Powerful Soil: Utilizing Microbial Fuel Cell Construction and Design in an Introductory Biology Course †
This tool utilizes the construction of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) as the long-term laboratory experience for an introductory biology course. Students build multiple versions of MFCs during the semester, altering a number of variables to produce a more powerful battery. Through this iterative laboratory experience, students learn experimental design strategies, microbial culturing and identification techniques, and how to construct scientific figures, legends and tables. This laboratory can also be adapted to a one-hour workshop for middle school students, facilitated by college faculty and college students. Editor's Note:The ASM advocates that students must successfully demonstrate the ability to explain and practice safe laboratory techniques. For more information, read the laboratory safety section of the ASM Curriculum Recommendations: Introductory Course in Microbiology and the Guidelines for Biosafety in Teaching Laboratories, available at www.asm.org. The Editors of JMBE recommend that adopters of the protocols included in this article follow a minimum of Biosafety Level 2 practices. Adopters of the 8th grade outreach activity discussed in this article should follow Biosafety Level 1 practices.
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