Young students extract DNA during Open Lab

  • Lab bench prepped for Open Lab
    Lab bench prepped for Open Lab  The Open Lab experience involved extracting DNA from strawberries, and using paints to illustrate the experience.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Bright pink test-tube holder
    Bright pink test-tube holder  Professor Hinton's choice of lab materials adds cheer for biologists of all ages.  
  • Open Lab orientation
    Open Lab orientation  Open Lab participants first met in the conference room for orientation  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • New faces for Open Lab
    New faces for Open Lab  At the start students were quiet in the new setting  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab orientation cont.
    Open Lab orientation cont.  Dr. Hinton worked to relax the students, and their parents.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Liz Allison welcomes Open Lab
    Liz Allison welcomes Open Lab  W&M Biology Department Chair Dr. Liz Allison spoke briefly to the Open Lab group  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • W&M biologists establish a fun tone
    W&M biologists establish a fun tone    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab orientation cont.
    Open Lab orientation cont.  W&M students and children begin to make friends  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab orientation cont.
    Open Lab orientation cont.  Students learn why DNA matters to them  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab orientation cont.
    Open Lab orientation cont.    
  • Introducing DNA at Open Lab
    Introducing DNA at Open Lab  Questions were encouraged and students quickly embraced the topic.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • DNA in a strawberry
    DNA in a strawberry  Students were introduced to nucleotides using the strawberry as a model  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Preparing for the laboratory
    Preparing for the laboratory  Lab coats were supplied as an introduction to lab protocol and safety.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Preparing for the laboratory, cont.
    Preparing for the laboratory, cont.  Enough lab coats for everyone!  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Walking to the lab, cont.
    Walking to the lab, cont.  At first some students appeared apprehensive traveling the halls of the science building  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Walking to the lab, cont.
    Walking to the lab, cont.  Open Lab's goal was to introduce parents to the process as well as the students  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • In the laboratory
    In the laboratory  Young students are introduced to the lab environment while undergraduate assistants look on.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • In the laboratory, cont.
    In the laboratory, cont.  Dr. Hinton's multi-colored choice in lab materials enliven the workbench.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • In the laboratory, cont.
    In the laboratory, cont.  Soon apprenhension gave way to engagement in the lab.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Looking through the florescent microscope
    Looking through the florescent microscope    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab petri dish illuminated
    Open Lab petri dish illuminated    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Student looking through microscope
    Student looking through microscope    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  Students wear safety glasses in keeping with good lab protocol.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Parent looking through microscope
    Parent looking through microscope  Open Lab introduces both students and parents to the subject and environment of science research  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • William and Mary undergraduates
    William and Mary undergraduates  Open Lab provided teaching experience for current undergraduate students  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  Building relationships between young and mature students  
  • DNA from strawberries!
    DNA from strawberries!    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  Student begins the process to extract DNA from a strawberry  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  Strawberries undergoing DNA extraction  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  DNA extraction  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Hampton University student helps at Open Lab
    Hampton University student helps at Open Lab    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab, cont.
    Open Lab, cont.  After DNA extraction, students report by painting about their experience  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab report medium
    Open Lab report medium  Lab reports were made with colorful paints  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Clean up needed in the DNA Lab
    Clean up needed in the DNA Lab    Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Making ice cream with science
    Making ice cream with science  After lab, refreshments included home-made ice cream using liquid nitrogen.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Ice Cream Preparation
    Ice Cream Preparation  An Open Lab student, attired in safety gear, makes ice cream using liquid nitrogen.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Dr. Shanta Hinton
    Dr. Shanta Hinton  Dr. Shanta Hinton oversees a student making ice cream with liquid nitrogen  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab refreshments
    Open Lab refreshments  Strawberry and peach ice cream home-made at the Open Lab  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab refreshments
    Open Lab refreshments  Extreme safety gear for the important work of stirring ice cream  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab refreshments
    Open Lab refreshments  A parent talks to Biology Dept. chair Liz Allison, next to Shanta Hinton, Open Lab director.  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Open Lab participants
    Open Lab participants  Group photo of some students (from pre-school to graduate), parents, and faculty partipating in Open Lab  Shanta Hinton Lab
  • Goodbyes
    Goodbyes  At the end of Open Lab, new friends say goodbye.  Shanta Hinton Lab
Photo - of -

Young participant in Open LabThis summer Assistant Professor of Biology Shantá Hinton organized an outreach program entitled Open Lab that brought students of all ages into the world of DNA extraction. Young children and their parents were introduced to the world of biological science using fun yet advanced laboratory techniques.

The project aimed to help students realize that anyone can be a scientist if they understand the concepts, follow protocols, and bring their curiosity and creativity into the laboratory. Undergraduate students enjoyed the teaching experience, and the students enjoyed everything from the extraction process, viewing cells in the microscope, and of course eating ice-cream made on the spot using liquid nitrogen.

View the photos above to see Dr. Hinton's Open Lab in action.