Science Express gets rolling
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The Science Express, a laboratory on wheels launched by St. Cloud State, will bring hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students throughout Central Minnesota.
Kicking off a series of one-week visits to area schools, the mobile lab will be at Sauk Rapids Rice Middle School Sept. 21-25. The middle school is hosting an open house and the public is invited to see the roving lab, 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23.
The equipment and experiments offered by the mobile lab are designed to attract young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. With the mobile laboratory, local educators will be able to cover such topics as Lyme disease, oil spill remediation using oil-eating bacteria, DNA profiling, cardiac physiology and laser optics.
Science Express is intended to enhance the science curriculum of schools that don’t have the equipment or infrastructure to provide such training. The trailer brings to each school a state-of-the-art laboratory, meeting space and a fully integrated audio/video system with VHS/DVD, wireless network, satellite Internet and two 42-inch plasma television screens.
Among the 10-12 schools the Science Express will visit during fall semester are Independence Elementary in Big Lake, Salk Middle School in Elk River and Yellow Medicine East High School in Granite Falls.
The project was given a $50,000 kick start with a donation from the Morgan Family Foundation, Yellow Springs, Ohio. A K-12 outreach grant of $200,000 from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Bioscience Initiative; participation by the Anoka-Ramsey, St. Cloud, Ridgewater and Minneapolis community and technical colleges; and private donations are supporting the effort.
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.
For more information about the Science Express contact Bruce Jacobson, associate professor of biology and director of biobusiness outreach for St. Cloud State at email@example.com.