Start the school year with new and inspiring science lessons from Liberty University’s biology and chemistry professors who are experts in forensics, molecular biology, chemistry, microbiology, and more. You’ll learn practical teaching methods using the university’s state-of-the-art labs. With both high school and middle school tracks available, the conference can be tailored to fit your needs.
Middle School / Elementary school sessions focus on general biology content and hands-on ideas for the classroom. High school sessions focus on chemistry content with ideas for classroom and lab.
Middle school sessions focus on physical science topics and ideas for demonstration or hands-on activities. High School sessions focus on biology content areas and ideas for lab experiments.
“Cells and Osmosis” – Dr. Cameron Sheeler
In this session, osmosis (water movement) relative to hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic solutions will be examined. The principles of diffusion and osmosis will be presented. Hands-on activities/experiments will be done with animal and plant cells placed in hypotonic, hypertonic, and isotonic solutions to see the effect of these different environments on the cells. Microscope slides, test tubes, Elodea sprigs, and Sheep’s blood will be given to the participants to take back to their classrooms for demonstration or classroom activity.
"Swabbing the Deck" – Dr. Lindsey Stevenson
In his session, the participant will learn about microbial presence in their environment. Content on bacteria and their characteristics will be presented. Hands-on activities will include swabbing a variety of surfaces to grow on nutrient agar and observing the effectiveness of antibiotics against bacteria using the Kirby-Bauer Disk Diffusion method. A sleeve of nutrient agar plates will be given to the participants of this session to take back to their classrooms for demonstration or classroom activity.
“What is Calamari?” – Dr. Norm Reichenbach
In this session, the participant will perform a squid dissection to learn how to be able to demonstrate the main organs of the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. Participants will be given a preserved squid and equipment to be able to do a demonstration in their own classrooms.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t – Dr. Randy Davy
In this session, the principles of qualitative analysis will be discussed. A hands-on experiment will be done to identify ions based on the known ways in which they react using basic chemistry equipment. Participants will be given a qualitative analysis scheme and solutions of ions with which they can conduct a classroom demonstration or experiment.
"Dyeing to See" – Dr. Todd Allen
In this session, the effect of the addition of salt to a miscible solution of different solvents will be examined. The concept of miscibility of solvents and the practical importance of decreasing the solubility of an organic weak or nonelectrolyte in bulk solution will be presented. A hands-on experiment will be done with household items that are easy to reproduce in a classroom for demonstration or classroom activity.
"Which Way Will They Flow?" – Dr. Alan Fulp
The principles that govern the movement of molecules will be discussed. A hands-on lab will be done that allows predictions of molecule movement based on the principles and visual confirmation of the movement. Materials that will allow the participants to do this as a class experiment or teacher demonstration will be supplied to the participant.
"Global warming and Other Hot Button Topics" – Dr. Michael Bender
This conference segment will illustrate experiments that will key into several water, energy and climate (WEC) issues. Simple experiments will be outlined to allow students to explore CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas questions will be demonstrated. Further experiments related to microbead and microplastic contamination in natural waters/ocean gyres will also be demonstrated“. Finally, potential experiments and student prompts related to UV exposure and health risk will be discussed.
"Birds of a Feather" – Dr. Gene Sattler
Feathers and flight in birds will be considered with respect to their external anatomy and internal physiology, with a hands-on examination of feathers that participants can take back to the classroom and simple apparatuses that can be made to demonstrate aerodynamic principles. Participants will be given feathers, handouts including directions and sources for demonstrations as well as a power point presentation.
“Seeing Through Your Specs” – Dr. Paul Sattler
This session will examine the relationship between absorption and concentration using a spectrometer. Instructions will include how to make serial dilutions, work with a spectrometer, and graph results using Excel. Participants will enter a drawing for used (but in good shape) spectrometers to be able to demonstrate or conduct this activity in the classroom.
"Developing a Restriction Endonuclease" – Dr. Gary Isaacs
Gene editing, the art of altering the DNA code, is a promising therapy as well as a molecular tool for biological procedures. In this session, the manner in which students can visualize and plan their own DNA manipulations in order to explain some of the current methodologies employed in the lab will be discussed. Participants will be given a worksheet that is designed for group exercises which they can do in-class with their students and will be shown how to access a plasmid editor software to use with the worksheets.
Renae R. Bullock