Biotechnology a laboratory course
The Sik Sik Yuen Biotechnology Mobile Laboratory (BML) Program, funded solely by Sik Sik Yuen, a charitable organization, has the mandate to promote the interest and provide the education and training in biotechnology for students, teachers and the public in Hong Kong. The BML Program achieves its mandate on board its MobileLab, designed and constructed locally in 2008-09.
The MobileLab, built on a 12-metre Volvo bus platform compliant with Euro V emission standard and equipped with solar panels, wheelchair access, and diesel power generators, is a travelling laboratory specifically designed to provide hands-on experiments on board for up to 40 students per class with advanced equipment and current curriculum.
On board the MobileLab, students have direct, immediate access to the advanced instruments and equipment and gain valuable lab-based learning experiences that promote inquiry into and applications of science and biotechnology. Teachers have the opportunity for on-site professional development, as well as gaining information about equipping and updating a biology laboratory. The MobileLab also reaches out to the communities to promote science and biotechnology through various outreach programs.
The BML Program designs and develops courses and workshops for students at the elementary and secondary levels, and delivers to them at their schools with the MobileLab. Within the biotech curriculum, DNA Science and Microbiology Exploration are emphasized. In DNA Science, students learn DNA structure with paper and candy models, and recognize DNA is tangible through the extraction of bacterial DNA. In addition, they learn about genetics and genetic diseases, and DNA fingerprinting, in which various principles and techniques including micropipetting, gel electrophoresis, PCR and restriction analysis, are practiced. In microbiology, students learn “Where are the germs?” and effects of chemicals, including antibiotics, on microbial growth. The levels of these courses and workshops are tuned to be appropriate for students at different levels. In Outreach programs, parents and kids together participate in hands-on activities in “The World of DNA and Genetics”. For teachers’ professional development, both areas are covered with depth and hands-on labs. For evaluation purposes, the participants make responses in questionnaires designed for each course.
In the past years since its inception, the BML Program has travelled around Hong Kong with its MobileLab that showcases biotechnology with its lab facilities and distinctive exterior design. At present it has reached about 60 schools and over 13, 500 participants including students, teachers and the public.
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