V. C. Sonawane
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, India
Learning by ‘making things ‘is highly encouraged as students can take multiple decisions regarding material, size, proportions, control during experimentation. Making which engages them with doing science. With this idea, we took up the challenge to make an incubator from scratch as a learning experience in the Integrated Laboratory.
Incubator is a device used to grow and maintain microbiological cultures or cell cultures. It basically maintains optimal temperature, humidity and proportion of CO2 & O2 in an enclosed area like the atmosphere. Incubators are essential for a lot of experimental work in cell biology, microbiology and molecular biology. An incubator for hatching hen or quail eggs has more demand since it has commercial value. As chicken eggs are readily available and are the biggest single cell available for us to study embryos in the laboratory, we decided to build it. Chicken egg is a eukaryotic organism whose cells, unlike prokaryotes, have a nucleus enclosed within a membrane. We decided to study it, partly to make this unit a part of Makers Lab. Idea struck us that we would design and fabricate a portable incubator. Four eggs were kept for hatching but only two hatched. During the entire 21 days, we learnt many things. In this workshop interesting facts related to incubators as hardware and the study of embryos will be discussed in brief.