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Cool Schools: The STEM Bus

Ch. 9 reporter Mike Hydeck spoke to Gaithersburg Middle School students who had the opportunity to learn science on the MDBio Lab bus. The science-on-the-bus tour is part of the Frontiers in Science & Medicine initiative. Through Frontiers, approximately 500 middle school students will spend part of the day at Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, where they will participate in hands-on science and medicine activities. Students will also spend part of the day visiting a local laboratory or hospital so they can experience what doctors and scientists do each day.

Sometimes opportunity knocks.

Other times, it can drive a tractor trailer right to your front door.

That's exactly that case with this week's Cool Schools.

Gaithersburg Middle School students got to jump on board an 18-wheeler full of science experiments. On a normal day, micro pipettes are not things Gaithersburg Middle students use in science class.

"We are mixing the basic primary colors, to make the secondary primary colors we're just writing down our data for what we added and what we subtracted," said 7th grader Cyan Stallworth.

As they measure in milliliters, some of them are also sizing up their futures and they don't even know it, which is exactly what the 40-foot MD-Biolab tractor trailer is all about.

"We want to expose students to equipment that they may not have inside of the classroom. We want to teach them about who scientists are and we want to show them that if you decide to become a scientist whether you study in college or right out of high school, there is going to be plenty of jobs waiting in the state if Maryland for you," said Tim Carter of MD BioBus.

That's something Cyan Stallworth never considered. She was not a fan of science before she hopped on board the mobile lab.

"From what I understand she's a student who didn't want anything to do with science this year and when they asked who was going to be a scientist she said I'm not sure about a scientist, but something with science," said Amy Gensemer from K-12 Science Technology Engineering for Montgomery Co. Schools.

That's exactly the point of the MD BioBus.

"Is this more fun than sitting around in a normal class? Yes! You actually get to do hands on action stuff instead of just sitting there learning about it," said Cyan Stallworth.

This is just the beginning. At the end of the month, students get to attend a huge expo at John Hopkins University in Rockville. They'll get to go behind the scene with companies that use science in the real world. Pretty cool.

CATEGORY: K-12 Outreach