Summer was my favorite season during graduate school. We always had plenty of high school, undergraduate, medical, and graduate students rotating in the lab. For many, it was their first time in a laboratory environment and for others, its their first research experience outside of labs from their courses. Our laboratory performs many high throughout methods which use multichannel pipets and 96 and 384 well plates. These include multiplex ELISAs, PCRs, and drug screening assays. We require high accuracy pipetting to perform these techniques. Thus, we usually require any new individuals in the lab to pass a pipetting protocol before they proceed to their research projects. This is also good for undergraduate students for future labs they may join. The protocol gets students to add various amounts of water and methyl orange to a 96 well plate using both multi- and single channel pipettes. They measure the results using a plate reader and calculate their accuracy compared to expected values. We have had a lot of good experience using theis protocol and wanted to share it here.
For the next level challenge, we often assign students to perform the same protocol using sterile technique in a cell culture hood!