Mini laboratory Vol 450: the students lead the investigation!

Scientific investigation and manipulations on DNA, this is what Vol 450 consists of, an educational activity of Génome Québec.

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Applying the steps of a scientific investigation process while performing manipulations on DNA, this is what Vol 450 consists of, an educational activity of Génome Québec.

Genome Quebec is an economic development organization whose vision is to put “genomics at the service of the citizen”. It is also an accelerator of discoveries in the fields of health, forestry, the environment and agrifood.

Although genomics is still little known to the general public, it is a growing sector and many jobs will need to be filled in the coming years. Génome Québec therefore wishes to arouse the interest of young people in genomics by offering them captivating learning activities while preparing them for the genomics revolution.

What is genomics?

“Genomics is the study of all the genetic material of a living being, whether it be a human, a plant, an animal and even a human being. virus. More precisely, genomics is the analysis of the genomes of organisms, both from the point of view of their anatomy (sequences and organization) and their physiology (expression and regulation). "(Source:

Genomics therefore affects the study of DNA, and who says DNA also means investigation!

Flight 450: a mini investigative laboratory

After two years of work, the Laval School Board developed the mini investigation laboratory Vol 450, with the collaboration of Génome Québec, Génome Québec Innovation Center and McGill University and some Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles School Board.

The project was born out of the desire to interest young people in the world of genomics and the various professions associated with it. A committee, made up of educational advisers and scientists, was set up to put together a practical experimentation laboratory based on a thrilling plot.

Our mini laboratory Vol 450, scientifically validated by Génome Québec, allows students of 3e and 4e secondary school, within the framework of the Science and Technology course, to apply the steps of a scientific investigation process while carrying out manipulations on DNA. A complete kit is provided to schools and includes all the materials needed to carry out the learning activities.

The scenario: identifying the victims of a plane crash

The learning activity consists of identifying five victims of a plane crash. To achieve this, the students put themselves in the shoes of trainees from the forensic medicine laboratory and follow the scientific investigation process. They do blood, urine and DNA tests. They also have to perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), replicate real fragments of human DNA, migrate the DNA by electrophoresis on an agarose gel and finally analyze the results.

The accompanying documents

The scenario, the plane of the plane, the list of victims and all the procedures can be found in the student notebook.

In addition, a teacher's guide and the technician in practical work explains in detail the pedagogical scenario and the progress of the activities while respecting the progression of learning. A PowerPoint presentation allows the teacher to present the material to the students. Génome Québec also offers technical support to schools that borrow the kit.

Our student site, meanwhile, includes videos and equipment information. Here is a video that shows students' interest in the activity:

Visit the site to watch several videos on different manipulations and learn how to centrifuge samples or use a thermal cycler.

In short, everything has been designed to facilitate the teacher's task and accompany him step by step in his teaching.

A great success

The success of this innovative educational project is undeniable, since by May 2017, more than 800 students will have been able to learn about the world of genomics.

Happy with this enthusiasm, Génome Québec intends to improve its offer and add new kits for the next school year. The organization is working hard to ensure the necessary funding for the pursuit of this activity and to promote it throughout Quebec. And that's not to mention that Génome Québec has other projects on the table to interest young people in the many professions related to genomics. To be continued.

For more information on booking the kit or for educational questions, see this page.


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About the Author

Josée Tardif
Josée Tardif
Josée is a reviser, translator and blogger. She holds a bachelor's degree in French studies, a master's degree in information science and a certificate in translation. She is interested in the world of books, education, family and social issues. She also contributes to the blog of the web magazine Planet F and has his own blog Life Etc.

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