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April 23rd, 2019

Once again with the frog pee

Today's labs are supposed to be all about membrane transport across frog skin. Getting all the moving pieces set up has been a huge project. Ordeal. And then...we crashed and burned this morning.

I couldn't quite tell what the full cause was, but my instinct told me to just let the students go instead of making them fight with the instrumentation, so I did. So then there's always the worry that the decision was premature and we could have fixed things, and there went that learning opportunity.

But as I think it over, the thing is, we weren't detecting a sufficiently large charge difference or current across the frog membranes we're working with. I've now had time to revisit notes from trying this in Arizona, and that has confirmed my suspicion.

I'm still going to make the afternoon lab go through the whole setup process, as we will still learn a few things by doing so, and then we can test some other things out instead. But I'm going to have to run a few more tests before trying this lab again next year.

One of our biggest challenges this semester has been trying to adapt labs I did previously with bullfrogs, to much smaller spotted leopard frogs. I'd like to be able to keep using the spotted leopard frogs, but on the other hand we keep on being at the extreme low end of what our instrumentation can detect and measure.

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