Science Express hits the road
Saturday, September 26, 2009
A laboratory on wheels is on the road this month to bring handson experience in science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students in Central Minnesota schools. The Science Express will make one-week visits to 20-25 area schools during the year, including Independence Elementary in Big Lake, Salk Middle School in Elk River and Yellow Medicine East High School in Granite Falls.
The mobile lab is designed to attract young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and math and to enhance the science curriculum of schools that don’t have the equipment, infrastructure or staff to provide such training. The trailer brings to each school a state-of-the-art laboratory and an audio/video system with VHS/DVD, wireless network, satellite Internet and two plasma television screens.
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.