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A Laboratory on Wheels

Ashley Marinaccio Jun 11

Seen from the outside, the brightly-colored BioBus looks like it just rolled out of a Ken Kesey novel. Take a look inside and you will find the refurbished 1970s-era San Francisco transit bus is a high-tech laboratory on wheels, boasting an array of scientific equipment. For the people who work on the BioBus, it is the perfect vehicle for exposing the city’s students to science, including those at Bronx Little School who received a visit from the BioBus earlier this spring (See photos below). According to Danny Valdes, the project’s program coordinator, the BioBus will visit 96 schools this year and will spend part of the summer parked in front of New York City Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park in Queens.

“Every day we are changing at least one kid’s mind about science,” Valdes said. “Kids experience science in a textbook. Then they come on the Biobus and see their own cells. That totally changes the way they are learning.”

GATHER UP: Biobus program coordinator Danny Valdes spurs the enthusiasm of a first grade class at the Bronx Little School. BioBus volunteers help teach, develop curricula, apply for grants, maintain the group’s website, scrape mud out of creeks, collect the veggie oil that fuels the bus and much more.

TINY CRITTERS: A kindergartner looks through a microscope at a daphnia, a tiny, translucent water flea whose bodily functions can be easily observed. For many students, BioBus is the first experience they have with science. This visit was funded by a private foundation, because Bronx Little School’s science program was eliminated due to budget cuts.

JOY OF SCIENCE: Students and their teacher watch as everyday objects appear up close on a large screen at the back of the bus.