GENIE Mars Lander Laboratory

This is part of a series of events which the University of Leicester organised as part of the National Science and Engineering Week.

151-Mars.jpg 153-Mars-Rover-with-Martian.jpg

The full series of activities starts with students having the chance to find out how space scientists involved with the Mars Lander will be searching for life on Mars. The full range of activities start in Physics and Engineering, with questions such as: How do you prepare to go to Mars? How do you communicate with your Martian robot? How do you collect Martian soil samples? How do you get those samples safely back to Earth and analyse them?

Using maps of the Martian surface students direct robotic rovers to one of the areas of simulated Martian terrain.

In Chemistry they get the chance to analyse rock and soil samples the robot has collected.

And finally in Genetics they to try and find answers to the crucial question: is there life on Mars?

The material available here is the Genetics part of this event, where students analyse their Martian DNA samples. The attached documents contain the instructions for running DNA samples using gel electrophoresis, and also a computer-based DNA sequence tutorial, which can be carried out without any additional resources, other than the handouts and access to the internet.

The sequence BLAST tutorial can be carried out as a stand-alone item, or teachers can re-create their own versions of the Mars Lander event, if they want to create a project which will include other sciences.

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Students loading a DNA gel

This session fits in with Key Stage 4 of the National Curriculum for England (ages 14-16).

What this activity will demonstrate is:

  • How to carry out DNA gel Electrophoresis
  • What to do with DNA sequences and how to find out more about them
  • How to use the internet to carry out a BLAST search for a DNA sequence

Activity Information
Author: GENIE
Subject: Genetics
Level: Ages 14-16
Language: English
Publish Date: 9th March 2012

 

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2 Teacher notes

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3 DNA Sample Sequence

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