Baylab experiments are designed to be fun and engaging. Students can isolate their own DNA from their mouths and take it home with them in a necklace, or ‘solve’ a crime using forensics, while learning sound scientific principles through a process of discovery.
All experiments are targeted to different key stages. Some experiments have basic and advanced versions, depending on key stage
a four-hour experiment designed for pupils aged 7-10 years.
This will encourage pupils to think about how science is applied to our everyday life; from the air we breathe, and food we eat to the products in our bathroom cabinets. They get first-hand experience of thinking about the cosmetics industry from a scientific perspective, understand the importance of being able to add ‘ingredients’ together in the right amounts and in the right way to get the desired affect or application.
Pupils investigate the difference between acidic and alkaline solutions, and how the two can neutralise each other in a reaction by forming a salt. They observe the properties of oils and waxes and how they are able to dissolve into one another, giving them a better understanding of the chemical processes behind the manufacture of toiletries such as bath bombs and lip balms.
extract your own DNA – a two-hour experiment for students aged 10-14 years
This workshop gives students the chance to think about what makes human beings unique. They learn more about DNA, what it is and where it is found, and how the structure makes each person different. It links to the real world in many ways, such as studying the genetic causes of disease, development of diagnostics and drugs, and also in forensic science and sequencing genomes.
Here, students will extract their own DNA and walk away with a small piece of it in a necklace for them to wear. They harvest their own cheek cells then extract the DNA. It is a great introduction to enzymes and DNA structure, using equipment normally only used at degree level.
a four-hour experiment designed for students aged 14-18
During this workshop students get to experience what it would be like to work in a forensics lab investigating a fictional crime scene. They will evaluate the crime scene and suspect DNA samples using modern molecular biological techniques. It is a great introduction to genetics and forensic analysis, learning how scientists would approach a crime scene situation and how to pour and load gels - processes that many students do not have practical exposure to before attending university.
A question of taste
a five to six-hour experiment for students aged 16-18 years
This genetics workshop allows students to determine their ‘phenotype’ and ‘genotype’ for a taste receptor that we share with our primate ancestors . Students will extract and test their own DNA using modern molecular biological techniques to compare their phenotype with their genotype. The workshop, developed with the Wellcome Trust to mark Darwin's 200th birthday, demonstrates how we as a species have evolved to lose the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide, a chemical found in vegetables such as broccoli.
Spectacular colour chemistry
a four-hour experiment for students aged 14-18
In this workshop students will discover what a colour actually is, understand how objects become coloured, and how chemists can manipulate aspects to produce both natural and synthetic dyes. The workshop begins with a brief overview of light including the electromagnetic spectrum and colour mixing and separation. Students discover the difference between colours and pigments, how coloured light is produced, and they produce some dyes of their own.
Bees and honey
why are bees so important? A three-hour session for primary pupils.
A bee quiz provides a fun-filled introduction to the topic. Pupils take on the role of a “Bee” and study their jobs and themselves using microscope slides and a model bee to decide how bees pollinate flowers and collect nectar. They use real flowers, magnifying glasses and see-like-a-bee goggles to help them on their journey. All of this takes place before they get hands on with science equipment in the Baylab to discover more about honey; they will detect different types of sugar, confirm antibacterial properties and the mineral content of honey. As they buzz their way through this workshops students will improve their laboratory skills; from recording, evaluating and discussion of results.
Catalysts of life – a four-hour experiment designed for students aged 13-16
This workshop shows students what enzymes are made of, how they are used in the production of medicines, and their medical and biotechnological uses. They find out that the human body is full of enzymes relying on them to do lots of different processes from digesting foods and replicating DNA, to helping repair damaged cells. Students conduct protein characterisation of the enzymes; and study the action and effects of enzymes as catalysts using different substrates (sugar, starch, sugar analogues). They discover the biotechnological uses of enzymes, and finally, discover that many drugs are specific enzyme inhibitors.