Outlook

Sen. Franken visits Science Express

Monday, May 9, 2011

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, left, visits with Bruce Jacobson

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, left, visits with Bruce Jacobson, the university’s director of bioscience outreach.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, left, visits with Bruce Jacobson Sen. Al Franken is Talahi Elementary School second-grader Omar Abdulahi Second graders 

It was a big day for St. Cloud State's Science Express on Jan. 18 when U.S. Sen. Al Franken visited the mobile laboratory. Franken not only visited, he role-played the part of a burglary suspect much to the delight of those in attendance.

Franken joined second-graders from Talahi Elementary on the Science Express, the university's mobile laboratory for science education outreach. The lab activity, led by Science Express teacher Susan Bialka '10, called for the second-graders to compare soil samples from four suspects with a sample gathered at a mock crime scene. Using microscopes, students determined that soil taken from Franken matched the crime scene sample.

The former television writer, actor and comedian, who achieved fame on the sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live," played his part to the hilt, confessing and offering his wrists to be handcuffed.

Franken serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The Science Express has been bringing hands-on, high-tech, inquiry learning to outstate Minnesota school districts since 2009. University officials created the Science Express to bridge the gap between what professional scientists use and what is available in rural and small-town classrooms.

The 52-foot laboratory on wheels is a retrofitted Medtronic training trailer. Nearly 12,000 students from 29 schools combined for nearly 14,000 visits during 2009-10. In 2010- 11 the Science Express will visit 33 schools and anticipates serving more than 16,000 students.

{ Web Extra }
View a photo slide show of Sen. Franklin's visit

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