"The goal is to get students excited about science, especially the life sciences, as an academic pursuit and eventually a career."
BioTechnology Mobile Laboratory (a.k.a. "Bio Bus")
NOTE: The $950,000 federal grant supporting the bio bus was completed on December 31, 2013. Funds to continue the work of the bio bus are being sought. Until new funding is secured, the bio bus will not be visiting regional schools. However, on a case-by-case basis, the bio bus is participating in regional events.
In March of 2009, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Christopher Bond, Missouri Western was awarded a $950,000 grant to outfit a mobile biotechnology lab. The lab visits schools in Buchanan, Andrew, Platte, Clay, Jackson, DeKalb and Clinton counties. (Schools outside of these counties can be scheduled on a 'time available' basis and at the discretion of Western Institute.) It also visits state and county fairs, and national, state and regional science events.
Students and others are be able to participate in hands-on activities using the extensive array of scientific equipment installed in the vehicle.
Up to 16 students at a time can work on bio bus with students rotating on and off bus according to school’s bell schedule. Or, the on-board scientist can work with smaller group of students for longer periods.
Major Categories of Experiments:
- Data-Collection Technology
- Macromolecules DNA and RNA Techniques
- Biotechnology Applications
- Grow student interest in biotechnology
- Daily travel to regional schools
- On-board scientist to work with students
- Utilize scientific equipment to engage students
- Provide hands-on experiences
Below is a slideshow provided by Platte City Middle School showing their students learning about science on the Bio Bus:
Project partners are the Missouri Biotechnology Association (MOBIO), the Innovation Stockyard (previously Institute for Industrial and Applied Life Sciences) and the Western Institute. MOBIO is responsible for distributing portable labs to schools, with the labs remaining at schools for a few days to a couple of weeks while teachers lead students in hands-on DNA experiments.
MOBIO and Missouri Western also partner in webinars and summer workshops for students and teachers.