How to Find DNA with Cell Explorers – #ScienceWeek

I had been really looking forward to this workshop for a while! If you are interested in exploring science then you need to explore the Science Foundation Ireland website. They are the best people in Ireland to found out about public events to attend for adults and kids.

I was looking at the SFI website with my Mum a few weeks ago and we picked a couple of things that I can go to over the weekend and this DNA workshop was the first one.  This workshop was based in a side room in Athlone Library and the room was fully prepped for our session when we arrived. The people running the course were from Athlone IT. We got there early so we took some photos and waited for about five minutes and then when they were ready we headed in.

I sat down at one of the three tables and waited for them to begin. They briefly explained what a cell was and it is the smallest life form there is they said. They handed out instructions that we followed and then we did as below.

First of all we were given a slice of banana in a bag and were told to squash it completely until it was a paste and then mix it with saline water. We were then given a piece of filter paper and made it into a cone shape. Then we poured the banana-saline mixture into the filter paper cone and filtered 5 ml of the water into a container. Then we added 1 ml of liquid soap to the mixture. Next we added slowly 10 ml of coloured [optional] ethanol. Leave to settle for 2 mins. We then collected whatever we saw in the container with a stick. Finally we put it inside a smaller container. Done.

This was actually quite good fun and if we got it right you can see what looks like bubbles floating around. We were able to bring this home to keep as well. We then did a short test on what we had learned and then they showed us how to make a paper “fortune teller” with questions and answers about DNA and cells.

If you get chance to make it to one of the many events in Ireland for Science Week please let me know what you did and how you got on!

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