Microbiology class rainy day field trip

The Microbiology and Biotechnology class takes a field trip to Minnesota Valley Testing Labs
Minnesota Valley Testing Lab buildings one and two
Minnesota Valley Testing Lab buildings one and two

On April 16, the Microbiology and Biotechnology class toured Minnesota Valley Testing Labs in New Ulm. The class got to see each of the different testing labs and the purpose of each lab. They walked through the soil lab, organic and inorganic labs, feeding lab, and water testing area. They could not walk through the microbiology lab due to the amount of pathogens the lab contained that were being tested at the time. “I like that we got to see the employees working in each lab,” Senior April Rose said.

The class got to experience what it was like to work in a lab. They saw the tasks the employees would do. They also saw tools, machines, and test samples being used. The students got to see similar tools that they used in class in the lab. “They were doing similar serial dilutions in the lab that we did in class,” Microbiology and Biotechnology teacher Mrs. Brock said.

The class met by the front door of the school before leaving for the lab. They all had to run to the bus in the pouring rain. By the time the class got to the lab, they only had about 45 minutes to walk through the labs. They got to view every lab but not in much detail. The majority of the class found it difficult to remember the name of each lab, what tasks they did, what each lab tested for, and the different tools that they saw.

The class had a two-paragraph summary and reflection paper they had to write after the field trip. They had some class time the next two days while working on the next lab. The students could ask Mrs. Brock about the names of the machines they saw and about the different labs. They enjoyed talking and learning more about the differences between the classroom lab and the testing labs. “Even I got to see some new machines, tools, and techniques that were not there when I worked in the microbiology lab,” Mrs. Brock said.

While working on the writing assignment, the students talked about which lab area and position they would want to work in if they would ever want to be employed at a testing lab. Abby Rathmann and Hannah Davey interned in the soil lab at the end of spring and during the summer. This year would be their second summer interning there. “I would want to work in the organic and inorganic lab so I can make nutrition labels for foods,” Senior April Rose said.

The day after the field trip, the class discussed the different types of pathogens the lab sees and what lab area would typically test for that pathogen. They connected the tasks and bacteria the students were familiar with in class to what they saw in the different labs. They discussed the bacteria that they tested and the bacteria that the lab tested or did not test. They also learned more about the microbiology lab from the employee giving the tour, even though the class was not allowed to walk through the lab.

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