Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA

Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA
Middle Schoolers Discover the Secrets of DNA 2

As part of their affiliation with Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Open Space Stewardship Program, middle schoolers in Islip’s EXCEL program recently tackled DNA barcoding to identify organisms they found last fall with naturalist Brett Curlew in nearby Pardees Pond.

“We went out and did some collecting of invertebrates, plants, and abiotic components to find out what was going on,” said Curlew. “The students had a driving question: They wanted to see if the biodiversity changed from the north side of the pond to the south side, so they collected samples from both ends. Now what they are doing is extracting DNA from those samples to be able to identify the stuff they found.”

“Brett typically works with high school and college-level students,” said EXCEL coordinator Julia Johnson. “This is atypical for such young kids to have the opportunity to do real DNA barcoding.”