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Reminders from 11-15 TA Training

Page history last edited by Kim Moore 10 years, 8 months ago


I hope you are enjoying your weekend. :-)  Here are the reminders from our Friday training....


1) Recitation: Energy Skate Park



(Break--pass back graded lab 4, if it is ready)


2) Lab 5, Part 1


a) Organizing lab groups for this 5th lab may be a little tricky.  If a student has not yet taken a turn at all of the roles, they need to complete the jobs list during this lab.  I usually let the students try organizing themselves during the break between recitation and lab, and then step in and do it for them if they can't figure it out in a timely fashion.


b) I never wrote the equipment list in the lab document (mea culpa!).  Here it is:

For the TA: One onion, one knife (figure that out. :-)

Per group:

    • 1 microscope
    • 1-2 slides, with ONE cover slip (blot/wipe gently and re-use, if necessary)
    • 1 vial of saline solution
    • 1 pipette w/ disposable tip
    • 1/6 of a fresh onion


c) Safety precaution: the cover slips are VERY thin glass and are VERY sharp (especially if they shatter).  The cover slips should be treated very gently at all times.  Also, when the students are preparing their slides, they should blot the excess fluid before placing the slide on the microscope--no fluids IN the microscope, please!  (If the onion odor becomes too much, open the window by the refrigerator.)


d) Disposal: At the end of the lab, dispose of all used paper towels, all pipette tips, and all onion chunks in a trash receptacle.  Place all USED slides and cover slips in the sharps container by the refrigerator at the back of the room (do NOT slide the plastic door shut--very hard to re-open).


e) In order to get a good video (like the sample onion cell video on their computers in the "Starting Videos for Labs 4-5" folder--no, they can't track this--it is compressed (missing data chunks) and they do not know the timing between frames), students may need to do 2 or 3 different slide preps.  Tell them to be patient and not to give up before they get a good video.  Share with them how many slide preps it took YOU to get a good video (or your LA from 131/132 last year).  Encourage students to use the lateral movement options on the microscope in order to hunt through a slide for a better cell sample. 


f) We have, at most, 1 onion per lab section.  DO NOT cut into a second onion.  Instead, ask students to borrow from their neighboring lab group's chunk.  (After all, we didn't think we had a good onion on Friday, and we eventually got good videos from all!)  Students need to handle the onion skin VERY gently (no pulling, squeezing, or tugging)!


g) Due to the varying background intensity, students will have to harvest data from these video using MANUAL tracking.  (10-15 objects that look 'random' and 10-15 objects that look 'directed' in their motion.)


h) John has a suggestion for getting VirtualDub to behave itself.  If the microscope is connected to a USB port but VirtualDub is still giving you the 'black screen of DeAtH,' try opening "ToupView" (icon on desktop).  This is the video software that originally came with the microscope cameras.  Once the camera is recognized through ToupView, you can close the program, open VirtualDub, and take a video.  John says that this usually fixes most problems for him.  (Do not take the video IN ToupView, as it is even harder to work with than VirtualDub.)


i) At the end of the lab, in addition to cleaning up after themselves and saving their data files, remind students that there will be a "pre-reading" for Lab 5, Part 2 (which takes place after the Thanksgiving break--no labs or recitations during the week of 11/25).  Also, ask them to try to figure out how to use what they know to find the rate of ATP hydrolization (R) and the viscosity of the cytosol.  (Doing some 'thinking ahead' will make the 2nd week go faster/more smoothly.)  Also, the data files they are using should be WELL-LABELED (including frame rate and distance-to-pixel conversions from the video)--with a 'dead week' in the middle of this lab, they need to be extra careful to make sure that they won't forget what they have done and what the data means.


3) Other Logistics


a) Zac has agreed to bring snacks this coming Friday (11/22).  Would anyone like to volunteer for 12/6?


b) We will have trainings on 11/22 (Lab 5,Part 2) and 12/6 (Make-up Lab).


c) For the week of 12/9, there IS a recitation for students.  There are also some surveys that students should take during the normal lab time.  These surveys should take about an hour to complete, and should be done immediately following recitation.  Of course some students will be doing the make-up lab during that time.  These make-up students will have to complete the surveys at another time.


d) Start organizing your list of which students need a make-up lab.  If there are sufficient students needing a make-up in your lab section, you can run the make-up lab at their normal time.  If you have too few students, we will need to pool them together, set a limited number of make-up slots, and ask the students to commit to a time and day (which may or may not match their normal lab time).


I think that covers it!  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Good luck to you this week!




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