Grades 6-8

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

Micropipette Challenge is an activity developed to introduce students to micropipettes, a commonly-used laboratory tool.

A micropipette is a very fine pipette tool for measuring, transferring, or injecting very small quantities of liquid. This tool has revolutionized the handling of small liquid volumes and is used across all fields of science, including, chemistry, biology, forensic science, pharmaceutics, etc. Micropipettes use a scale of measurement that is based on the metric system. The metric system is a system of measurement based on the powers of 10 and is also synonymous with the System of International Units, which is the most widely used system of measurement.

The Micropipette Challenge is a perfect introductory activity, allowing students to gain experience with the tools and techniques used in other Learning Undefeated labs. In this lab, students work with small amounts of liquid to create a visible spectrum. Students will also learn how to carefully read and follow a scientific protocol, as well as gain experience working with units in the metric system.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to

  • Understand how to properly use a micropipette
  • Read and follow a laboratory protocol
  • Unit conversion
  • Unit conversion from microliters to milliliters
Standards Alignments + Connections

Next Generation Science Standards Connections

Crosscutting Concept: Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

Science and Engineering Practice: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science Connections

BIOL.2F: collect and organize qualitative and quantitative data and make measurements with accuracy and precision using tools such as data-collecting probes, standard laboratory glassware, microscopes, various prepared slides, stereoscopes, metric rulers, balances, gel electrophoresis apparatuses, micropipettes, hand lenses, Celsius thermometers, hot plates, lab notebooks or journals, timing devices, Petri dishes, lab incubators, dissection equipment, meter sticks, and models, diagrams, or samples of biological specimens or structures

CHEM.2E: plan and implement investigative procedures, including asking questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting equipment and technology, including graphing calculators, computers and probes, electronic balances, an adequate supply of consumable chemicals, and sufficient scientific glassware such as beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks, pipettes, graduated cylinders, volumetric flasks, and burettes

E.2G: demonstrate the use of course apparatuses, equipment, techniques, and procedures, including meter sticks, rulers, pipettes, graduated cylinders, triple beam balances, timing devices, pH meters or probes, thermometers, calculators, computers, Internet access, turbidity testing devices, hand magnifiers, work and disposable gloves, compasses, first aid kits, binoculars, field guides, water quality test kits or probes, soil test kits or probes, 100-foot appraiser’s tapes, tarps, shovels, trowels, screens, buckets, and rock and mineral samples

Virginia Science Standards of Learning Connections

BIO.1B: planning and carrying out investigations

CH.1B: planning and carrying out investigations

PH.1B: planning and carrying out investigations

Activities to Gather Evidence

Pre-Laboratory Engagement

Students should have a general understanding of the metric system and the common metric units used for volumes. Use this worksheet as a review for the metric system and metric conversions: Micropipette Challenge Pre-Lab Activity

Pre-lab Questions

Students should be able to answer these questions before beginning the Micropipette Challenge

  • 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?

Laboratory Activity

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.

Post-Laboratory Extension

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:

Additional Resources