Art & Science Night
Art and science seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but art is a science of its own and artists can be inspired by all things nature. USF College of Marine Science invited artists to experience how scientists view the world with the hopes of inspiring a new piece of work. Artists had the chance to look under microscopes at living plankton, see the deadly beauty of a virus infecting a cell, paint with live bacteria, and talk to marine chemists.
Dr. Breitbart’s lab works with Girls Inc. often, bringing fun activities to the their Pinellas Park location and bringing the girls to USF’s College of Marine Science. Our lab has brought them colorful bacteria to paint with, plankton to view under microscopes, sea snails to touch and hold, and even lionfish to dissect. The girls love interacting with female scientists.
St. Petersburg Science Festival
Each year our lab participates in the St. Petersburg Science Festival. In 2017 and 2018 we had a booth called Phage Heroes, teaching kids about good viruses that destroy bad bacteria. To learn more about this activity, click here for the publication. In 2019 we had a booth called DNA Detectives, teaching kids about how to identify fish eggs using their DNA or genetic code.
Cheek Cell DNA Extraction Activity
Most of the time a group asks us to do an outreach activity, we do a cheek cell DNA extraction using Gatorade, dish soap, and ethanol. This activity is a great way to make a lab protocol that we do on daily basis, interactive and fun for kids. They get to see their DNA with their own eyes, which most people can’t say they have ever done before.
Media Matters & Phage Isolation
When working with higher level students, like high schoolers or undergrads, we like to work with bacteria and viruses. This activity has two parts, one demonstrating how bacteria are grown on different nutrient sources (ex. salty marine broth vs. nutrient rich broth), and the other demonstrates how viruses are isolated from different environmental samples. The students even get to grow their own bacteria from a source of their choice (ex. bottom of backpack, water fountain, and a credit card chip).