Grade Level: High School

The corn industry has made major advances in the last thirty years. Many of these advancements have come on the heels of an increased incorporation of biotechnology into the seed development sector. Since 1996, when the first herbicide resistant varieties were brought into production, many of the most important advancements have developed thanks to countless hours spent in laboratories developing and cultivating new varieties. The skills we need to develop in the next generations of these scientists must be discretely taught. There is no better way to do that than through hands-on laboratory experiences. Simply put, there is no substitution for putting the tools in the hands of the learner. In this investigation, students will have an opportunity to develop skills relative to volumetric measurement on a very small scale. Students will be using adjustable volumetric pipettes to accurately measure small amounts of liquids, as precisely as possible, using authentic tools that can be found in 21st century labs across the country and the world. Students will also see a crossover between the development of lab skills and the art of lab work by precisely depositing specific volumes in order to create patterns or pictures of their own design.

- Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.
- Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
- Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data.
- Analyze data to identify design features or characteristics of the components of a proposed process or system to optimize it relative to criteria for success.

- Mathematical and computational thinking in 9-12 builds on K-8 and experiences and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions.
- Apply ratios, rates, percentages, and unit conversions in the context of complicated measurement problems involving quantities with derived or compound units (such as mg/mL, kg/m3, acre-feet, etc.).

- N.Q.1. (all) Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays.
- N.Q.2. (all) Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.
- N.Q.3. (all) Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.
- F.IF.1.(all) For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of expressions, graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a description of the relationship. Key features include: intercepts; intervals where the function is increasing, decreasing, positive, or negative; relative maximums and minimums; symmetries; end behavior; and periodicity.
- F.LQE.1. 11) Construct exponential functions, given a graph, a description of a relationship, or two input-output pairs (include reading these from a table).
- S.ID.1. (9/10) Use statistics appropriate to the shape of the data distribution to compare center (median, mean) and spread (interquartile range, standard deviation) of two or more different data sets. (S.ID.2)
- S.ID.2. (9/10) Interpret differences in shape, center, and spread in the context of the data sets using dot plots, histograms, and box plots, accounting for possible effects of extreme data points (outliers). (S.ID.3)

- VA:Cr2.1.I Engage in making a work of art or design without having a preconceived plan.
- VA: Cr1.2.II Choose from a range of materials and methods of traditional and contemporary artistic practices to plan works of art and design.
- VA:Cr2.1.II Through experimentation, practice, and persistence, demonstrate acquisition of skills and knowledge in a chosen art form

- Students will discover uses for basic laboratory equipment found in professional lab settings.
- Students will accurately operate a micropipette with precision sample placement.
- Students will assess their own skills using a pipette by calculating percent error and standard deviations of a body of sample data.
- Students will understand the variety of agriculture-related jobs where basic laboratory skills are required to be successful.

- Printable version of
*Kansas Corn: Accuracy and Precision in Pipetting* - Pipette Technique PowerPoint
- Hitting The Bullseye Student Sheet
- Waxed paper or Parafilm
- Printed grids (1/5 inch graph paper can be printed for free from the following website: bit.ly/PipettingGridPaper)
- Micropipette (with 20-200 ul volume ability)
- Micropipette tips (non-sterile)
- Small clear plastic cups
- Digital scale
- Food coloring
- Computer (with access to the internet or Microsoft Excel)

Be aware of students with sensitivity to certain artificial dyes. Using food grade dyes (liquid food coloring) eliminates most safety concerns.

Investing in teachers is a priority therefore the Kansas Corn Commission is committed to providing materials and training to help teachers excel in the classroom. Teachers who seek to expand their knowledge and skill of connecting science with agriculture are encouraged to attend a Seed to STEM workshop.

Kansas Corn Commission will continue to provide educational offerings and updates. Newsletters will be provided quarterly. Subscribe today!

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