Ticonderoga Ticonderoga Middle School’s eighth grade Living Environment Regents class attended a “DNA in the Courtroom” Minds On Workshop at the Queensbury Hotel recently.
The scenario was a hypothetical paternity case where two different individuals were suspected to have fathered a child. Students used restriction enzymes to “cut up” DNA into fragments. The students then used state-of-the-art technology to use micropipettes to transfer the DNA to gel plates that are used in the electrophoresis process. Students had to run the tests and interpret the results to determine which individual could be ruled out as the suspected father.
Janet Mallon is the Ticonderoga teacher who led the class.
The workshop leaders were Alison and Richard Miller, both retired science teachers who were trained by Cornell University to conduct the workshop through Rensselaerville Institute.
“The information they got has very much prepared them for college level work,” Mallon said. “The workshop lab was designed at Cornell University for use in undergraduate courses.”
Minds On offered the workshop to students in grades 9-12, AP students and accelerated courses. Mallon’s students are in an accelerated middle school science course.
“Other participating schools sent tenth graders and the Ticonderoga eighth graders more than held their own,” Mallon said. “The awesome eighth grade Ticonderoga students that participated in the workshop were Brittany Bruce, Colvin Chapman, Jamie Cox, Brody Rocque, Aaron Russell, Tim Ryan, Sam Shelmidine, Mackenzie Strum, Ryan Trudeau, Susan Ward and Rachel White. Thanks also goes to Mrs. Tina Russell who drove one of the mini-vans and helped chaperone and photograph the event.”
Rensselaerville Institute has been running the challenging, high-energy, mind-stimulating, Minds On workshops for middle and high school students for over a decade.
This year the Stewart’s Foundation and the Lake Placid Education Foundation continued to monetarily support the Minds On Workshops.
Even with the support, Mallon’s students had to do considerable fundraising to pay for the $375 workshop fee, gas and associated costs.