Thoughts from Kaori and Zumra
From Dr. Kaori Noridomi (Prof. Roberts' Post-doc in Chem Eng):
It is very challenging for us (wet lab) to teach science online, and I had to step back a little to re-access what would be important for high school students and what kind of things would be useful in the future for them. SHINE is an amazing program to feel and learn what real research is but it is limited what they can do in such a short time. We are all excited to support those high school students and we tend to give something which "we" do in the lab. However, it does get sometimes unrealistic (could be too challenging for high schoolers).
At their high school, I believe that students only do successful lab experiments in class lab, which is even true for undergrad labs at USC.
BUT!!! in research, we have more failures than successes. It means that it is very critical to build data analysis skills and troubleshooting skills. And, I believe that those skills could be applied to anything, not just science.
This summer, I am trying to focus how we analyze data and how we can design experiments to answer questions. For that, we might be able to use data which we already have (or we already solved the issue). If those data are not available, we even could make up some data. In fact, I train my graduate students that way. I always ask them, "IF you get this kind of data, what would you do?" even when they get good data. Getting good data is important but troubleshooting skills give them real understanding of materials. It would be good to start to build those skills in high school I would like them to earn wet lab skills as well, so that those skills would be covered by online videos or I will do video chat when I do experiments. I really hope that they actually can come to the lab and do actual work. Even one week is fine. I want to teach how to use pipettes and do simple lab work (e.g. run gels).
I also like the idea and Biomed and ChemE mentors get together and support students. Just showing how to use a machine or do simple experiment would be interesting for students.
We probably do not know what each lab does, so we could make a spreadsheet or something. We do not need too much details or long writings. What we need is more likely bullet point information describing what technique they use (their specialty) or what machine they use etc. That way, other mentors could ask (arrange with) to a particular mentor if mentors are interested in their students to learn those skills?? A mentor can show those experiments not only his/her students but also other mentors' students. Also, mentors could take a turn to give a mini lecturer to all cohort students for their specialized technique. I am attaching an example excel sheet.
From Zumra Peksaglam Seidel:
We can still give them some video-based or virtual lab experiments and discuss with them. I am also thinking of giving them a very easy literature search and letting them prepare presentations. After each presentation, they should "perform" a related experiment. SDS-PAGE experiment could be totally done as Kaori mentioned. I love the idea of giving them one of our results and asking them what they think about the result of it. Pipetting, preparing solutions (including calculation of the concentration), easy enzyme-substrate experiments, Western-Blot could be done through youtube and other videos too. Data analysis tasks are also another big part of our research. We may give them some analyzed data to them and want them to reproduce before giving new data analysis.
Overall, I think we can give them these three portions:
-Literature search and presentation
-YouTube or virtual experiments
Thus, they will be able to get a sense of research. And hopefully, we will be back to our labs and show them some bench work as well.