Educators unveiled a new, mobile biotechnology laboratory at the statehouse (Wednesday). The 53-foot, custom-made semi-trailer will travel to schools in 11 Iowa counties to help teachers teach life sciences. Jim Verlengia of the Heartland Area Education Agency, says it’s a state-of-the-art classroom that happens to be on wheels. Verlengia says it will provide students, teachers and communities with new opportunities. Teachers will have to get special certification before they can conduct classes in the mobile lab. Perry High School biology teacher Stacy Vaughn is now certified to use the science semi. Vaughn says it’s not a lecture hall, but gives students a “hands-on” experience in how to “do science.” The lab cost about half a million dollars and was financed with private grants and business contributions. John Greaves, the president of Kemin Industries in Des Moines, says his company considered it an investment in its own future. Greaves says he met a “real scientist” when he was 14, and from that point on, all he wanted to be was a scientist. The mobile lab will travel to schools in the following counties: Audubon, Boone, Carroll, Dallas, Guthrie, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and Warren.If it is successful, the state hopes to invest in more mobile laboratories.
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