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Flies On Ice


Flies On Ice is an activity developed to introduce students to experimental design, animal models used in biomedical research and basic concepts in neuroscience.


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the Micropipette Challenge Lab, students will be able to:


* Understand how to properly use a micropipette

* Read and follow a laboratory protocol

* Perform unit conversions, with an emphasis on microliters to milliliters

Instructional Background

Students should have a basic understanding of a micropipette (what is it?).  Don't worry, we will go over how to use it before jumping into the activity.  Students should also have a general understanding of the metric system and the common metric units used for volumes. A review of the metric system and metric conversions can be found here:

Micropipette Challenge Pre-Lab Activity, or

Math is Fun

Activity Engagement

Roy, Gee, and Biv were asked by their teacher to create a spectrum, but they have no idea what to do and need your help! Using red, blue, and yellow solutions, you will make a visible spectrum, but in order to correctly do this, you will need to use a micropipette. Employing your knowledge of the metric system and unit conversions, you will learn how to operate a micropipette and measure small quantities of liquids to create your spectrum.


Pre-lab Questions


Students should be able to answer these questions before beginning the Micropipette Challenge.  Also, refer to the Pre-Lab Activity above.


* What is the metric system?

* What is the SI system of measurement?

* What countries use the metric system? What system of measurement does the      

  United States use?

* What is a unit conversion? What is a conversion factor?

* How do you convert from milliliters to liters?

* Why do you think it is important that scientists use units in their work?

Specifications and Requirements

Skill Level: Basic

Focus: Laboratory tools, Laboratory skills, Metric system, Following a protocol

Duration: 1 Day

Time: 45 minutes

Physical Space: Enough room for groups of 3-4 students to interact together and perform the laboratory activity.


Teacher Notes

Student Worksheets

Standards Alignment








What professions use micropipettes? Check them out!


Biochemists and Biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity, and disease. Learn more:


Biomedical Engineers combine engineering principles with medical sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare. Learn more:


Chemists/Material Scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods. Learn more:


Epidemiologists are public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy. Learn more:


Medical Scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. Learn more:


Biological Technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments. Learn more:


Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments. Learn more:


Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats. Learn more:

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