High school students are using high tech equipment and enjoying the advantage of a science lab in a bus.
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center provides the bus, known as the DESTINY Traveling Science Learning Program. The bus crosses North Carolina providing hands on lessons in science. These include biology and chemistry.
When the bus came to visit Tara Johnson’s chemistry classes at Johnston Early College Academy, the students assumed the role of lab investigators determining the amount of protein in sports drinks. In order to do that, they used spectrophotometers, which measure a light beam’s intensity to provide useful data.
Students also used digital micropipettes in addition to spectrophotometers. These measure small quantities of liquid extremely accurately.
During the same week as the bus visit, students analyzed their data in class.
The class was taught by Nick Hoffman, a science education specialist at the Morehead Planetarium. He said that the point of the experiment was to determine not simply which drink’s protein content surpassed the others but by how much.