this makes it almost impossible to not have a good understanding of what you are learning. The service learning deals with the objectives of the course because instead of being quizzed on the lab material, we had to learn it well enough to be able to teach it to others. What made it even more challenging is that they people were younger than us, so in order to teach it for them to comprehend it fully, we had to understand the lab completely.

    I had a great time teaching the eighth graders because they were very smart, funny and eager to learn science! It was great learning about them and having them be interested in what we were saying. They viewed us as adults; and it was good to be the teacher for once, who has the answers and not the student. The issue of genetically modified foods is an interesting one, because it is an on-going debate in the united states of whether to be for or against them. We do not know what will be the outcomes- whether health hazards, or biological issues in the future because of GM foods but we continue to consume them because of their benefits as well. From teaching the eighth graders, I have learned that I enjoy teaching, and talking to people who are younger than me to hear about their goals, and future ambitions. I am someone who loves to steer people in a good path, and teaching is a gateway to do so.

    I feel like I contributed some knowledge of what college life is like to the students and encouraged them to be prepared for it and make good decisions even though are several years away from university. One of the students I spoke with, Jessica, shared a lot of common interests with me. She enjoys poetry and hopes to be a writer someday, some of my similar ambitions. It was great talking to her because despite the age difference, we related on many levels and I hope I gave her good advice on how to pursue her dreams. The most important lesson I have learned is how important it is to have an open mind to things such as teaching before you do them because you never know what you can learn from someone else or what you can gain as an individual. Teaching was a challenge for me because it allowed me to be more vocal about what I have learned these past three years at St. Johns. I hope I had some sort of impact on the eighth graders because their energy and enthusiasm to learn had a great impact on me.

  20. For lab 8, we, the students were responsible for teaching the lab we had previously performed a week before to 7th and 8th graders. The service learning experience was new and interesting to say the least and it correlated to the objectives of this course by interacting with students and allowing us to properly demonstrate protocols and exemplify our knowledge of the subject firsthand. It gave us access to teaching methods that were new to us and made us more aware of our communicating abilities as well as presenting the information properly to students. In this lab, I observed a few things. I observed how readily yet reluctantly the guest students followed directions as if it was an required matter rather than an enjoyable one and I noticed myself shying towards the students and speaking less clearly as I can. But I noticed that as the lab progressed on, the students became more involved and seemed to take interest in certain things. Talking with them like regular students helped ease the situation and bring a lighter mood to the bench area. I learned that being a teacher is not an easy task. Being able to present information in a compact and concise format while engaging student interest is definitely no easy technique. I learned that learning is a mutual relationship. It helps both parties. As the student hears and takes in information and responds back, the teacher learns to better his teaching methods and correct his own mistakes. Also, talking in the most simple yet effective tone and manner is the key to winning the interest of students and delivering information. Getting well acquainted helped ease the tension for our guests and allowed them to speak less formerly. Some things didn’t work out crystal clear as it should have. These were loading the sample in the gel, and being too unresponsive on the students parts. When asked questions about the experiment, the students replied with a simple “no” and it made us think that they were not fully aware of what was being shown to them but they followed the experiment successfully without much error. If I were to better the teaching experience, I would have to improve on my communication with students and being more active and outgoing as my other fellow students teachers were. Also, using fun ways to explain hard concepts and making jokes from time to time would definitely help my future presentations. As a teacher and an individual, I learned not to be withdrawing under any circumstances whether it’s important or not, and that one should always try their best in getting to know others and communicate effectively by being verbally skilled at raising a conversation. Teaching made me realize how valuable a teacher is to students and that teaching should be done with enthusiasm and provide encouragement. To the students, I think I’ve helped them gain a little knowledge about working in a lab and following procedures, as well as provide an example of what college life might be like, and if science is their path in the future. Possibly being a link to their continuing education. The most important lesson from all this was gaining a new experience and helping students become familiar to new environments. By doing just that, I think we’ve accomplished at least a little contribution that will benefit their future. On the community as a whole, I think the student teachers and I helped set a new path for newly inspired students that will hopefully start a new direction toward science, and maybe, be the catalyst for future pharmacogeneticists.

  21. At first, I was intimidated to teach this lab experiment. I enjoyed this academic service learning more than I had expected to. The purpose of teaching this experiment to junior high students was to explain how genetically modified is common in the foods we eat regularly, and the pros and cons it has in society and today’s agriculture. Working with Nicole and Thomas made me remember what it was like to be a child full of curiosity. This service learning experience relates to the objectives of this course in a unique way in which it was the first time I was given the chance to show someone what I am learning in the academic setting and apply the techniques in the laboratory setting to someone younger than me. Throughout the experiment, I observed that some of the children were more interested than others. Although this was expected, teenagers are at that age where sometimes “school isn’t cool.” The students my group and I worked with, were not actually interested in the subject, and explained that they all had different interests in different subjects, that did not involve the science field. We followed the procedure exactly as we did the previous week in lab, it just took a little longer, for we had to break it down and explain things a little more clearly. I learned that everyone is unique and learns in different ways. And although the students may have different interests, they are all equally bright, with the desire to learn what you have to offer. I found that allowing the student to read the manual and procedures prior to explaining worked best because that gave them an opportunity to ask any questions they may come across and ask for help in explaining things that were unclear to them. I also found that using big scientific words didn’t exactly work out for the best. They always asked what that meant, or what does that do? It was easier to just use simpler words from the beginning, its important to remember we have a different level of education. I don’t think there is much more to do to contribute to the solution, as the education levels have a wide range, and it isn’t always easy to teach something to someone who may or may not have an interest in the topic, or someone who is just not ready to learn at that level. As for myself, I learned that I actually enjoyed teaching, it was an interesting shock to realize how well I really understood the concepts, and how exciting it was to share that information with someone with the thrive for knowledge. I also learned that I am not so good at breaking things down to a simpler level for the kids to understand, I tend to know things the way they are taught to me, and that’s it. It’s a skill I am going to have to work at. I think that this service learning enabled us to enlighten the students to a whole other side to learning. A learning more in depth. One student I worked with claimed she disliked science, and it was her worst subject, I am not sure if that opinion changed following the experiment, but I can say, she demonstrated the skills quite well, and was very successful at comprehending the material. The most important lesson I learned that is although I’ve grown up, its important to succeed in life, you must always keep that innocent drive for knowledge. The curiosity in life is what keeps this world growing and expanding. Without the drive to keep moving forward, technology would be at a standstill. After completing this experiment, I have been challenged to critique myself on my teaching skills. Although I may understand the concepts, I had to learn how to break them down to something simpler. And despite my interest in this field, I was challenged to actually remember “why.” With the students asking questions, it forced me to think about the questions; which led me to thinking deeper into not only what, but why it’s happening. Although this is only one laboratory teaching experience, I feel that would could have an impact on the community. Hopefully we changed the opinions of a few students to enjoy the science field and fill their minds with the ideas that anything is possible. Who knows, we may have encouraged students to be the future doctors of our next generation.

  22. I wish I had this opportunity as an eighth grader to be taught in a college laboratory but I was excited to be the one teaching them especially since my little brother is just about the same age! Teaching the experiment of detecting GMO’s using the ELISA test was not only a challenge for me but also for the students. I was expected to teach 13-14 year old students the understanding of DNA, the ELISA test, GMO’s, and how we were able to distinguish a GMO from a non-GMO food product. This experience taught both me and the students a better understanding of the experiment. They usually say if you are able to teach someone what you’ve learned then you have a full understanding of what it is you need to know, and indeed I succeeded. The students didn’t seem as excited as I expected but I made some jokes to lighten up the mood. They were a little nervous about messing up like when we were working with the pipettes and practicing loading the gel, but I tried to reassure them that it was all okay. I also underestimated them because they knew more than I had expected them to! Which was great! I learned that teaching students is difficult but ultimately I gained a better understanding of the lab and the ELISA test and some of the little things of the lab that I overlooked such as the mini centrifuge and a better understanding of the Intergene reagent. What worked was letting the students read the procedure before we explained it that way they could have some time to absorb the information and think of any questions. What didn’t work was using big scientific words that they did not understand. It was easier to use practical comparisons to help them understand like describing the centrifuge like a speedy carousel. A lot of students their age don’t like school, so what I wanted to do was just make it fun. I included some jokes to keep them entertained and they liked it. The idea is to always keep your students entertained and interested before they lose focus! I learned that it’s not easy to teach! Its actually a difficult job. I think the biggest problem was just keeping the students interested. They were into it until towards the end of the experiment, plus they kept complaining about being hungry. But I’m sure they learned something because after we taught them the experiment and the information I would ask them simple questions about it and they would answer. That way if I kept reiterating the information they would absorb it. One of our girl students wasn’t exactly too interested in science and told us that it was her worse subject! I tried to make it as fun as possible and I hope it changed her mind about science. Otherwise the other two students liked having a hands on experience. This was a challenge for me. I don’t think I’m the teaching type, I’m more a listener but I did the best I can to help the students have a grasp of the experiment and its objectives. I feel I had a pretty impact on the community. I helped teach the students a little bit of what I learn every week in Toxicology class and it felt good. Enlightening the youth with education is always a thumbs up! This was a fun experience and I plan on teaching students as a summer job with my best friend as well. And lucky for me, it’s also teaching Science, maybe that way I can improve my teaching skills!

  23. This Academic Service Learning experience was really fun and interesting! I got to learn more about myself, my peers and my professor. I was able to experience how it is like being the professor and teaching others how to perform an experiment and the background of the experiment. It was a lot harder than I thought. I had a lot of difficulty explaining the processes and the steps of the experiment. I never realized that I used so much big scientific words. My student would look at me confused and lost about what I was saying. I think that since I knew the information and had so much to add to the answers that it only overcomplicated things for them, especially when I was describing how the primers worked. It would be best to just answer the questions as brief as possible. If they had any additional questions, then I should answer them as best as possible. I also was a bit nervous about teaching someone else. I sometimes would doubt myself. But knowing that they were also shy and nervous, it made me feel better. This lab helped to reinforce the things I learned in the previous lab.

    I think the objective of this experience was to allow the students to experience how a college lab works and how to use some of the equipments. In addition, they can see how an experiment can be used in a real life situation. I think that these students became more interested in the field of science. They had a lot of fun performing the experiments. In the beginning, they were a bit anxious and nervous about using the equipments. However, once they got the hang of the equipments, they even requested to perform the steps for the experiment.

    I realized that it is better that we demonstrate how to use the equipments first before the students get to try. In addition, just casually talking to the students helped relieve the tension. I felt that when we reinforced their actions with smiles and encouragements also helped to make the student feel more comfortable. They were probably intimidated with working with college students.

    Overall, I thought this was a good experience. I tutored students before, but they were usually around my age and they usually had written assignments. Tutoring someone something that is hands-on uses a different approach, I feel. At the end of the experiment, I felt better about myself. I understood the material covered and I helped someone become knowledgeable about the lesson. My student had a lot of fun and I can tell she definitely enjoyed her time performing the experiment. The materials we covered are complicated topics, and yet they were able to understand most of it.

  24. At first hearing that we would have to teach students what we learn in lab was a very intimidating task. I had this very nervous feeling because quite frankly I just didn’t know what to expect. Will these students like me or even understand what I was talking about half the time. But in order to make this process easier I just tried to put myself in their shoes. How would I react when I was their age if college students were teaching me a difficult lab? While pondering on this thought I came to the conclusion that these students might be shy and intimidated by this whole experience. So my main goal was to make them feel comfortable and come out of the lab learning how to test for GMO’s by PCR.
    Our pharmacogenomics lab is a very hand’s on lab where our teachers and students teachers week to week give us a lab manual as well as a mini lecture to make sure we understand the material and then leave us to perform the experiment from all that was given to us. With this we as students are able to make inferences as to why our experiment may go wrong or just think beyond our lab manual. With our service learning we had to use the skills that we obtained from our weekly lab sessions which is to think beyond the paper in front of you. Instead of reiterating the lab back to the students I took it upon myself to explain the lab into terms that they would understand and this surprised me a bit because I didn’t know that I knew so much about these labs until I had to one day teach it back to another student.
    My two students were both male and one was called Michael and Adam. These two boys were very entertaining and very smart. They both surprised my partner and I with all that they already knew. But one thing that they were very excited to do was centrifuge. They talked about centrifuging during the whole lab. They followed directions and were very precise about it all. I was happy to have them as my students because they kept me on my toes. They would constantly ask question about why we are performing this task and much more. This lab had a very big impact on how I view teachers and what they do for me and other students. That day of the lab the two teachers that accompanied the students spoke to my partner and I and it really made me look at teaching in a whole new light. The two teachers explained to us that what we were doing was really impacting these children’s lives and how they were really excited to be in a lab learning all this information and also that they looked up to us. Hearing that from the teachers made me feel like what I was doing may actually change a life or maybe a student would want to follow up in the toxicology field and this made me feel good.
    After having a very hand’s on teaching experience I have realized that teaching is not an easy task. Now when I see my teachers go up and teach every day I now understand that this is not easy, and to see that teachers don’t get the recognition that they deserve. They are ultimately shaping our futures. Overall I loved this academic service learning experience and I hope that they continue this program so others may experience what I did.

  25. The service learning activity was definitely a great experience. I enjoyed it very much and found the visiting students to be very pleasant, and intelligent. They were willing to learn and I in turn was willing to teach. While performing this service learning activity, I observed that it enhances the academic curriculum for the student teachers, as well as gives us a chance to provide our knowledge to the visiting students. It is through this service that the course materials from the previous lab were reinforced since it was necessary to have full comprehension of the material in order to teach it. It is a form of community service that assisted in enriching the learning experience for both members of the educational roles being performed. By providing one-on-one experiments, I believe it related to the course objective of providing physical reenactments of concepts that were discussed during lecture in order to achieve a better understanding. I also learned that some of the terminology and methods behind performing the procedure were slightly difficult for the visiting students. For instance, in my group the term PCR was kind of hard to understand and transferring the materials from one test tube to another increased the risk for contamination. While attempting to use the pipet, it was clear that they were not sure when to release or pick up the substrates that needed to be transferred.

    As a solution, I then realized that it was better to demonstrate how to use the materials before letting the students perform it. These simple steps assisted in familiarizing the students with the proper way to perform the procedures and limited the chance of error. Afterwards, I believe the lab was explained more thoroughly than when we began and the students left knowing the important concepts extracting a DNA molecule from a genetically modified organism.

    When I began this lab, I honestly believed it would be an easy experiment. I thought it would be basic and the lab would end quickly. However, there was more to teaching than I thought. One had to fully understand the experiment so that it could be taught with absolute comprehensibility. It was also important to understand the experiment to its full extent so that one could answer any questions that the visiting students would inquire. In the end, I believe participating in this service learning activity was very good for the community because it may have inspired a student’s interest in scientific labs in the future. It is through hands on experiences that one can learn what is right for them and I believe this activity assisted in doing so accordingly. It was a great idea and I am honored to of had the opportunity to take part it in.

  26. The service learning experience was a really new experience for me. I expected it just to be like a rerun of the lab we already did but it was more enriching than that. My service learning experience related to the objectives of this course by how we were able to be in the teachers and the T.A’s shoes by expanding knowledge to the younger generation. I believe the objectives of this course are mainly to introduce and familiarize many lab techniques and actual on hands experiments so that we as students who will further expand our career will be ready for the actual work in the future. So this service learning experience enabled me to be in the teacher’s shoes and teach to younger students who may have interest in these kinds of fields later on in their studies. From this teaching experience, I observed many things that I was doing wrong and could have done better with the experiment. For example by observing the students doing the experiment I was able to pinpoint and realize what they were doing wrong like contaminating pipettes and tubes from small mistakes such as touching the tip somewhere else before the draw. By being an observant I was able to learn that contamination can occur very easily and it clearly made me realize of what not to do and to correctly perform the techniques. I felt in my group what worked really well was explaining the difficult concepts Dr. Gillespie told in the beginning to the students. My group had a fairly read the materials and understood the terms and procedure that we felt really comfortable explaining to the students. I believed what really worked though was simplifying the terms the students might have trouble understanding with. Terms like PCR, we would explain simply explain as a “copy machine” and the students were able to take it in fairly well. I believe simplifying things just makes life a whole lot easier because first of all it makes it less intimidating and actually attackable. I felt what hasn’t work was the procedures. The students followed the procedures very well but I could tell in their faces that they did not know why in the world we did some of the steps and just did the experiment. It was hard to explain the necessities of each and every step because it involved understanding of many basic concepts of college level science. I believe I could have contributed more to the solution by being able to relate the experiment to real life situations. I felt we reran the experiment very well with our students but I felt they just did the work imposed on them and didn’t seem that experiment. We could have done better by asking them more questions on how the lab relates to real life situations so to click their curiosity to think back at that learning experience day in the future. I have learned from this learning experience that I really am just an amateur yet. It made me realize how much more practice and studying I need to do before I can really feel 100% comfortable and knowing about the subject that I teach. I felt from that day that you really have to know the subject three times more in order to actually teach it. I believe I have contributed a very warm experience to the students. My hope was not to scare them into not doing science in the future but to maybe hopefully pick their curiosity and to make them be a little more accustomed to laboratory setting and work. The values that I picked up from this experience were the importance of re-teaching myself of the material until I can teach it to myself before I can teach it to others. I learned that to be a teacher you really have to know your stuff otherwise you are just passing down wrong information. I also learned to keep an open mind as teaching is also learning as I was able to learn from this teaching experience. I believe my impact on the community was very miniscule alone but together with my group and all the student teachers that day we might have actually motivated some students to think about science even the slightest.

  27. The service learning experience relates to the awareness of GMO’s. I observed interesting facts about genetically modified food. I learned that foods are modified in order to become more suitable for our growing population. The PCR technique worked and so did everything else. There are many things that I can do to contribute to this solution such as genetically modifying food. I learned that I eat a lot of GMO. I learned that I will never become a teacher. I taught them about PCR and made them smarter. My values, beliefs and opinions have stayed the same. The most important lesson I learned was not to trust my lab partner. I was challenged by having to correct my lab partner because she did not know what she was talking about. I did not have much of an impact but some of the students may be future technicians.

  28. The ASL allowed me to guide kids through and experiment on genetically modified foods. Through which, I found that you have to know the kids before you can try to teach them anything. Just expaining everything to them wasn’t enough, you really have to understand who they are and relate the information to them. Two of the kids I worked with didn’t like science, so I had to break everything down into very entertaining tasks and explain what we were doing through metaphors, analogies, and examples. I think everything went rather splendidly and am happy with how cooperative and easy the kids and experience were as a whole.
    I was worried that I would be boring or unenthusiastic when it came time to teach, but I really suprised myself with how much fun I was able to have. I hope that the kids are at least excited to do lab prep work and can have fun doing the smallest tasks. They probably won’t like science anymore than they had before, but I hope they enjoy doing experiments. I also think they’ll remember how gel electrophoresis works. Not much has changed, but I’d be happy to do this again! I like entertaining kids and helping them learn.

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