News / Science & Technology

Maryland Mobile Lab Brings Science to Students

Bioscience Bus Offers Students Experimental Educationi
X
December 13, 2013
Instead of studying pictures in textbooks or working with simulations on computers, high school students across Maryland have a chance to experiment with real scientists, using the latest lab equipment. Faiza Elmasry was there when the traveling Bio Lab visited Patapsco High School and Center for Arts in Baltimore and has this story narrated by Faith Lapidus.
TEXT SIZE - +
Faiza Elmasry
— Instead of looking at pictures in textbooks or working with simulations on computers, high school students across Maryland have a chance to experiment with professional scientists while using the latest lab equipment.

The teens conduct these experiments, not in their classroom, but in a bus outfitted as a mobile laboratory,

The traveling Bio Lab recently visited Patapsco High School and Center for Arts in Baltimore, which delighted of their teacher.

“Today, the chemistry students were able to do an acid based hydration, which means they neutralize an acid with a base," Leah Warble said. "Normally they would do it through simulations on the computer. The BioLab is allowing them to do it in real life, actual time and actually apply it to something we use in real life, which is biodiesel.”

Instructor Angel Mangus, who is in charge of the 13-meter Maryland BioLab, says the converted bus has the equipment students need to explore a wide variety of sciences.

“We have anything from biology to forensic science," Mangus said. "So we have a blood lab where they go ahead and test if any of the evidence samples has blood on it.  We also have DNA analysis lab where they are trying to test and see who did a specific crime. And we also have chemistry.”

The mobile lab has been bringing this sort of bioscience education to schools around Maryland for more than a decade.

“It is really nice to get them in here with hands-on activities," Mangus said. "They get really excited and want to be engaged.”

The program is supported by the MarylandBio Foundation.

“The equipment that students use on the mobile lab, they do not have in schools," said Brian Gaines, chief executive officer of the non-profit group. "Our instructors are actually scientists, they work alongside the teachers. They are bringing science experience from the laboratory into the schools and teach the students how to use the newest techniques that we have in science.”  
 
That makes a difference to 15-year-old Seda Sinan, who is interested in biology.

“It gave me more materials to work with than what I have at school," she said. "It is like more interactive.  

Her classmate Shenara Jefferson agrees.

“It really showed me how just a little bit of difference can really impact your product when you are doing something in there," Jefferson said. "Like I only added just a little bit of the solution and it completely affected my entire thing.”

Warble, the Patapsco High School teacher, says kids usually don't know what they are interested in until they are exposed to it.

The BioLab is an innovative way to do that.

“The excitement of feeling like a real scientist, even just a change in what they are wearing, wearing goggles and blue gloves versus white gloves made them feel more like television scientists, if you will," Warble said. "Being allowed to handle this kind of situation makes them more responsible for the work because they are now intrigued in doing it and they feel respected and responsible since we gave them those opportunities.”

The Lab’s mission is to help create the next generation of scientists.

“We use this program to talk about careers in science, not only science, but science, technology, engineering and math,” Gaines said.

In the process, instructors like Angel Mangus become role models as well.

“At the end of each class, if we have enough time, we like to take five, 10 minutes and talk about us, ourselves," she said. "We tell them how we got into science, maybe where we went to school, what we did, the different kinds of things we could do.”

She adds that, after they finish their experiments, many students leave the BioBus excited about the possibility of becoming scientists.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid