The Ball High School STEM & Biomed Fund was created in 2018 to support a growing community effort behind establishing and sustaining a cell culture lab and synthetic cadaver lab at Ball High School. Generous support from the Moody Permanent Endowment Fund will make these labs a reality for students beginning in the fall of 2019. GISD and GEF are partnering to raise the funds necessary to sustain both of these labs.

The objectives for both labs are directly correlated to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for biology. The TEKS specifically state students will conduct laboratory and field investigations, use scientific methods during investigations, and make informed decisions using critical thinking and scientific problem solving. Specifically, students will study 1) the structures and functions of cells and viruses; 2) growth and development of organisms, cells, tissues, and organs; 3) and living systems.

Cell Culture Lab

The cell culture lab will capture students’ imagination and bolster scientific creativity by growing living, metabolizing reproducing cells. It will not only consolidate the concepts of ‘cell’ and ‘cellular functions’, which were formerly demonstrated in the classroom as abstract or theoretical, but will allow hands-on practice and understanding. The lab will challenge students for higher-level thinking and scientific inquiry. By working with the cell cultures, it will promote critical thinking skills through student-designed experiments using cultured cells and working in groups requiring students understand shared responsibility in maintaining the cell culture lab.

The cell culuture lab will allow students to…

  • Explore the growth of cells derived from plants or animals and grow cells under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment
  • Learn how to maintain aseptic conditions in order to grow cells in culture without contamination
  • Understand bacterial and fungal contamination of cell cultures and how to prevent them
  • Practice advanced techniques like cell culture, micro pipetting, cell assays for viability, and protein expression

Synthetic Cadaver lab

The SynDaver Anatomy Model is an education-grade synthetic human cadaver complete with all bones, joints, muscles, organs and tendons in normal human anatomy, and it is made from materials that mimic the mechanical, thermal, and physiochemical properties of live tissue. Major nervous system and vascular components are also included. This synthetic cadaver will allow students to become familiar with the look and feel of a live human body without specialized facilities, risk of exposure to biohazards, or compromising a live patient. The synthetic cadaver lab will provide high-impact learning experiences for our students that will translate into demonstrable clinical and research knowledge, skills, and abilities.

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