Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory
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Georgia Standards

Inquiry Approach to Molecular Biology Using Salt Marsh Bacteria
AP Biology Version

Big Idea: Biotechnology

Georgia Performance Standards:

Co-Requisite Characteristics of Science

Habits of Mind

SCSh1. Students will evaluate the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science.

a. Exhibit the above traits in their own scientific activities.

b. Recognize that different explanations often can be given for the same evidence.

c. Explain that further understanding of scientific problems relies on the design and execution of new experiments which may reinforce or weaken opposing explanations.

SCSh2. Students will use standard safety practices for all classroom laboratory and field investigations.

a. Follow correct procedures for use of scientific apparatus.

b. Demonstrate appropriate technique in all laboratory situations.

c. Follow correct protocol for identifying and reporting safety problems and violations.

SCSh3. Students will identify and investigate problems scientifically.

c. Collect, organize and record appropriate data.

SCSh4. Students use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulating scientific equipment and materials.

a. Develop and use systematic procedures for recording and organizing information.

b. Use technology to produce tables and graphs.

c. Use technology to develop, test, and revise experimental or mathematical models.

SCSh5. Students will demonstrate the computation and estimation skills necessary for analyzing data and developing reasonable scientific explanations.

a. Trace the source on any large disparity between estimated and calculated answers to problems.

b. Consider possible effects of measurement errors on calculations.

SCSh6. Students will communicate scientific investigations and information clearly.

a. Write clear, coherent laboratory reports related to scientific investigations.

b. Write clear, coherent accounts of current scientific issues, including possible alternative interpretations of the data.

c. Use data as evidence to support scientific arguments and claims in written or oral presentations.

d. Participate in group discussions of scientific investigation and current scientific issues.

Co-Requisite Content

SB2. Students will analyze how biological traits are passed on to successive generations.

b. Explain the role of DNA in storing and transmitting cellular information.

f. Examine the use of DNA technology in forensics, medicine, and agriculture.

The Learning Plan:

This laboratory exercise consists of six parts.

Part I

Students will isolate bacteria

Part II

Students will extract DNA

Part III

Students will use PCR to amplify the bacterial DNA.

Part IV

Students will use gel electrophoresis to detect DNA in their samples.

Part V

Students will learn about Bioinformatics

Part VI

Students will BLAST search their sequences at GenBank

Essential Question:

What are the practical applications of DNA technology?


See Habits of Mind SCSh2


Through this laboratory activity, observations of the students performing the different techniques will be used as formative assessment. The summative assessment or overall final assessment is the laboratory report the students will turn in at the end of the activity.


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National Science FoundationThe Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory is funded by the National Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number MCB-0702125. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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