Project-Based Learning in Education Through an Undergraduate Lab Exercise
Three undergraduate students functioned as teaching assistants in unit ops lab for their senior project, which included developing a purchased size exclusion chromatography experiment, supervising the running of this experiment, and assisting the junior students with their calculations. They also read the reports, graded them, and commented on them. As part of their final report, the student “teachers” reflected on their impressions of being “educators.” The lab exercise consisted of two parts: one where the students calibrated the peristaltic pump supplied with the unit, and one where the students injected a mixed sample into the chromatography column. The sample consisted of three compounds in solution—blue dextran, phenol red, and cytochrome c (colorless). From the results, peak heights, and elution times, a calibration curve for molecular weight was developed. The red and blue-colored species added a strong visual impact to the process.