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DNA Learning Lab Programmes

 

Welcome to the DNA Learning Laboratory!

Students and public can now engage in unraveling the secrets of life at the DNA Learning Lab at Science Centre Singapore. This facility allows students (primary to pre-university levels) and public to keep pace with the DNA revolution and advances in the life sciences. So come along, learn and enjoy the experience!

 

    

 

Workshop fees indicated are for school bookings only 

We are increasing our workshop costs in 2015 to cover the increase in overhead cost and GST. 

  • Click here to download the PDF version of the 2015 DNA Lab Programmes Booklet (7 MB).
  • For enquiries, please contact dnalab@science.edu.sg
     
  • Bookings by Singapore-based MOE schools:
    Genetic Engineering and Tracing the Origins of Life – please email dnalab@science.edu.sg
    For all other classes, schools can book online at https://obs.science.edu.sg/login  
  • Private school, Overseas school and Corporate group bookings
    The listed course fees apply only to local MOE schools. Private schools, Overseas schools and all Corporate groups (including locally based corporate groups) can contact Marketing to place their bookings. Kindly note that an additional charge applies per pax on top of the listed course fees, as well as admission rates.

More about the DNA Learning Lab

DNA Programmes Offered in 2015 

  Title Type Levels
  DNA: Cracking the Code of Life 
Bioethics (Discussion + Exhibition) 
Bacteria Outbreak!
Diversity of Cells
DNA Basics
DNA Detectives
Genes and Our Traits
Bacteria and Health
DNA and Life
DNA in Forensic Science 
Enzymes
Finding the Lost Princess - A Forensic Approach 
Life in Micro - NEW!
Genetic Diseases - REVISED
The Brain Connection - NEW!
Amazing Enzymes
Bacteria Transformation 
Tracing the Origins of Life
Forensic Analysis DNA Profiling - REVISED
Genetic Engineering: Recombinant DNA Cloning - New Addition of 1-day option
PTC - The 'Bitter' Life of Super-Tasters
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DNA: Cracking the Code of Life
Description Our DNA is a very long molecule which contains important information for all living things. How is this information decoded to give rise to our various traits? Or, how does a seemingly tiny change in DNA results in significant life-changing impacts? Mysterious isn’t it? Well, join us for this fun-filled lecture demo with games and activities to unravel the DNA code! 
Objectives 1. Understand the relationship between cells, chromosomes, DNA, genes and proteins.
2. Learn about the structure of DNA and its importance.
3. Learn how information in DNA is decoded to give rise to various traits through the process of transcription and translation.
4. Understand more about mutations and how they can affect life.
Mode of Delivery Lecture Demonstration
Target Audience Secondary 3 to Secondary 4/5 (Intermediate)
Group size 40 minimum, 80 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee Free (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Bioethics (Discussion + Exhibition)
Description If you can earn $5000 by selling your organ, or by donating your egg or sperms, will you do it? If you realise that live specimens are required to find a cure for cancer, would you sacrifice your pet? The donation of organs to save lives has been made possible with technological advances and many drugs in the market have been deemed safe through animal experimentation; but to what extent will this be considered ethical?

Choose from one of the following topics to understand the impact of scientific and technological advances on our lives.

Option A. Organ Transplantation
Option B. Stem Cell Treatment and Clinical Trials
Option C. Genetic Testing

Objectives 1. Analyse real life cases where ethical decisions are required.
2. Understand what informed and thoughtful choices are in making ethical decisions.
3. Demonstrate respect dialogue towards people with diverse views.
4. Demonstrate critical-reasoning skills.
5. Increase ability in science understanding.
Mode of Delivery Discussion, tour of bioethics exhibition with trail booklet given, addressing some of the ethical issues.
Target Audience  Secondary 1 to Pre-U
(Content will be adjusted according to the level of the students)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2.5 hours
Time: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee  Free (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members).

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Bacteria Outbreak!
Description An outbreak has occurred and patients have been sent to the hospital with nausea and diarrhoea. Join us as we take on the role of an epidemiologist to identify the cause of the outbreak and the source. Can we stop the spread of the outbreak?
Objectives 1. Understand what outbreaks are and what can cause an outbreak.
2. Learn the basic steps taken to investigate a case of outbreak and understand the need to prevent an outbreak.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Learn the basic technique of culturing bacteria.
5. Identify the basic shapes of bacteria.
Mode of Delivery  Practical lab session
Target Audience  Primary 5 & Primary 6
Group size  20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Diversity of Cells
Description Earth is an amazing place with a whole variety of life forms and cells are the building blocks of these living things. Do you know that while a bacterium is made up of only one cell, a human being is made up of trillions of cells!  Cells are so tiny that about 5000 of them can fit onto the head of a pin and each cell cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, in this lesson we will explore and observe these amazing cells through a microscope and appreciate their significance.
Objectives 1. Understand what cells are and that there is a diversity of cells on earth.
2. Learn about classification of living things.
3. Identify different parts of the compound microscope and know their functions.
4. Prepare sample slides using simple staining methods and view them under the microscope.
5. Understand the application of using microscope to identify microorganisms or cells.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience  Primary 5 & Primary 6
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time: 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee  $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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DNA Basics
Description Ever seen how DNA looks like? Why is DNA so important? Be a DNA scientist for the day and join us in this introductory lesson and learn about the basics of DNA. See what DNA looks like in real life and make a 3-D DNA model to bring home!
Objectives 1. Understand the role of DNA in our lives.
2. Learn about the DNA structure and make a DNA model.
3. Conduct a simple DNA extraction from bacteria cells independently.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Primary 5 & Primary 6
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee: $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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DNA Detectives 
Description A crime has occurred and they have narrowed it down to a suspect. With the suspect behind bars, the community believed that all was now peaceful in their town. However, a similar crime has occurred again leaving behind a similar type of evidence. Could the crime have been done by a syndicate or did the police arrest the wrong person? Based on a true story, join us as we take on the role of forensic investigators to solve the case using various forensic tools.
Objectives 1. Learn about different types of forensic techniques used.
2. Learn about the structure of DNA and its importance.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Understand how DNA is analysed through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
5. Learn how to interpret DNA analysis results and identify the possible criminal.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience  Primary 5 & Primary 6
Group size  20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Genes and Our Traits
Description Have you ever wondered why you look like your parents? Eye colour, gender and free or attached earlobes are examples of physical traits that are determined by our genes. How is it possible that one sibling has brown eyes, while the other sibling has blue eyes? To find out about this and more, join us as we observe our physical traits and learn how we inherit them from our parents!
Objectives 1. Understand what physical traits are and how to identify them.
2. Understand the diversity of genetic traits and that every individual has different DNA makeup.
3. Conduct a simple DNA extraction from wheat germ independently.
4. Learn about the sex chromosomes and how it determines the gender of a baby.
5. Understand that some traits are determined by a pair of genes.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Primary 5 & Primary 6
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Bacteria and Health
Description Two patients at a clinic had food poisoning from bacteria. However, they are unsure of the type of bacteria that cause them to be ill and the type of treatment that is available. Join us as medical investigators to help these patients and find a suitable treatment for them. 
Objectives 1. Understand how bacteria can affect our lives in both positive and negative ways.
2. Identification of bacteria through its shapes and arrangements.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Learn how to grow bacteria via plating.
5. Learn about antibiotics, how they came about and how antibiotic resistance affects our lives.
6. Conduct a simple antibiotic resistance test and observe the results.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 1 to Secondary 2 (Beginner)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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DNA and Life
Description DNA is often described as the most important molecule of life which determines how livings things look like and how they function.  Ever wanted to see this extraordinary molecule? Join us in this lesson to see what DNA looks like in real life without a microscope. Help us in an interesting case study to determine the baby’s biological parents and solve a major family confusion!
Objectives 1. Learn the structure of DNA and its importance.
2. Conduct a simple DNA extraction from bacteria cells independently.
3. Learn the basics of blood typing and how DNA determines blood type of individuals.
4. Perform simple karyotyping, blood typing and DNA analysis to solve a case study.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 1 & Secondary 2 (Beginner)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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DNA in Forensic Science
Description A trace is left in every crime scene but do they always lead to the right criminal? A double murder has been committed and a prime suspect has been identified. However, was he the one who committed the murders? Join us in this exciting roller coaster journey to uncover the truth of a real life story and learn how contradicting evidence can complicate a crime.  
Objectives 1. Learn about different types of forensic techniques used.
2. Learn about the structure of DNA and its importance.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Understand how DNA is analysed through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
5. Learn how to interpret DNA analysis results and identify the possible criminal.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 1 to Secondary 2 (Beginner)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Enzymes
Description Have you ever eaten dairy products and suffered from stomach upset after that? What causes this to happen? One may have known the importance of enzymes in our digestive system but apart from that, enzymes are also critical in other body functions. Join us as we explore how these tiny workers can be used in food production through a series of experiments.
Objectives 1. Understand the mechanism of action for enzymes.
2. Learn the role of enzymes in everyday life.
3. Investigate the effects of temperature on enzyme activity.
4. Conduct experiments to discover the uses of lactase and rennase.
5. Know that certain diseases may occur due to lack of enzymes.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 1 to Secondary 2 (Beginner)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration  2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Finding the Lost Princess - A Forensic Approach 
Description Princess Anastasia was the youngest daughter of the last imperial family of Russia. When her family was killed by the Red Army firing squad, many thought that she had escaped and became the last surviving member of the Romanov family. The appearance of Anna Anderson, a woman with an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia, strengthened the belief that she had survived. Was Anna Anderson telling the truth when she claimed to be Princess Anastasia? How is it that a genetic disease could have indirectly contributed to the downfall of the Romanov legacy? In a captivating class that combines modern world history and forensic analysis, join us to learn the fate of Princess Anastasia and how the haemophilia gene became prominent in the European royal family.  
1. Learn that haemophilia is a sex-linked recessive genetic disorder and how it is inherited in a family.
2. Learn that DNA is inherited from parents and how it can be used to trace a person’s lineage.
3. Understand how science is interconnected to other disciplines of study.
4. Identify the difference between subjective and objective evidence.
5. Learn micropipetting techniques.
6. Understand how DNA is analysed through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
Mode of Delivery  Practical lab session
Target Audience  Secondary 3, 4/5 (Intermediate)
Group size  20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 3 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $9.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Life in Micro - NEW!
Description A drop of water may look clear but is there microorganisms living within? Some organisms are so tiny that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, but that does not mean they do not exist. Through more advance microscopy techniques, come observe microscopic aquatic life in a single hanging drop of water, bacteria under oil immersion and different stages of cell division of a plant. Come explore the microscopic world in a fun and enriching way!
Objectives 1. Revision of microscopy techniques.
2. Learn more advance microscopy techniques such as hanging drop method and oil immersion.
3. Understand cell division (mitosis).
4. View pond organisms and bacteria specimens.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 3, 4/5 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Genetic Diseases - REVISED!
Description Thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder, is the most common inherited single-gene disorder in the world. How can we predict the probability that an unborn child would have a genetic disease? Why is thalassaemia so prevalent in Southeast Asia? To know these answers and more, join us in this activity-filled lesson to learn about genetic inheritance.
Objectives 1. Understand what are genetic diseases and examples of genetic diseases.
2. Define genes, alleles, genotype.
3. Learn how to predict results of simple crosses using a genetic diagram.
4. Learn micropipetting techniques.
5. Understand how DNA is analysed through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
6. Understand how natural selection works using sickle cell anaemia as an example.
Mode of Delivery  Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 3 to Secondary 4/5 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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The Brain Connection - NEW!
Description How is it possible that every action and thought in our human body is controlled by a small organ weighing about 1.5kg? Does the size matter in determining intelligence? Apparently not! The amount of connections in the brain is more critical and we have about 100 billion neurons in our brain that are essential for our memory, daily activities and more. Be amazed by how these connections contribute to the brain’s function and how damage to the network can create life-changing repercussions. 
Objectives 1. Learn different parts of the brain and their function.
2. Appreciate how the brain works.
3. Understand the role of neural connection in the brain.
4. Learn about disorders that are related to the brain.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session + Exhibition
Target Audience Secondary 3 to to Pre-U (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours (1.5 hours lessons + 0.5 hour exhibition)
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm 
Course Fee $7.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Amazing Enzymes - The Important Catalysts of Life
Description Enzymes are life’s work horses. They help the human body in food digestion, speeds up biochemical reactions and many other important processes. A new enzyme has just arrived in the lab and we need your help to determine its optimum working conditions. Through the use of a simple game and real time experiments, come and learn how certain factors can affect the rate of enzyme reaction.
Objectives 1. Learn about enzymes and their roles in everyday life.
2. Understand the different conditions that affect enzymatic reactions.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Use the spectrophotometer to do a quantitative enzyme assay analysis and understand enzyme kinetics.
Mode of Delivery  Practical lab session
Target Audience  Secondary 3 to Pre-U (Intermediate)
Group size  20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration  3 hours
Time  9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee  $13.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Bacteria Transformation
Description To help diabetic patients, human insulin has been mass produced by genetically engineered bacteria for many years. Genetic engineering may be controversial, yet it has its benefits. The thought of being able to genetically transform an organism is exciting yet intriguing at the same time. What exactly is genetic engineering? Come and immerse yourself in the magnificent world of genetic engineering and genetically transform bacteria to glow green (fluoresce)!
Objectives 1. Learn the general structure of bacteria and the importance of plasmid.
2. Learn micropipetting techniques.
3. Conduct a bacteria transformation experiment using the heat shock method.
4. Understand more about the GFP protein and its uses.
5. Understand other types of genetic transformation.
6. Grow bacteria via plating and observe the results.
7. Learn the sterile techniques required when working with bacteria.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session
Target Audience Secondary 3, 4/5 to Pre-U - Intermediate
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 2 hours
Time 9.30am or 2.30pm
Course Fee $9.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)

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Tracing the Origins of Life 
Description There is a rich biodiversity of plants and animals in our environment but do we know all the plants and animals around us? Could there be a new species of plant growing in our backyard that we have yet to identify? Just as the unique pattern of bars in a universal product code is used to identify a product in the supermarket, a ‘DNA barcode’ is a unique pattern of DNA sequence that identifies each living thing. Join us in this investigative journey to explore and catalogue the biodiversity around us through DNA barcoding.  
 
This workshop will only be available on Saturdays and two Saturdays will be required. 
Objectives 1. Learn micropipetting techniques.
2. Identify and catalogue plants using DNA extraction and purification, polymerase chain reaction, agarose gel electrophoresis and DNA sequencing.
3. Analyse DNA sequences using bioinformatics.
4. Identify species and phylogenetic relationships.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session and bioinformatics
Target Audience Pre-U 1 to Pre-U 2 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 1.5 days
Time Day 1: 9.30am – 5.30pm (inclusive of lunch break, food not provided);
Day 2: 9.30am - 11.30am  
Course Fee $54.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies per day to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Forensic Analysis DNA Profiling - REVISED
Description DNA profiling is currently considered the gold standard in forensic science and has been highly popularised by crime related programmes on the media. Although the current state of the art DNA profiling uses 13 to 16 short tandem repeat (STR) loci in a multiplex PCR format, this experiment pursues the amplification of a single variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) locus, D1S80. Come and experience the work of a forensic scientist in analysing DNA profiles and learn techniques used in forensic science.  
Objectives 1. Understand the importance of DNA as evidence of a crime.
2. Learn the application of STR and VNTR in DNA profiling.
3. Learn micropipetting techniques.
4. Perform DNA extraction from cheek cells^ and polymerase chain reaction to amplify DNA.
5. Cast agarose gel and analyse DNA through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
6. Learn how to collect fingerprint evidence using actual forensic fingerprint dusting tools.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session 
Target Audience Pre-U 1 to Pre-U 2 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 4.5 hours (full day workshop)
Time 9.30am – 11.30am and 12.30pm – 3.00pm
(including lunch break – food not provided)
Course Fee $22.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Genetic Engineering: Recombinant DNA Cloning - New addition of 1-day option!
Description The term clone is derived from a Greek word referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig. Nowadays it’s amazing that almost all living things can be cloned. DNA cloning is a fundamental technique used in various applications such as producing genetically modified food, genetic treatments and in the production of medicines. In this comprehensive lesson, come experience the entire recombinant DNA cloning procedure and understand the purpose of each step.
Objectives 1. Define genetic engineering & recombinant DNA cloning.
2. Learn micropipetting techniques.
3. Perform an experiment on recombinant DNA cloning including digestion of DNA with restriction enzyme, ligation of DNA insert with plasmid, DNA purification, bacteria transformation, blue/white screening, agarose gel electrophoresis# and polymerase chain reaction#.
4. Learn more about other DNA transfer techniques and the applications of genetic engineering.

# Only covered during the two-day workshop (Option A).
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session 
Target Audience Pre-U 1 to Pre-U 2 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration Option A: Two-day workshop. Covers PCR, restriction enzyme digest, ligation, DNA purification, bacteria transformation, agarose gel electrophoresis and blue/white screening.

Option B: One-day workshop. Covers all the techniques mentioned above except agarose gel electrophoresis and PCR.
Time 9.30am – 5pm  
(Two-day workshop includes lunch break – food not provided)
Course Fee $54.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies per day to Non-Institutional School Members)
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PTC - The 'Bitter' Life of Super-Tasters
Description Are your friends frustrated with you for being a fussy eater? Maybe it is because you are a super-taster! Find out how a single gene in our DNA can affect the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), a harmless bitter tasting chemical and how it may also affect our sensitiveness to other bitter compounds! Join us in this ultimate self-discovery hands-on workshop to find out who among us have this PTC taste receptor gene.
Objectives 1. Learn micropipetting techniques.
2. Perform DNA extraction from cheek cells^ and polymerase chain reaction to amplify DNA.
3. Digest DNA with restriction enzyme.
4. Cast agarose gel and analyse DNA through a technique known as agarose gel electrophoresis.
5. Analyse DNA sequences using Bioinformatics tools.
Mode of Delivery Practical lab session 
Target Audience Pre-U 1 to Pre-U 2 (Intermediate)
Group size 20 minimum, 40 maximum
Duration 4.5 hours (full day workshop)
Time 9.30am – 11.30am and 12.30pm – 3.00pm
(Full day workshop includes lunch break – food not provided)
Course Fee $22.00 (Admission fee to Science Centre applies to Non-Institutional School Members)
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Beginner – This is suitable for students without  prior knowledge of the subject
Intermediate – Some prior knowledge of the subject is required to better appreciate the content.