Saturday, April 3, 2010


Kids say the funniest things. Yesterday I helped with a field trip for sixth graders. They came to campus and did some stuff in the morning that I have no idea about but then they did three rotations of scientific things with people that work in Dr. Crandall's lab. They played "blood bingo" with slides of blood cells on microscopes, looked for insects outside, and extracted DNA from strawberries. I helped with the DNA extracting. Without fail every rotation someone asked if they could drink the mushed up, soap and isopropanol filled juice. Ew. Here's a few of my favorite comments:
  • "I don't want these strawberries to go to waste!" -Little girl
  • "We are aliens. But don't worry, we come in peace." -Two best friends (girls)
  • "So the white stuff you see in strawberries is it's DNA, right?" -one of the chaperones. (For the record, the white stuff inside a strawberry is not it's DNA. The DNA is INSIDE the cells."
  • Boy 1: "So, could we do this with people DNA?" Me: "Yup." Boy 1: "Awesome! So you can squish up a guy's finger and get the DNA out." Boy 2: "It'd probably look the same as what we have too cuz it'd be all bloody." Me: "That's disgusting. You can just use your spit." Boy 2: "Ohhh..."
  • Girl: "What does DNA stand for?" Me: "Deoxyribonucleic acid." Girl: "Huh?" Boy: "something, something, something nucleic acid."
  • "This stuff is leaking all over me and I'm going to get a rash!!" -A very concerned girl
  • "Will it hurt it if I take a picture?" After this one about five girls took a picture of my hook with the blob of DNA at the end.
Overall, it was extremely entertaining and a lot of fun. If you're ever interested in seeing DNA, it's super easy. Strawberries are probably the easiest and you'll get the most DNA because they are octaploid, which means they have eight copies of each chromosome. So, to extract DNA:
  1. Put your fruit in a plastic ziploc bag and put about 10 mL of water in the bag (it doesn't have to be exact.)
  2. Add a few drops of dishwashing soap (like Dawn). Squish up your fruit until it's mostly juice.
  3. Cut a hole in the corner of your bag and pour the juice (try to not get any chunks) into a tube or cup.
  4. Let isopropanol run down the side of the tube. (Don't let it drop directly on top of the juice or it will mix together)
  5. The isopropanol will pull the DNA up and you will see white strands of DNA. When you pull it out it looks a little like snot. (Lovely, I know.)
So there you have it. If you ever get bored, there's something for you to do. And enjoy the kids in your life because I definitely miss seeing kids on a regular basis.


  1. Hey! Guess what? As I was reading your blog, my mother said "You need to find Aaron a science fair project...." Guess who will be extracting strawberry DNA today? Thanks!