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Media Advisory

For immediate use:

Nov. 29, 2007

UNC’s Destiny science bus to visit four Pitt County schools

Media representatives are invited to experience hands-on science aboard Destiny and Discovery, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when they visit Ayden-Grifton High School, Farmville Central High School, D.H. Conley High School and J.H. Rose High School next week.

Tuesday (Dec. 4)
8:25 a.m. to 9:51 a.m.
Ayden-Grifton High School
7653 NC 11 South, Ayden
Students from one of Catherine’s Skinner’s honors chemistry classes will perform “The Crucial Concentration.” Students will assume the role of laboratory investigators for a court case to determine the amount of protein found in three sports drinks. Using the general concept of the Lowry assay and microanalysis skills, students will learn how to use a spectrophotometer, measure absorbencies, collect quantitative data and produce a standard curve to find the protein content in each sample.

Tuesday (Dec. 4)
9:56 a.m. to 11:22 a.m.
Ayden-Grifton High School
7653 NC 11 South, Ayden
During the same visit, students from one of Linda Leich’s honors biology classes will perform “BioBusiness.” Students will discover how businesses use recombinant DNA technology to tailor products to meet customers’ needs. Using genetic engineering techniques, students will explore the mechanisms of gene expression and gene selection.

Tuesday (Dec. 4)
12:10 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
1:50 p.m. to 2:34 p.m.
Farmville Central High School
3308 East Wilson Street, Farmville
Students from one of Fanette Entzminger’s honors biology classes and one of her honors health science biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “Mystery of the Crooked Cell.” Students will discover the molecular basis of sickle cell disease by using gel electrophoresis as a diagnostic tool to differentiate normal hemoglobin from hemoglobin found in individuals with sickle cell disease.

Wednesday (Dec. 5)
8:25 a.m. to 9:57 a.m.
10:02 a.m. to 11:34 a.m.
D. H. Conley High School
2006 Worthington Road, Greenville
Students from two of Sue Purser’s biology classes will also perform “Mystery of the Crooked Cell,” described above.

Wednesday (Dec. 5)
11:39 a.m. to 1:11 p.m.
J.H. Rose High School
600 W. Arlington Boulevard, Greenville
Students from one of Obioma Chukwu’s biology classes will perform “Get a Clue.” They will assume the role of forensic scientists and perform DNA restriction analysis (popularly known as DNA fingerprinting) to analyze drops of “blood” and other kinds of evidence found at crime scenes as they determine which suspects are guilty or innocent.

The Destiny traveling science learning program is a science education outreach initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill that serves pre-college teachers and students across North Carolina. Destiny develops and delivers a standards-based, hands-on curriculum and teacher professional development with a team of educators and a fleet of vehicles that travel throughout the state.

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 modules described above are among 14 offered as part of Destiny’s curriculum. All of Destiny’s modules are aligned with the N.C. Standard Course of Study. “Mystery of the Crooked Cell” and “The Crucial Concentration” were developed from Boston University School of Medicine CityLab modules.

Current principal funders are the state of North Carolina, the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) Program in the National Center for Research Resources and GlaxoSmithKline. Additional support comes from Bio-Rad Laboratories and Medtronic Inc.

The science buses are powerful visual images that heighten public awareness of the importance of and funding necessary for quality science education. The Destiny program first hit the road in 2000.

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

Destiny contact: Claire Ruocchio, (919) 843-5915 or clr@unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu