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Kids, peas and elephant toothpaste: biochemistry outreach at primary schools

Wednesday 16 December 2020 12:24pm

Students at Maori Hill and Fairfield schools were treated to some bonus biochemistry lessons in the past few weeks.

Otago Biochemistry volunteers introduced the children to the world of living molecules, showing them how to extract DNA from peas, make 'elephant toothpaste' foam from yeast and hydrogen peroxide, decode a gene to make a protein, and build models of molecules you can find inside cells.

It was also an excellent opportunity for some of our researchers to practice explaining their science to some bright, curious young minds from years 5 to 7.

Thanks to Jenni Palmer, Tom Chin, Anu Das, Annika Bokor, Sol Perez-Santangelo, Ben Peters, Jordon Lima, and Miriam Sharpe for your help and hard work, and to Maori Hill and Fairfield schools for giving us such a warm welcome.

Below are some photos of the children and biochemists hard at work:

kids decoding genes 650
Year 7 students decoding a gene to make a protein at Fairfield School.

DNA extraction from peas 650
Jordon explaining how to extract pea DNA at Maori Hill School.

making foam from yeast and H2O2 1 650
Tom showing how to make elephant toothpaste at Maori Hill School.

kids building molecule models 1 650
Maori Hill School students building models of molecules.

kids building molecule models 2 650
Ben leading Fairfield School students through molecule model building.

making foam from yeast and H2O2 2 650
Fairfield school students showing off their foam creation skills.