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Students learned about the cause of sickle cell anemia, and worked in groups to make an agarose gel, run samples of hemoglobin protein through it, and analyzed the results to determine if their patient hemoglobin sample was normal, affected by sickle cell anemia, or from a carrier. The students, after making their agarose gels, set their gels by their electrophoresis station and gathered around for a demonstration of pipetting their samples into the wells of the gels they had made. After practicing their pipetting technique, students were given their samples - a normal sample and a patient sample. Once the gels were loaded and running, they did an activity that modeled how the total charge of the molecules in their samples determines how fast their samples move when they turn the electricity in the electrophoresis chambers on and then it was time to check results!

Students then compared how far their patient's sample moved with how far a healthy person's sample moved and were able to determine if their patient was healthy, sick or a carrier of the sickle cell disease. The materials and equipment were provided by Boston University’s CityLab program (https://www.bumc.bu.edu/citylab/), for which Jo Porter taught (many years ago).

Note from Jo Porter: “I really appreciated having the opportunity to bring this curriculum to Nottingham School. The students were completely engaged and enthusiastic. I was particularly impressed at how diligent they were in performing the lab, and how careful they were with the equipment. It was a great couple of days with a great group of students!”


If you are interested in our after-school guided study program (SHARP) please contact Ms. Erica Ostrander (SHARP Coordinator) at 603-679-5632