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Media Advisory

For immediate use:

Jan. 4, 2008

UNC’s Destiny science bus visits Union, Mecklenburg counties

Media representatives are invited to experience hands-on science aboard Destiny, one of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s two traveling science laboratories, when it visits Porter Ridge High School, Monroe High School and Hopewell High School next week.

Tuesday (Jan. 8)
8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Porter Ridge High School
2839 Ridge Road, Indian Trail
Students from one of Alyson Cornelius’ 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.

Tuesday (Jan. 8)
12:15 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.
Porter Ridge High School
2839 Ridge Road, Indian Trail
During the same visit, students from one of Sandra Fugate’s advanced placement chemistry classes will perform a lab exercise called “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.

Wednesday (Jan. 9)
8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Monroe High School
1 High School Drive, Monroe
Students from one of Sandra Ketchie’s biomedical technology 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.

Wednesday (Jan. 9)
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Monroe High School
1 High School Drive, Monroe
Students from one of Yolanda Glenn’s classes will also perform “The Crucial Concentration,” described above.

Thursday (Jan. 10)
9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Hopewell High School
11530 Beatties Ford Road, Huntersville
Students from two of Renee Brice’s advanced placement 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.

The teachers mentioned above attended workshops to learn how to incorporate these particular Destiny curriculum modules into their classrooms, which also made them eligible to request school visits from 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. Created by Carolina in 2000, Destiny became a program of UNC’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in 2006.

Destiny Web site: http://www.moreheadplanetarium.org/go/destiny
Destiny contact: Claire Ruocchio, clr@unc.edu or Karen Kornegay, (919) 843-7952
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu