Lifescan, the largest employer in Inverness, and part of the Johnson & Johnson Group, visited Charleston Academy this week.
The visit from LifeScan was related to the coursework in National 4/5 on genetic engineering focussing on how micro-organisms can be used to produce useful products. One of these products is the human hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. If your body has a problem producing or using insulin, this leads to a condition known as Diabetes Mellitus. LifeScan are an international company who produce, amongst other things, testing equipment for diabetes. This includes blood testing strips, which are manafactured at their facility in Inverness.
The staff from LifeScan took time to explain and discuss issues relating to diabetes to S3 pupils and the work that LifeScan did to assist people in monitoring and controlling their diabetes. The pupils were then given an opportunity to try two experiments. The first involved testing the enzyme which is used on the testing strips. Pupils were able to see that the enzyme reacts very rapidly with glucose, but not with other sugars. The second experiment invloved preparing a few testing strips, and attaching the different layers of the strips together. To check if they worked, a “blood” sample was put onto the strips and inserted into a testing machine. Needless to say, some worked and some didn’t……
This was an important opportunity for our pupils to understand and reflect on the important correlation with what they are learning in class with an issue affecting many people in Scotland and how a large company like LifeScan provides employment and career opportunities for people living in Inverness. It was very nice to hear LifeScan staff praise the behaviour, attitude and interest of all the S3 pupils who took part. They were particularly complimentary about the number of pupils who demonstrated their real interest in this area and who asked the most challenging questions! Pupils really enjoyed the lesson with one comment at the end summing up the experience: “Why can’t we do cool stuff like this every day in Biology?”
Thanks to Biology teacher Mrs Val MacRae who arranged and organised the visit for S3.
Mr MacLeod, Biology