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Media Advisory

For immediate use:

Dec. 4, 2007

UNC’s Destiny program science bus to visit Trinity students

Media representatives are invited to experience hands-on science aboard Discovery, one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when it visits Trinity High School in Randolph County this week.

Thursday (Dec. 6)
9:35 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
Trinity High School
5746 Trinity High Drive, Trinity
Students from one of Dianna Cecil’s biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “Biological Bodyguards.” Students will examine the vital role that the body’s immune system takes to fight illness and prevent disease. Assuming the role of medical lab technicians, students will use a simulated viral extract and perform an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to screen hypothetical patients for the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Thursday (Dec. 6)
1:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.
Trinity High School
5746 Trinity High Drive, Trinity
During the same visit, students from one of Maegan Parsons’ honors biology classes will perform a lab exercise called “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 module described above is one of 14 offered as part of Destiny’s curriculum. All of Destiny’s modules are aligned with the N.C. Standard Course of Study.

Dianna Cecil and Maegan Parsons completed Destiny teacher workshops to learn how to incorporate “Biological Bodyguards” and “Get a Clue” curriculum modules into their classrooms, which also made them eligible to request a school visit from one of Destiny’s traveling science laboratories.

Destiny’s 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