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BHSU students present DNA classroom activities for Spearfish Middle School

Pictured center, Riston Haugen, Black Hills State University Integrative Genomics graduate student from Baltic, demonstrates an activity to analyze DNA to Spearfish Middle School students, left to right, Sadie Haivala, Madison Ulin and Isaac Hill, in a recent DNA classroom activity presented by BHSU.
Black Hills State University recently conducted a DNA activity at Spearfish Middle School. Pictured right, Melissa Lehmann, Integrative Genomics graduate student from Rapid City, assists middle school student, Lake Lapov, with the DNA activities.
Pictured right, Joe Manthey, Black Hills State University Integrative Genomics graduate student from Fond Du Lac, Wisc., demonstrates an activity to analyze DNA to Spearfish Middle School student Ryan Lahr, in a recent classroom research activity presented by BHSU.

Students enrolled in the Integrative Genomics master’s degree program at Black Hills State University recently presented DNA classroom activities for students at Spearfish Middle School.

The BHSU graduate students conducted an activity that allowed the middle school students to isolate DNA from their own cheek cells and then used that DNA to analyze a gene that is variable in human populations.

The activity “What’s your genotype? - Has Alu jumped into your TPA?” was presented by the BHSU graduate students, under the direction of Dr. Cynthia Anderson, assistant professor of biology and associate director of the Western South Dakota DNA Core Facility and the Center for the Conservation of Biological Resources at BHSU. Students participating in the activity were as follows: Joe Manthey, Fond Du Lac, Wisc.; Jodi Massie, Belle Fourche; Melissa Lehmann, Rapid City; John Duvall-Jisha, San Marcos, Texas; Riston Haugen, Baltic; Jay Jacobs, Reeder N.D.; and Woody Walstrom, Spearfish.

The graduate students noted that the middle school students were knowledgeable about this subject and eager to learn more by participating in the activity.

"These students know way more at this level than I did when I was their age," Woody observed.

"I was so glad I could offer them the opportunity to actually do a hands-on DNA experiment." Jodie noted, “The enthusiasm of the students was impressive. They hung on to nearly every word and worked so carefully.”

BHSU collaborated with Mindy Capp, a science teacher at Spearfish Middle School who attended a summer DNA techniques workshop for science teachers funded by a Title II grant to Dr. Shane Sarver, director of CCBR and Janet Briggs, science education specialist at BHSU. The workshop provided teachers with experience necessary to make this unique learning opportunity available in the middle school classroom.

Kits for DNA activities are available for teachers interested in using DNA technology in their classrooms. For more information contact WestCore at BHSU by email at WestCore@Bhsu.Edu or call 642-6854.

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