Zoom in on Life

Working together, the MRSEC and the Franklin Institute have produced the Zoom in on Life museum show, a 60 minute cart-based interactive on how the nanometer sized parts of our body function in order to make life possible. Activities in this kit focus on antibodies, DNA, molecular motors, cell membranes, and vision. We've distributed approximately 20 copies of this show to science museums nationwide.

Molecular Motors Procedure

While most of us did not know we have motors in our bodies, they certainly play an important role. They are vital to our cells dividing and help keep the cells in good working order by moving things inside of our cells. The molecular motors activity will demonstrate how materials inside cells are transported.

The goal of this demonstration is to enable visitors to learn about the transport of materials inside the cell.

Membranes Procedure

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, each of these cells is like a mini factory. In order to keep each factory in working order the cells needs a security guard to protect the factory. The security guard of a cell is its cell membrane. The cell membrane allows certain items into a cell and blocks others from entering, just like a security guard protects a real factory.

The goal of this demonstrate to show visitors that semipermeable membranes allow some materials to pass through but retain others.

DNA Procedure

DNA is a short notation for Deoxyribosenucleic Acid. DNA is located in all living things. It holds all the information about who we are. DNA knows how to makes copies of itself through a process called replication.

The goal of this demonstration is to help visitors learn about self-assembly by looking at DNA.

Powers of Ten Procedure

We look all around us at world, but what we don't know is there a whole other world that we can not see, it is called the Nanoworld. The nanoworld is made up of very very very very tiny things. In nanoworld when things are on the order of 100 nanometers or smaller. One nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter, that is really really small!!! What makes the nanoworld so special is that things on the nanoscale act different then then do in the larger world.

Molecular Switches Procedure

A molecular switch resembles an electronic switch we use to turn on and off lights. A molecular switch is a much, much smaller (nanoscale) "device" in which one biochemical partner controls the activity of another. Vision is one of many processes in your body controlled by a molecular switch.

Materials needed:

  • 3 Colored Lights (Blue, Green, & Red)
  • Vision Box
  • Poster Paper (white)
  • Dark Room preferably

The Demonstration:

Vision Box:

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