College of Science and Engineering
Science Express rolls again
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The Science Express is a mobile lab that brings hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students at schools throughout Central Minnesota.
The Science Express is headed back on the road for a second year of providing hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students at schools throughout Central Minnesota.
The state-of-the-art mobile laboratory begins a series of one-week visits to area schools with a Sept. 20-24 stay at St. Joseph Elementary School in Waite Park.
The Science Express launched in the fall of 2009 with the support from the public and private sector including a $50,000 donation from the Morgan Family Foundation, Yellow Springs, Ohio and a K-12 outreach grant of $200,000 from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Bioscience Initiative.
The semi trailer donated by Medtronic, Minneapolis-based global leader in medical technology, was retrofitted with the help of Innovative Laboratory Systems, Rockford, Minn., which provided laboratory casework; 3M, which provided the wrap material; and Everything Signs, Holdingford, Minn., which produced the attention-getting exterior graphics.
The schedule for 2010-11 is booked with more than 20 campuses to be visited. Some of the schools that will experience the Science Express this year are New London Spicer Schools, Melrose High School and Sebeka High School.
New equipment and experiments have been added to engage students and illustrate how science, technology, engineering and math impact their lives. With the mobile laboratory, local educators will be able to cover such topics as disease diagnosis, microscopy, evaluating the effectiveness of sunscreen, DNA profiling, cardiac physiology and laser optics.
Highlights from the inaugural year include:
- More than 30 teachers trained during summer workshops.
- Science Express visited 24 locations and served 29 schools.
- The Science Express served nearly 12,000 students who combined for nearly 14,000 visits.
- 150 teachers were introduced to new approaches to science education through Science Express visits to their schools.
- Through open houses and community events an additional 950 children and adults experienced hands-on science.
- We learned that academically challenged students (both physical and emotional) love the hands-on environment provided by the Science Express whether they visited as part of a normal class, with a special education group or as individuals. One teacher specifically thanked us for the opportunity saying these students are often excluded from special activities.
- In Big Lake, students from a nearby elementary walked 1.5 miles roundtrip to experience the Science Express.
- In Becker, an art teacher brought students out twice to study the science of color.
- The mobile laboratory operated throughout the entire winter hosting classes, even when temperatures reached -25 at night and highs were well below zero.