Food labels have a reputation for being misleading. In this Mid-Pen Minute, science teacher Meenu Baloda’s fourth period Advanced Biology students prepare to analyze milk samples from home to see if the protein content listed on the container is accurate.
Earlier in the week, students practiced using micropipettes to drop the tiniest of solution samples into small tubes. For the formal lab, which took place over the course of two days, students donned lab coats and gloves to conduct their research. As a group, Meenu’s class made protein standards—known protein concentrations from a stock solution.
Proteins absorb light, so students calculated absorbances using a spectrophotometer, which measures light in relation to wavelength. Collected data was then used to delve into a deeper analysis at the next class meeting, where students assessed the protein content of the milk they brought in from in from home.
Precision, steady hands, and teamwork were required for accurate results. But patience, encouragement from classmates and Meenu, and knowledge that practice makes progress, allowed these Dragons to enjoy the process. Laughter and smiles abound.
“The students were looking for errors,” said Meenu. “But they were excited they could see the protein was as advertised.”