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To increase ESE student engagement, understanding, and application of complex high school science standards through the implementation of lab activities involving the use of Micropipettes.

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Jabil - Micropipetting by Design; Hands on Science Activity for ESE Students

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Calvin A. Hunsinger 
Janet Cunningham 
Students Impacted:
August 14, 2018


Thank you to the following investor for funding this grant.


Jabil - $520.00


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Impact to My Classroom

# of Students Impacted: 45

The addition of a class set of Micropipettes was extremely impactful for my ESE students.  Prior to being able to have a class set, I needed to request these materials from the Univerity of Florida.  The request time and availability varied and it made it difficult to use these tools as a lab and remain on the suggested pacing guide.  When I received the 6 Micropipettes, I was able to provide a station lab where the students could work with the Micropipette while learning different volumes associated with measuring within  a science lab.  


Students made gains in math and critical reasoning skills.  There were able to be more precise and learned the importance of lab safety techniques.


Original Grant Overview


To increase ESE student engagement, understanding, and application of complex high school science standards through the implementation of lab activities involving the use of Micropipettes. 


What will be done with my students

ESE center based High School students will utilize micropipettes to complete hands-on lab exercises of increasing complexity to familiarize themselves with lab safety protocols, measurement skills and technology skills. Students will use the Micropipettes in labs utilizing red, blue, yellow and green colored water. The students will need to read directions and measurements of amounts of each color of water to be measured into a 48 well polystyrene flat tray. Water color and depth will determine a design if exercise is done correctly. This activity can be differentiated as well as made more complex to allow for use of the Micropipettes throughout the year. Students will work toward being able to create a personal design in the polystyrene wells that is able to be reproduced by other students. Students will gain math, science and engineering skills through the implementation of this repeating activity.



Benefits to my students

Within the center-based setting there are numerous procedures and protocols that must be followed to ensure student and staff safety. Due to these constraints, my high school science classroom does not have laboratory facilities. Every activity and lesson that is planned must be done with an understanding of the student population and dynamics. Recognition of carefully pairing any type of interaction between students as well as maintaining 100% supervision of students at all times is required for safety. Consideration needs to be given to the tools and supplies provided to the students so that student impulsivity and inability to recognize consequences do not create a dangerous situation for students or staff in the center. Due to these parameters, it is difficult to implement many hands-on labs within a center based setting. A majority of my labs are taught using virtual labs. While this platform is able to show the students the skills and information, this type of instruction targets auditory and visual learning styles.

Learning style research indicates kinesthetic learning style is more prevalent than visual and auditory learning styles among secondary school students (Rajshree S. Vaishnav. March 2013).

Teaching the center based ESE high school science students through a combination of PowerPoint presentations, videos, lecture, virtual labs and activities has been effective for some students but has not been able to meet the varying needs of the population. Test results from the previous four years indicate students show the lowest level of performance on the nature of science standards when compared to other standards.

Specifically focusing on NGSSS Standard, SC.912.N.1.2, Describe and explain what characterizes science and its methods as a focus for the hands- on lab should be able to provide clear areas to assess. Providing the students with some of the basic skills to help improve the foundational understanding of the concepts included in this Practice of Science standard should help student knowledge, application and learning gains improve.

Research comparing virtual labs with hands-on labs indicates, “The biggest disadvantage of virtual labs is that they are removed from the reality of the lab, which may already be removed from the reality of “science” (Rebecca K. Scheckler. 2003). Research has shown that a positive high correlation exists between kinesthetic learning and academic achievement (Rajshree S. Vaishnav. March 2013). Students tend to have low retention rates in subject areas where they have viewed but not practiced hands-on skills. Another disadvantage of virtual exercises is that they lack the immediacy of the supervision and contact with experienced teachers. Only mature and self-motivated learners do well in virtual environments where class meetings do not structure their time and they must actively seek help when confused (Rebecca K. Scheckler. 2003). The ESE students in my classes often lack the ability to work independently. They require a high level of support, encouragement and supervision. My students tend to lose interest in virtual labs because they are not interacting with the lab, they are passively viewing the information.

Providing my ESE students with applicable practiced laboratory skills at the throughout of the school year will help my students to engage personally with the material. The students with a high level of exposure to a skill set that can be related to NGSSS Standard, SC.912.N.1.2. An expected outcome will be that the students will have a higher degree of engagement, better understanding of the subject, and higher retention of information and applied skills.


Describe the Students

All students are ESE. Students are Emotional-Behavioral Disorders, Other Health Impaired, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and/or School Based Mental Health. Students are high needs with 100% of our population receiving free and/or reduced lunch benefits. Many of my students reside in group homes or are in the foster care system.

Center based Exceptional Student Education students are a mixture of School Based Mental Health, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and students with multiple exceptionalities who are educated in the most restrictive public school environment possible. Federal guidelines under the Individual Disability Education Act require that exceptional students be taught in the least restrictive environment. ESE students in an ESE center based placement exhibit the highest levels of need, require a guardian to approve the placement each year as well as three levels of Multi-Tiered System of Support steps to be implemented prior to center based consideration. Even with very extreme issues, behaviors and volatility, only a small percentage of ESE students are served within an ESE Center. These students are placed into a center based setting due to their volatility, impulsivity, unique learning styles, needs, and behaviors.

Students tend to be low performers in the traditional schools. Low class ratio, behavior management, social skills training infused throughout the day and case management assist the students in showing gains.  


Budget Narrative

2 sets of 3 Micropipettes with different volumes (250.00)
2 stands for Micropippettes (60.00)
Tips for Micropipettes (40.00 + 20.00)
Gloves for science lab activities (20.00)
Polystyrene wells for Micropipetting (90.00)
Plastic beakers (25.00)
Safety glasses (15.00)

The Micropipettes will be used for measuring various volumes of liquids. The Micropipettes come in a set of 3 which are various volumes. 2 sets will be ordered.

The tips are needed to work in conjunction with the Micropipettes. Two different sizes are needed to work in conjunction with the various size Micropipettes.

Linear stand is necessary to keep Micropipette from coming into contact with contaminants on counters areas. Vertical storage of Micropipettes is optimal.

Polystyrene wells are needed to work in conjunction with Micropipettes for measurement and observation of samples.

Plastic beakers are to be used for liquids prior to measurement in Micropipettes.

Gloves and safety glasses are necessary for safety protocols in lab experiments.




# Item Cost
1 MicroPipette Kit: 3 TopPette Scientific Pipettors (0.5-10ul; 10-100ul; 100-1000ul) $250.00
2 Laboratory Clear Blue Plastic Fine Tip Pipette Tips 1000ul 1ml 500 Pcs $40.00
3 Uxcell Laboratory Clear White 10UL Lab Liquid Pipette Pipettor Tips 1000 Pcs $20.00
4 Linear Micropipette/Pipettor Stand and Rack $60.00
5 Nest Scientific 748011 Polystyrene 48 Well Cell Culture Plate, Flat Bottom $90.00
6 500mL Plastic Beaker; 10ml Graduations; Premium Polypropylene, Pack of 12 $25.00
7 BISON LIFE Safety Glasses $15.00
8 MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves $20.00
  Total: $520.00


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