The Pitt Mobile Science Lab
The Science Outreach Program for the Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) encompasses a spectrum of activities designed to educate the public about the importance of biomedical research through hands-on realistic exposure to the scientific process. The Pitt Mobile Science Lab is equipped as a state of the art biomedical science lab and offers programs at schools and community events.
The Pitt Mobile Science Lab focuses on: developing original science experiments designed to encourage students to pursue careers in science. Through partnership with physicians and researchers as well as established outreach programs, students learn to define and test hypotheses, graph and analyze results, bringing novel, hands-on, real world, laboratory investigations to middle school and high school students.
The Pitt Mobile Science Lab delivers science experiences to schools and community events throughout Western Pennsylvania with an 80-foot tractor-trailer equipped as a state-of-the-art student science laboratory. The mobile science lab features 26 workstations and customized scientific equipment.
CTSI-Pitt Science Outreach provides various school and community programs that provide real-world laboratory investigations. Programs include:
HUMAN GENETICS (grades 4-12)
Students will discover that DNA influences the expression of traits when:
MOVING MOLECULES (grades 5-9)
- Elementary students work a DNA puzzle and examine agarose gels
- Middle school students prepare an agarose gel and learn to use micro-pipets
- High school students prepare an agarose gel, learn to use a micro-pipet, and have experience genotyping patients
Students will discover the body systems that exhibit diffusion and osmosis by:
LIVING WITH BUGS (grades 4-9)
- Observing the movement of molecules in real-time
- Testing the selectiveness of membranes for movement of various molecules
Students will explore the world of microorganisms by:
REGENERATIVE MEDICINE (grades 6-8)
- Discovering microorganisms that live in harmony with our bodies and those that cause illness
- Diagnose a patient’s infection type
Students will learn new research innovations which promote nerve regeneration:
HEALTHY LIVING (grades 4-12)
- Construct a biodegradable nerve guide from a polymer
- Identify the components of a neuron
Comprises four different programs:
ENVIRNOMENTAL IMPACTS (grades 9-12)
- Exercise Program: students discover the effects of exercise on organ systems, they are given pedometers and shown how to convert steps to calories burned
- Reading Food Label Program: students learn components of the food label and use this information to build a balanced meal
- Chemistry of Food Program: students test for protein and sugar content in foods
- Exploring Addictive Substances: middle school and high school students engage in an empirical experiment to determine the impact of potentially addictive substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine on the movement of flatworms
Students will discover the effects of water pollutants on human health. There are two different programs available:
FORENSIC SCIENCE (grades 4-12)
- Diagnosis Cancer-Students examine the impact of water quality on human health. Cancer of the liver and kidney are associated with organic water pollutants. Students examine histological slides of healthy and cancerous tissue to observe changes at the cellular level.
- Fracking Impact on Water Quality-Students learn how to use a burette to test water hardness and alkalinity. Concentrations of sulfate and barium are measured using a Hach Meter.
EXPLORING ANIMAL DIVERSITY (grades 4-5)
- Elementary students test their detective skills as they learn different patterns on fingerprints, they use their knowledge of fingerprint types to solve a crime scene, and learn the placement of many skeletal bones on the body.
- High School students use anatomical features of the face and skull to identify gender and geographical origin of human skull specimens.
- Elementary students compare features of hydractinia to other animals. They feed the hydractinia, observe their response to touch, and examine multiple life stages of this marine animal using a stereoscope.
The Mobile Science Lab is available to enrich classroom studies or community events. To learn more or to schedule a visit, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-864-3464. Check the Pitt Mobile Lab out at Heinz Field during University of Pittsburgh football games throughout the Panthers' season.