5 Creative Ways to Teach Pipetting that Help Students Understand

Akanksha Saxena

When it comes to introducing students to the daily laboratory handling practices, one technique that stands out as a foundational skill is “pipetting”. Pipetting serves as the cornerstone of many scientific experiments as it allows researchers to precisely measure and transfer liquids in a laboratory setting.

From preparing solutions, creating dilutions, transferring reagents to dispensing samples for analysis, pipettes allow us to measure small microliter volumes or larger milliliter quantities with the precision that ensures the reproducibility and accuracy of our experiments.

Educators are often challenged when introducing this lab technique to students for the first time. As this skill is honed over time and practice, there is a catch to it. Only by taking care of small lessons, can we make this topic indulging for students. So, we present 5 such innovative ways to do so!

1. Use Interactive Models and Simulations

When it comes to teaching practical lab handling techniques like pipetting in classes, student engagement to the maximum possible extent is vital for effective learning. 

Virtual simulations can help you in replicating real-life lab pipetting scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. These simulated environments possess a range of intrinsic benefits. Students can observe the different parts of micropipettes, and their functions, and learn how to handle them effectively. They can also practice adjusting the volume on different pipette models, master the usage of the plunger’s two stops, and select the appropriate pipette based on the desired volume range. Since this is a virtual simulated world, students don’t have to fear making any mistakes as they can repeat, refine and learn to achieve proficiency which eventually promotes a deeper understanding of the pipetting process.

2. Learning with Games and Activities

Studies have shown that through the utilization of gamification tools, educators can transform the way they deliver points in class, here is about pipetting. (1, 2) Games can serve as effective instructional strategies to teach the intricacies of pipetting techniques. 

You can plan to use virtual games where students are given different volumes of chemicals to pipette in a stipulated timeframe. This race will encourage developing precision as well as speed to handle multiple pipettes at a time. It will also reinforce their concept of adjusting the volume on different pipette models. Labster provides such a Pipetting Game where students can learn all of this in a single activity.

3. Infusing Technology into Study Plans

By incorporating various technological resources and interventions, educators can enhance students’ practical skills and conceptual knowledge of pipetting. We suggest some practical ways to do that in your next class.

  • The use of visual aids as in Labster’s Virtual Labs can help in facilitating better comprehension of this technique. As students gain firsthand lab experience, they will get proficient in how to quickly practice unit conversions and apply that to the selection of micropipettes. They will also understand the importance of a well-calibrated pipette.
  • The use of collaborative platforms can also be beneficial as students can engage in group discussions, share resources, and collaborate across the globe. A brilliant platform that answers all such pipetting-related questions in ResearchGate which encourages peer-to-peer learning and provides amazing opportunities for students to exchange tips and tricks of pipetting.  
Discover Labster's Pipetting virtual lab!

4. Inspiring Learners by Connecting to Career Prospects

Inspiring your students by quoting the future prospective career paths related to a topic can work magic while teaching. We recommend that you prioritize motivating your students through examples of scientists, researchers, and prolific biotech R&Ds that are continuously working to bring to the limelight many important biological insights through their continuous efforts in labs where one of the most basic yet important lab skills is pipetting!

5. Connecting the Topic to Real-World Applications

By demonstrating the practical relevance of this topic, educators can enhance students’ proficiency in handling a micropipette. You can talk in-depth about how a micropipette allows researchers to conduct micro-scale experiments with precision and why such experiments are important for the advancement of medical and biotechnology fields. 

Labster’s Pipetting Virtual Lab simplifies the science of pipetting by incorporating a real-life scenario that revolves around a fictional company LabsterFood. As students virtually engage in a hands-on experiment to determine the protein content of a corn cob, they learn while being immersed in the simulation. With continued guidance on selecting the appropriate pipette for different volume ranges and valuable tips and tricks, students get to enhance their accuracy in pipetting.

Final thoughts

Educating our students about the proper usage of lab equipment is of paramount importance. Pipetting being one of them requires time to be perfected. This is why we suggest educators use Labster’s Pipetting Selection Simulation and Pipetting Mastering Simulation to start them early. With newer ways of teaching, we can prepare them better for the goals of the future!

  1. Göksün, D. O., & Gürsoy, G. (2019). Comparing success and engagement in gamified learning experiences via Kahoot and Quizizz. Computers & Education, 135, 15-29.
  2. Kalogiannakis, M., Papadakis, S., & Zourmpakis, A. I. (2021). Gamification in science education. A systematic review of the literature. Education Sciences, 11(1), 22.
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