PCR workshop

Session Summary

Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR as it is commonly known, is a technique used in molecular biology to amplify sequences of DNA. In this workshop, students will use their own cheek cells as the DNA source and carry out their own PCR reaction.

At a glance

Cost:  £220

Duration: 5 Hours

Subject: Science

Level: KS4/5

Numbers: 20 max.

Adults: One adult per 15 students

To see this PCR session in action, check out our video

“Really useful session that links to the OCR specification and allows students to do the practicals that we cannot do in school” – Teacher comment

“Our demonstrator was very knowledgeable and delivered an excellent session” – Teacher comment

 Session Outcomes

Pupils will:

  • Use centrifuges to separate cells from a liquid suspension.
  • Use experimental design skills.
  • Learn to  accurately measure small volumes of liquid using a micropipette.
  • Amplify DNA by means of PCR using primers, DNA polymerase, DNA template, a source of chemical bases and a thermo-cycling PCR machine.
  • Use a micropipette to load DNA into an agarose gel and separate DNA samples using the process of gel electrophoresis.
  • Learn to stain DNA specifically within the gel and visualise DNA samples.
  • Predict and interpret the pattern of DNA fragments on a gel, following gel electrophoresis.
  • Appreciate the importance of accuracy and reliability in experimental science, including the need for experimental controls.
  • Understand the applications and implications of PCR in the real world.
  • Be encouraged to ask questions about university life and careers in science.

National Curriculum Links for KS5

Links to the Science Curriculum
  • Understanding how to use a wide range of experimental and practical
    instruments, equipment and techniques relating to DNA.
  • Separating biological compounds using electrophoresis.
  • Making predictions based on evidence.
  • Understanding and evaluating experimental design.
Links to Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development
  • Enabling students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Enabling students to acquire a broad general knowledge of and respect for public
    institutions and services in England.

Gallery Time

During this workshop students will visit our Live Animals gallery.

If you are planning to spend time exploring other galleries at the Museum after your session please tell us this when you complete our “Make a Booking” form, below.

Make a Booking

If you are unsure whether this session would be suitable for your group, please speak with our bookings coordinator on 0161 275 2630 or email school.bookings@manchester.ac.uk


Risk Assessment Form

Lab Session Risk Assessment Form