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Media Advisory

For immediate use

June 26, 2007

UNC’s Destiny traveling science learning program visits Capitol Hill

Media representatives are invited to board Discovery, one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when it visits Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., this week.

Note: Rep. David Price and Rep. Brad Miller are expected to board Discovery at 11:15 a.m.

Thursday (June 28)
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Corner of South Capitol between C and D Streets, SW
Washington, D.C .
Members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation will experience the excitement of Destiny’s Discovery traveling science laboratory, as thousands of their state’s students have done before them. They will perform activities from a sampling of Destiny’s 14 curriculum modules, including the latest module, “The Beat Goes On,” which focuses on the cardiovascular system. Visitors will use EKG sensors to make graphical recordings of their hearts’ electrical events, identify the waveforms produced and determine the patterns typically associated with them.

They will also learn the positive impact that UNC’s Destiny program has had on students and teachers in their districts. Since the program’s inception, 250,000 students have benefited from Destiny’s traveling science laboratories and innovative curriculum modules. In 2005-2006 alone, Destiny served 8,363 students through wet-lab instruction provided by Destiny educators on the traveling labs or in classrooms at 158 schools across North Carolina. The program also trained 455 teachers in professional development workshops and awarded 701 certificates.

Destiny, which first hit the road in 2000, was created to address the national and statewide science education crisis. Many of North Carolina’s secondary schools, particularly those in rural areas, lack access to the resources essential for quality science education, resulting in fewer students pursuing science careers and more science teachers leaving the profession.Destiny and Discovery, two custom-built, 40-foot, 33,000-pound buses, bring the latest science and technology equipment to students who otherwise would not see a high-tech laboratory or what a career in science can offer.

The Destiny program is just one way Carolina is addressing the shortage of science and math teachers in the state. Other strategies include a new fast-track program to attract science and math majors into a four-year accelerated teaching major. The university is one of four in the state now committed to recruit and prepare 120 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Scholars over the next three years. Funding for the program comes from a $5.3 million grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, which will also pay a $5,000 annual bonus for up to five years to any BWF Scholar who graduates and is then employed as a licensed science or mathematics teacher in a North Carolina public school. Also, the Carolina Online Lateral Entry Program allows teachers who have been hired but are not yet licensed to earn North Carolina licensure in mathematics or science at the middle grades or secondary level while they are teaching.

Destiny Web site: http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org/go/destiny

Destiny contact: Claire Ruocchio, (919) 923-1815 (on-site) or clr@unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu